Having looked at some illustrations that are supposed to explain the
concept of an axis, I’m confused. Is finding the axis of an
a matter of drawing a line through its thinnest parts, or is there more
Yes, no more complicated than this!
An imaginary line drawn from top to bottom of a glyph bisecting the
upper and lower strokes is the axis.
It’s one thing to draw the axis of an existing font vs. designing a font with a coherent distribution of thicks and thins throughout.
If you’ve ever tried using a flat calligraphy nib, you’ll have noticed that thicks and thins are distributed differently depending on the angle at which you are holding the pen.
Typically, the axis on the O will help identify different type families in the Vox-AtypI classification…
As explained in http://www.typographher.com/glossary :
A completely vertical axis results in a neutral, upright posture. When
the axis leans left or right the letterforms have (positive or
negative) stress. Often in old-style typefaces the axis is more
inclined, and in transitional and didone faces, it’s vertical.
Rational and geometric typefaces often have a neutral axis (and
Source : Link , Question Author : Toothrot , Answer Author : curious