Bottom margin vs. descenders question

Peter Flynn peter at
Mon Jul 6 20:26:43 CEST 2020

On 06/07/2020 17:55, Peter Wilson wrote:
> During the many centuries that documents were printed from lead type the 
> base of a line of type was the vertical position of the bottom of the 
> characters a, b, c, etc. Some characters such as p, q, and y, have 
> descenders which descend below the bottom of the a, b, c, characters.
> The tradition is that descenders extend below the type baseline.

I think the question related more to descenders going below the beard of 
the type.

It's rare, but not unknown in text faces, although more usually in 
display sizes than for body copy.

Doug has already posted an excellent illustration of the pathological 
case of excessively extended mathematical parentheses going below the 
beard line.


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