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Definition of Terminal in Graphic Design

In typography, a terminal refers to the end of a stroke or a serif in a letterform. Terminals can be categorized as either “open” or “closed,” depending on whether the stroke terminates with a distinct endpoint or continues as a subtle curve or taper.


Terminals play a crucial role in defining the visual characteristics and style of typefaces. They contribute to the overall aesthetic and readability of text by influencing the appearance of letterforms and the spacing between characters.

Related Terms

  • Serif: A small decorative stroke or embellishment added to the end of a letter’s main strokes, commonly found in serif typefaces.
  • Stroke: The main vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines that form the structure of a letter in a typeface.
  • Open Terminal: A terminal that ends with a distinct point or angle, giving the letterform a sharp or angular appearance.
  • Closed Terminal: A terminal that ends with a subtle curve or taper, creating a smoother and more rounded endpoint.
  • Typeface Anatomy: The structural elements and design features that make up a typeface, including terminals, serifs, stems, and counters.

Related questions about the term terminal

  • How do open and closed terminals affect the overall look and feel of a typeface?
    Open terminals convey a sense of sharpness and angularity, while closed terminals create a softer and more rounded appearance, influencing the overall visual style and personality of the typeface.
  • What are some examples of typefaces known for their distinctive terminal designs?
    Typefaces such as Garamond, Baskerville, and Times New Roman are known for their varying terminal styles, each contributing to their unique character and readability.
  • How do designers choose between typefaces with different terminal styles for their projects?
    Designers consider factors such as the project’s context, audience, and visual tone when selecting typefaces, opting for terminals that align with the desired aesthetic and readability goals.
  • Are there any guidelines or best practices for adjusting terminal designs in typography?
    Designers may adjust terminal designs to achieve visual balance, readability, and consistency within a typeface or design composition, ensuring that terminals complement other letterform elements.
  • How do terminals contribute to the legibility and readability of text, particularly at different sizes and resolutions?
    Terminals influence the spacing and form of letterforms, affecting legibility and readability, especially at smaller sizes or lower resolutions where subtle design details can have a significant impact on text clarity.


Creatopy Team
Creatopy is the AI-driven creative automation platform that enables brands and agencies alike to build, optimize and personalize creatives at scale for various markets, channels and digital platforms.

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