Type color

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In typography, type color refers to the weight or boldness of a typeface and is used by designers and typographers to describe the visual tone of a mass of text on a page. The type color of a particular typeface affects the amount of ink on the page, also known as its blackness. "Black" faces are bold and heavy.

The term type color should not be confused with the usual meaning of color, i.e. red, yellow, blue, etc.; nor does blackness imply text set in black. In essence, both terms refer to the overall balance of type to white space, regardless of the shade of the text.

Type color is in the typesetter’s or graphic designer’s control, who affects it with a number of decisions, such as the choice of typeface itself, the weight used (e.g. light, regular, bold), the letter-spacing (e.g. normal or condensed), and the line space (leading).

The inherent blackness of a typeface is affected by factors such as the width of strokes relative to the width of a letter, the orientation of strokes when present, x-height and set, kerning adjustments, and others. Subtle details can have important effects on the impression of a typeface. Depending on its designer’s choices, it will be characteristically blacker or lighter, and its blackness may vary more or less across different letter shapes. Uneven blackness can imbue a typeface with character and a dynamic quality, but may also lead to a turbulent appearance for large quantities of text, which degrades readability. Consistency of blackness is therefore an important measure of the quality of a typeface and a central criterion for its suitability for various purposes.

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