I just got back from spending the week in Philly so I think I owe you all a fun post. I'm pretty excited because these lettering tips will most likely turn into a little series. There is a ton of information out there on the web, but sometimes finding what you need can be tough (especially when you don't know what you need). So I thought I'd start with the first few lettering tips I learned that greatly improved my work once I was made aware of what to do!
This week we are talking about overshoot. This was one of the first tips I was made aware of as I started out. Let's get to it!
#1 What is it?
Overshoot is the area of a letter that extends a portion beyond the baseline and either the cap height or mean line.
As seen in the example above, the rounded glyphs extend slightly beyond the natural restrictions. When drawing letterforms, be cautious not to overdo the overshoot. Just a small bit of excess is necessary. Too much is worse than none at all.
Note: If these terms are unfamiliar to you, check out the link at the bottom of the post called Typography Deconstructed. It's a great site that clearly defines many typographic terms.
#2 Why is it necessary?
Glyph construction is based on visual balance. Without the necessary excess, rounded letters typically carry the illusion of being slightly smaller when placed alongside "normal" letters.
The example above illustrates this for us. Since the o was not allowed to extend past the natural baseline and mean line, it is appearing smaller, especially like it's floating above the baseline. Adding the excess is a small change, but extremely necessary for proper balance.
#3 Extra considerations for capital glyphs
There are a few additional glyphs that need this attention to detail but each are dependent on the design of the typeface. For these examples, I am considering a classic serif.
(Examples are shown above)
The apex of the A should extend past its natural cap-height.
The lower right corner of the N should extend past the baseline.
The tail of a Q may extend even further past the overshoot. Dependent on ornamentation.
The bottom points of V and W should also extend past the baseline.
I hope you learned something about the small details today!
Learning these nuances is what will bring your lettering to the next level if you continue to practice diligently and deliberately. If you found this helpful, feel free to share it, pin it, and like it!
Also, if you have questions or suggestions for content, just leave it in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you.
Happy Tuesday, all.