- The smallest typographical unit of measure, introduced in the mid 18th century by the French typographer Pierre Simon Fournier. The system divides one inch into 72 parts, each one a “point”—mathematically, one point should equal 0.013889″ but it actually equals 0.013837″, with the result that 72 points equals only 0.996264”. The introduction of the computer as a design tool established a new international standard of measurement based on this system. However, on the computer one point measures 0.013889″ and 72 points equal exactly one inch—referred to as PostScript, whereas the original point system is referred to as Traditional—a setting which some typesetting programs allow you to change. It is because of this that computer monitors have a standard resolution of 72dpi. There are 12 points to a pica, 6 picas to an inch. Type is measured in terms of points, the standard sizes being 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 60, 72. Whereas these used to be the only sizes of metal type available, computers now allow setting type at any size, including incremental sizes, such as 7.5pt. However, most typesetting programs still retain the above sizes as the defaults. Measurement of type is done baseline to baseline, thus different fonts at the same point size may appear to be different sizes visually.
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