Text in Multimedia

Using text and symbols for communication is very recent in human development that began about 6,000 years ago in the Mediterranean Fertile Crescent— Mesopotamia, Egypt, Sumeria, and Babylonia —when the first meaningful marks were scraped onto mud tablets and left to harden in the sun.
History of text
History of text

Since the explosion of the Internet and the World Wide Web, text has become more important than ever. Indeed, the local language of the Web is HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), originally designed to display simple text documents on computer screens, with special graphic images thrown in as illustrations.
Even a single word may be covered in many meanings, so as you begin working with text, it is important to develop accuracy and shortness in the specific words you choose. In multimedia, these are the words that will appear in your titles, menus, and navigation aids as well as in your description or content.

Fonts and Faces

A typeface is a family of graphic characters that usually includes many type sizes and styles. A font is a collection of characters of a single size and style belonging to a particular typeface family. Typical font styles are boldface and italic. Your computer software may add other style attributes, such as underlining and outlining of characters. Type sizes are usually expressed in points; one point is 0.0138 inch, or about 1/72 of an inch. The font’s size is the distance from the top of the capital letters to the bottom of the descenders in letters such as g and y. Helvetica, Times, and Courier are typefaces; Times 12-point italic is a font. In the computer world, the term font is commonly used when typeface would be more correct.
A font’s size does not exactly describe the height or width of its characters. This is because the x-height (the height of the lowercase letter x) of two fonts may vary, while the height of the capital letters of those fonts are same (see Figure ). Computer fonts automatically add space below the descender (and sometimes above) to provide appropriate line spacing, or leading.
The measurement of type
The measurement of type

Character metrics are the general measurements applied to individual characters; kerning is the spacing between character pairs. When working with PostScript, TrueType, and Master Fonts—but not bitmapped fonts—the metrics of a font can be altered to create interesting effects. For example, you can adjust the body width of each character from regular to condensed to expanded, as displayed in this example using the Sabon font:

Or you can adjust the spacing between characters (tracking) and the kerning between pairs of characters:

When it converts the letter A from a mathematical representation to a recognizable symbol displayed on the screen or in printed output by a process called rasterizing, the computer must know how to represent the letter using tiny square pixels or dots. Now, here is the answer to How a High-resolution monitors and printers can make more attractive-looking and varied characters? Because there are finer little squares or dots per inch (dpi) in High-resolution monitors and printers. The same letter can look very different when you use different fonts and faces:


In centuries when type was set by hand, the type for a single font was always stored in two trays, or cases; the upper tray held capital letters, and the lower tray held the small letters. Today, a capital letter is called upper-case, and a small letter is called lowercase.
In some situations, such as for passwords, a computer is case sensitive, meaning that the text’s upper- and lowercase letters must match exactly to be recognized. But nowadays, in most situations requiring keyboard input, all computers recognize both the upper and lowercase forms of a character to be the same. In that manner, the computer is said to be case insensitive.
When you place an uppercase letter in the middle of a word such as OptiMist, MuddLex, Pro-Action etc., called an intercap.

Serif and Sans Serif

Serif versus sans serif is the simplest way to categorize a typeface; the type either has a serif or it doesn’t (sans is French for “without”). The serif is the little decoration at the end of a letter stroke. Times, New Century Schoolbook, Bookman, and Palatino are examples of serif fonts. Helvetica, Verdana, Arial, Optima, and Avant Garde are sans serif. Notice the difference between serif (on the left) and sans serif:


Use anti-aliased text where you want a gentle and blended look for titles and headlines. This can give a more professional appearance. Anti-aliasing blends the colors along the edges of the letters (called dithering) to create a soft transition between the letter and its background.

White Space

White space is a designer’s term for roomy blank areas, while programmers call the invisible character made by a space (ASCII 32) or a tab (ASCII 9) white space. Web designers use a non breaking space entity ( ) to force spaces into lines of text in HTML documents.

Symbols and Icons

Symbols are concerted text in the form of stand-alone graphic constructs. Symbols convey meaningful messages. The trash can symbol, for instance, tells you where to throw away old files; the hourglass cursor tells you to wait while the computer is processing. Though you may think of symbols as belonging strictly to the realm of graphic art, in multimedia you should treat them as text—or visual words—because they carry meaning. Symbols such as the familiar trash can and hourglass, are more properly called icons: these are symbolic representations of objects and processes common to the graphical user interfaces of many computer operating systems.

Menus for Navigation

An interactive multimedia project or web site typically consists of a body of information, or content, through which a user navigates by pressing a key, clicking a mouse, or pressing a touch screen. The simplest menus consist of text lists of topics. Users choose a topic, click it, and go there. 

Portrait vs. Landscape

The taller-than-wide orientation used for printed documents is called portrait; this is the 8.5-by-11-inch size unique to the United States or the internationally designated standard A4 size, 8.27 by 11.69 inches. The wider-than-tall orientation normal to monitors is called landscape. Shrinking an 11-inch-tall portrait page of text into your avail-able monitor height usually yields illegible chicken tracks.

Font Wars Are Over

In 1985, the desktop publishing revolution was spearheaded by Apple and the Macintosh computer, in combination with word processing and page layout software products that enabled a high-resolution 300 dpi laser printer using special software to “draw” the shapes of characters as a cluster of square pixels computed from the geometry of the character. This special software was the Adobe PostScriptpage description and outline font language. It was licensed by Apple and included in the firmware of Apple’s LaserWriter laser printer.
In 1989, Apple and Microsoft announced a joint effort to develop a “better and faster” quadratic curves outline font methodology, called TrueType.
Adobe and Microsoft then developed a new and improved font management system incorporating the best features of both PostScript and TrueType, and by 2007, OpenType became a free, publicly available inter-national standard.

The ASCII Character Set

ASCII was invented and standardized for analog teletype communication early in the age of bits and bytes. The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is the 7-bit character coding system most commonly used by computer systems in the United States and abroad. ASCII assigns a number or value to 128 characters, including lower and uppercase letters, punctuation marks, Arabic numbers, and math symbols. Also included are 32 control characters used for device control messages, such as carriage return, line feed, tab, and form feed. ASCII code numbers always represent a letter or symbol of the English alphabet, so that a computer or printer can work with the number that represents the letter, regardless of what the letter might actually look like on the screen or printout. To a computer working with the ASCII character set, the number 65, for example, always represents an uppercase letter A. Later, when displayed on a monitor or printed, the number is turned into the letter.

The Extended Character Set

A byte, which consists of eight bits, is the most commonly used building block for computer processing. ASCII uses only seven bits to code its 128 characters; the eighth bit of the byte is unused. This extra bit allows another 128 characters to be encoded before the byte is used up, and computer systems today use these extra 128 values for an extended character set. The extended character set is most commonly filled with ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard characters. This fuller set of 255 characters is also known as the ISO-Latin-1 character set; it is used when programming the text of HTML web pages.


Since 1989, a concerted effort on the part of linguists, engineers, and information professionals from many well-known computer companies has been focused on a 16-bit architecture for multilingual text and character encoding. Called Unicode, the original standard accommodated up to about 65,000 characters to include the characters from all known languages and alphabets in the world.
Where several languages share a set of symbols that have a historically related origin, the shared symbols of each language are unified into collections of symbols (called scripts). A single script can work for tens or even hundreds of languages

Share on Google Plus

About The Optimist

Is a Web Developer and Social Media Strategist. Has efficient communication and management skills.3 years experience of blogging and content writing. Fond of latest and futuristic technologies. Has a good experience of freelancing and marketing.