Points, picas, inches, and millimetres

November 27, 2012

On p47 of Just my type (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/book-recommendation-just-my-type/), Simon Garfield provides some math related to points, picas, inches and millimetres:

The point size can be used both as a unit of measuring type and the space between it. For regular newspaper and book text, 8pt to 12pt usually satisfies.There are 72pts to an inch. 1pt is 0.013833 inches. Typographers group them in picas: 12pts to a pica and 6 picas to an inch. There have been many historical and national variations, and metal and digital measures differ slightly, but today we almost have and international standard: in the US, 1pt = 0.351mm; in Europe 1pt – 0.376mm.

He goes on to say:

But the maths, geography and vocabulary of type should never obscure the most basic fact of all: regular or italics, light or bold, upper or lower case — the fonts that work best are the ones that allow us to read without ruining our eyes.

(my emphasis)

See also:

[Links last checked November 2012]

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