In typography and handwriting, 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, many situations that require high legibility such as road signs avoid using solely capital letters (i.e. all-caps).
Studies made at the start of the construction of the British motorway network concluded that words with mixed-case letters were much easier to read than "all-caps" and a special font was designed for motorway signs. These then became universal across the UK. See Road signs in the United Kingdom.
- Sampson, Geoffrey (1985). Writing Systems: A linguistic introduction. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-8047-1254-9.
- Slimbach, Robert. "Using Acumin". Acumin microsite. Adobe Systems. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- Warde, Beatrice (1926). "The 'Garamond' Types". The Fleuron: 131–179.
- Amert, Kay (April 2008). "Stanley Morison's Aldine Hypothesis Revisited". Design Issues. 24 (2): 53–71. doi:10.1162/desi.2008.24.2.53. JSTOR 25224167.
- Morison, Stanley (1943). "Early Humanistic Script and the First Roman Type". The Library. s4-XXIV (1–2): 1–29. doi:10.1093/library/s4-XXIV.1-2.1.