A letterform, letter-form or letter form, is a term used especially in typography, paleography, calligraphy and epigraphy to mean a letter's shape. A letterform is a type of glyph, which is a specific, concrete way of writing an abstract character or grapheme.
For example, medieval scholars may discuss the particular handwritten letterforms that distinguish one script from another.
The history of letterforms is discussed in fields of study relating to materials used in writing. Epigraphy includes the study of letterforms carved in stone or other permanent materials. Paleography is the study of writing in ancient and medieval manuscripts. Calligraphy treats the letterforms of decorative writing, usually in ink. Typography includes the arrangement of letterforms designed for metal print or computer. More broadly letterforms may be discussed wherever letters appear stylistically—in graffiti for example.
- Letterforms in alphabets: Arabic alphabet, Cyrillic script
- Letterforms in calligraphy: Man'yōgana, Hentaigana
- Letterforms in history: Long s, R rotunda
- Letterforms in technology: Typeface, Computer printer
- Writing systems
- Typeface anatomy (a broader analysis of letterforms in printing)
- Letterforms in design: Is Gotham the New Interstate at The Morning News
- Named parts of a letter: Type Anatomy 1.0
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