What’s in a name?

Making Ascender rise above the rest.

What’s in a name?
By Mike Aldinger, Co-Founder
September 22, 2020

Coming up with a name for a shiny, brand new human being can be challenging. The name should have purpose. Whether it’s meant to encapsulate something you admire, carry on a family tradition, or become a catalyst for their personality.

That’s why I named my children Dark Heart1 and Thunder Chief2.

Now, coming up with a name for a group of human beings who share a collective vision can be borderline impossible. But, somehow, we stumbled upon the perfect word to describe a small group of people who exceed the bar every time it’s raised.

So what is an “ascender” exactly?

Typography 101

The glyphs used in our alphabet are actually assembled through individual parts, not unlike a skeleton. Spines, shoulders, and ears are used to create the snake-like shape we call the letter S or the zig-zag known as the letter Z.

Some of the most important elements of glyphs are the ascenders and descenders. Why are they so important, you ask? Without them, you’d likely have a hard time reading this email.

Ascenders are the parts of a letter that rise above the mean line of the typeface’s x-height. For a simple example, it’s the tallest part of a lowercase d that stands above the other letters. Descenders are the opposite, hanging below the baseline, as seen in lowercase letters like p and y.

These little character details help you recognize a word quickly. They create an instant visual distinction between letters. It’s one of the reasons you don’t typically see road signs written in ALL CAPS, or why words without ascenders or descenders – like “curvaceous caverns” – can be difficult to read without pausing for a second.

For more on what makes up a letter, check out this great article for a breakdown.

Rising above the rest.

The idea of rising above the rest extends not only to our work – but also to any challenges thrown at us. It’s a mindset we look for in every member of our team.

A recent example of this was how our team handled this very challenging year. With the obstacles COVID-19 has presented the world, Ascender stepped up to help our clients navigate in-person experiences and communications to smart, all-digital solutions and tools. The results have been rewarding, but beyond that, the team’s focus and dedication has been inspiring.

When I look at an ascender — that tiny, unassuming little detail on a letter — and what it represents, I think of our team of designers, developers, thinkers and tinkerers. We all share the same goal: to rise above the bar and stand out from the rest. Our team’s size may be the lowercase letter in the sentence, but we deliver big.

A word that encompasses the idea of rising above, creating distinction from the rest, all without necessarily being the largest character on the line. That’s us.

That’s Ascender.

1. Later changed to “Kira” at the request of my spouse
2. Later changed to “Hunter” at the request of my spouse