Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Design notes: The numbers 1 3 and 0

1 and 0

  • Numbers are often slightly shorter than capital letters. It can be convenient to set the capital line as the overshoot for the numerals, and the numeral line slightly below it. Lining numerals are also the same weight as capital letters.
  • The ‘1’ is a combination of the stem of the capital ‘I’ and the head serif of the ‘l’. The serifs of the ‘1’ are significantly longer than either letter’s.
  • The flag (top serif) of the ‘1’ is almost never curved, like it is in handwriting and some grotesque sans serifs.
  • The ‘0’ is about the same width as the lowercase ‘o’, just taller. Remember to match weights with the capital ‘O’.


  •  The upper bowl of the ‘3’ is similar to the arc of stem of the lowercase ‘a’. However, it rarely has a serif or blobbing (except in didone typefaces). It usually tapers out in a finial.
  • The lower bowl can be derived from a lowercase ‘c’ rotated 180 degrees.
  • The two bowls meet about at the median of the ‘H’. Like the ‘B’, the lower bowl is always wider than the upper bowl.
  • The terminal of the lower bowl has blobbing about half the time, and about half the time it doesn’t. It’s up to you.