How to Develop Lettering Proportions with Good Terminology

Can you recall first learning how to write? If you can, then you will remember printing your letters along with a series of straight and dashed lines. When developing a typeface, or a hand lettering project, it is helpful to draw out these lines to develop lettering proportions because they are useful guidelines.

Each of these lines has a name. Allow me to explain what each of these lines are and why they are important.

Develop Lettering Proportions

Develop Lettering Proportions


The baseline is the line where all your letters will sit. It is the fourth line down.


The body line is the dashed lined. This is where all the lower case letters will extend too.


The x-height is not a line, but space. It is the distance between the body line and the baseline.


The descender marks the extent for all the letters with lower stems. This would include p,q,j,g, etc. This would be the line on the bottom.


The T-height is where the taller lowercase letters extent too. This would include, t,h,k, l, etc.


Capital letters touch the ascender line.

Understanding how to develop lettering proportions can help add balance and consistency to your letters formations. For any questions or reactions on how to develop lettering proportions, please comment below.

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Comments · 2

  1. Great post! So many people don’t know all this terminology and don’t give letterforms any thought. There’s so much that goes into good design! Love your website as well! 🙂

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