An upward vertical stroke found on the part of lowercase letters that extends above the typeface’s x-height.

Definition: In typography, the upward vertical stem on some lowercase letters, such as h and b, that extends above the x-height is the ascender. The height of the ascenders is an identifying characteristic of many typefaces.

The ascenders of some letters may touch or almost touch letters in the line above causing awkward or distracting patterns. This is most likely to happen or be obvious when a line of text with tall ascenders is below a line of text with long descenders. To resolve the problem of touching ascenders and descenders you can: Increase the leading (line spacing) between lines of type; Choose a different typeface; For headlines and subheads, some careful editing/re-wording can eliminate the problem; Changing the alignment of the text may also help.

Also Known As: extender

In typography, an ascender is the portion of a minuscule letter in a Latin-derived alphabet that extends above the mean line of a font. That is, the part of a lower-case letter that is taller than the font’s x-height.

Ascenders, together with descenders, increase the recognizability of words. For this reason, British road signs no longer use all capital letters.
Studies made at the start of the construction of the British motorway network concluded that mixed-case letters were much easier to read than “all-caps” and a special font was designed for motorway signs.

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