Black-letter typefaces represent Gothic innovation in typography. Historically, black-letter (also sometimes unhyphenated, blackletter) derives from Northern Europe. It is typified by tall, narrow letters with dagger-pointed stems and serifs.

The term 'black-letter' refers to the visual impact of the letter forms on a densely inked printed page. The counterpart of black-letter is white-letter.

Black-letter is the style of type one would see in Dracula movies--that spooky Transylvania font. Typefaces mislabelled as "Old English" are also black-letter. Fraktur, that German style of type that the NAZI's were fond of, is a true example of black-face.