The anatomy of a typeface – A typographic jigsaw puzzle

I have a sheet of Baskerville typeface, it has been deconstructed so it only contains the strokes, serifs and bowls. My task is to put it all back together to read: the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

I did this exercise on a thin sheet of white paper, tracing would have been easier if the paper had been thinner, but what I had did the job. I used a pencil and a ruler.


I used all the elements provided to make up the sentence. The horizontal lines consisting of an ascender line, median line, baseline and descender height made placing the letters in a consistent manner easier. It did make me realize how many components are required to make up all the letters, it was interesting to see those strange-looking elements somehow merge together, creating familiar looking shapes. This exercise gave me a chance to look at typefaces in a new light. Before, I looked at them as something ‘ready made’, instead of something that is build out of a number of different elements.


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