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glossary W

weight
The darkness (blackness) of a typeface, independent of its size.

whiteletter
The generally light roman and italic letterforms favored by humanist scribes and typographers in Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as distinct from the generally darker blackletter script and type widely used north of the Alps. Whiteletter is the typographical counterpart to Romanesque in architecture, as blackletter is the counterpart to Gothic.

white line
A line space.

white space
The blank areas on a page where text and illustrations are not printed. White space should be considered an important graphic element in page design.

white vine
An illumination pattern of the Renaissance abased on 12th century work, in which a white foliate display is presented against a dark background color.

widow
The last line of a paragraph occurring at the top of a page.

width
Type is also measured in width, or set size. A line of type is measured in ems. An em is equal to the square of the type body. It was originally so called because the type body bearing a letter m is square. For example, a pica em is 12 points wide. A space half as wide as the em is called an en. The length of line required to set the alphabet of small, or lowercase, pica letters is 13 ems. If this alphabet takes more than 13 ems, it is said to be a fat or expanded face. If it takes less space, it is said to be lean or condensed. Letters in small sizes of type must be wider for clearness and durability. Careful adjustment of leading, or the spacing between the lines, also makes a page easier to read. Leading, like type, is measured in points. The metal strips formerly used for this spacing were called leads and slugs. The typeless type bodies used to add space between types in a line were known as spaces and, when thicker, quads. These terms remain in the professional vocabulary of editors, typesetters, and printers, though the pieces of metal to which they refer are no longer in common use.

Wingdings
A Windows font that is roughly equitable to Macintosh Zapf Dingbats. It contains many non-alphabetic symbols for the purpose of designing forms and other thematic pages.

wood block printing
(or Xylography), is the art of printing from a wood-block carving, was invented in China, probably in the 5th century. In its earliest form the text or drawing to be printed was put down in ink on a sheet of fine paper. The inked side of the paper was applied to the smooth surface of a block of wood that had been coated with a rice paste to retain the ink. An engraver then cut away the uninked portion of the wood so that the text or design stood out in relief. To make the print, the woodblock was inked with a paintbrush; a sheet of dry paper was laid on the block and rubbed with a brush, transferring an inked image. This wood-block process made its way to Europe by the 14th century and came into wide use at the same time that paper mills were being established. The process of printing by woodblock had its shortcomings. In executing written text, each letter had to be individually carved. No matter how expert the engraver, each copy of the same letter would be slightly different. But the process was readily suited to printing of pictures and designs, and it became a natural and inexpensive medium for folk artists. They made a great variety of prints. Pictures of religious figures were among the earliest, but there were also designs for games, comic illustrations, and — much later — political posters.

wood type
Answered some of the needs of display advertising during the Industrial Revolution. It derives its name from the fact that instead of being made of metal, the type is carved from wood, cut perpendicular to the grain. It is distinguished by strong contrasts, an overall dark color, and a lack of fine lines. It may be unusually compressed or extended. Many wood types have an “Old West” feel, because they are most strongly associated with America in the 1870 – 1900 period. Some of the wood types most widely available today are those in an Adobe pantheon released in 1990, which includes Cottonwood, Ironwood and Juniper (Buker, Lind & Redick).

word processor
An application that allows for the manipulation of letters for the purpose of writing proposals, letters, stories or any other article of literature. Most word processors also have inherent functions that enable them to spell- check and perform other similar operations.

word space
The space between words. When type is set FL/RR, the word space may be of fixed size, but when the type is justified, the word space must be elastic.

word spacing
Adjusting the average distance between words to improve legibility or to fit a block of text into a given amount of space.

writing
The making of a letter in the same number of strokes as the letter has essential parts.

writing lines
The lines which align the bodies of leters and their ascenders and descenders. Sometimes drawn out when designing an alphabet or practicing letterforms.

WYSIWYG
An acronym for what you see is what you get. What you see on the screen is what you will get on printed output, as accurately as the screen can render it. There have been many system extensions and applications to add WSYIWYG font menus to desktop publishing and word processor software. Some programs (MS Word, FreeHand) now include this feature in their software.