Glossary of Terms


Like any industry, ours uses a variety of terms. If you want to find out what they mean, you are in the right place! Simply click on a letter to see its list of terms. If the term you are looking for isn't listed in our glossary feel free to contact us so that we may help you as well as add it to our list.

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Point

A point is a unit of measure in typography. There are various sorts of points, used in particular locations and times:

  • PostScript Point or Computer Point - Defined as 1/72 of an English inch or 0.35277 mm by Warnock and Geschke, the inventors of Adobe PostScript. Now the universal point in computers.
  • American Printer's Point - Defined as 0.013837 in or 0.35145 mm by Nelson Hawks in 1879.
  • Fournier Point - The first definition of the printer's point, by Pierre Fournier. It was 0.34882 millimeters, which was 1/12 of a cicero.
  • Didot Point - The French typesetting point defined by Ambroise Didot in the 18th century. It equals 0.37597 mm, which is 1/72 of a French royal inch (pouce).
  • Berthold Point - An attempt to create a point with a metric definition. 0.37593 mm or 1/2660 of a meter.
  • German Didot Point - Defined in 1954 as 0.376065 mm. This is the standard Didot point now used in Europe (unless replaced by metric typographic units).

On computer displays there are two accepted resolutions for typesetting, 72 and 144. Thus, one pixel represents one or two points respectively. The default setting for Macintosh Computers is 72pt per inch, the default for Windows is 96pt per inch.

The point is the standard unit for measuring font size and leading and other minute items on a printed page.

Twelve points make up a pica, there are 72 points in an inch, or 6 picas in an inch, a point is 1/12 of a pica. A measurement in picas is usually represented by placing a small p after the number of picas. "10 picas" is thus abbreviated 10p. Likewise, points are represented by placing the number of points after a small p, such as 0p5 for "5 points", 6p2 for "6 picas and 2 points", or 1p1 for "13 points" which is converted to a mixed fraction of "1 pica and 1 point".


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