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Typographic Trickery Shifts a Font from Paper to Pixels

Consider the letter X: two symmetrical diagonal lines, crossing at their midpoints, right? Wrong. It’s true, it certainly looks that way. But it’s an illusion. To appear as though it intersects its neighbor’s middle, you actually have to shift the arm on the upper-right downward slightly.

Now consider the capital letter A. It appears to be the same height as other capitals; except, again, no. In fact, its pointy upper extremity overshoots the height of blockier capitals, like H, I, and L. Similarly, the lower extremity of the letter “V” undershoots those letters. O, C, and Q? They overshoot and undershoot. If you want all these letters to appear equal in size, you have to adjust their height and positioning, lest they look mismatched.

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