Word Ways

Article Title

Letter Lengths


Define the length of a letter as the sum of the lengths of its component straight lines and arcs (ignoring details such as serifs). Thus, the length of V is a little more than twice the length of I in most fonts, as O is greater than C, and B and R both greater than P. To fix ideas, we define the uppercase letters as a combination of straight lines and arcs of circles. Nearly all the letters can be embedded in rectangles 2 units by 1 unit in size, except for C, O, W and Q, all of which require a square 2 units on a side.