The distinction between typeface and font has been a point of contention among the public. Design terminology has become a common noun in the modern discussion, and individuals interchangeably employ both terms, regardless of significance. However, on a technical level, typeface and font have distinct differences that should not be confused with one another. Let’s find out what differentiates typeface and font and why getting it properly is crucial.
Don’t care about the details and would instead grab gorgeous typefaces off the internet? Here are some of our favorite font collections.
Why Everyone Keeps Mixing Up Both of Them
The emergence of the digital era brought several benefits. For example, the rise of computers, the World Wide Web, and remote work demonstrate that the world may alter dramatically in a few decades. Regrettably, digitization also has its drawbacks, one of which is the confusion between typeface and font. As previously said, it is computer tools such as Microsoft Word that have led to the misconception. When manual typesetting is replaced by digital typesetting, users are presented with various ready-to-use fonts via a dropdown menu.
The problem arises when you open the font menu in software such as Microsoft Word. What you see in the dropdown menu is the typeface, but they label it as font instead. In reality, font is the characteristics you ascribe to your typeface, whether it’s the size, style, weight, etc.
So now you know why people keep mixing up typeface with the font—because it’s simply that they can’t help themselves. If you aren’t a professional graphic designer or typesetter, the phrases are almost identical.
For a start, let’s take a look at some of our font collections to familiarize yourself with typeface and font.
Rockrose – Urban Grafitti Font
Strength – Authentic Handbrushed Font
MightyStandwood – Urban Brush Font
A History of Typeface and Font
Simply put, a font is a collection of blocks that belong to a broader group of typefaces. Each typeface has its size and weight, allowing users to be as creative as they wish. Montserrat, for example, is one of the most well-known typefaces. There are several typefaces inside Montserrat, such as 10-point Montserrat, 12 point Montserrat, 14 points Montserrat Italic, and 16 points Montserrat Oblique, which all represent various typefaces inside the same typeface.
The surprising thing is that the history of typeface and font may be traced back to the dawn of printing. People used to print letters to the media by casting an array of metal characters to create font before introducing the digital printer we know today. The word “font” is derived from a French phrase that means “to cast in metal.” Can you imagine how wasteful it was? Not to mention that a printer will have to develop different kinds of fonts for variety’s sake. When the collection is complete, the printer creates a typeface by combining typefaces with comparable traits and qualities.
Are you still having trouble distinguishing between the two? Let’s give an example. Consider typefaces to be albums of tunes. The same individual sings the music for both the song and the album. On the other hand, each song is different, and the distinctions combine to form a separate album. You can use the album’s typeface and font to represent the song.
Get into the Basics: The Difference Between Typeface and Font
Let’s get down to business now that you know the difference between typeface and font. It will also come in handy if you need to explain anything to someone without going down the typesetting history path.
First, here are some of the most well-known typefaces we see daily, including weight, size, style, serif, and width that are only a few of the qualities that make up any font.
- Times New Roman
An excellent design is easy to read.
As the name implies, Font size influences how large or small your font is relative to the canvas. It’s not easy to choose a font size because you have to consider your audience’s wants and the design’s purpose.
Designing a legal proposal and a movie poster, for example, necessitates a distinct understanding of each audience and objective. While legal documents may employ a smaller, simpler font for formality, movie posters will need a bold, easily noticeable typeface to attract people’s attention from a distance. Starforce is an example of a movie typeface.
Here’s a quick reference for Adobe’s font size naming system:
- Caption: ranging from 4 to 8 points, the smallest amongst the range.
- Small text: ranging from 8 to 10 points. Used for body texts.
- Regular: ranging from 12 points (the default reading sized) to 13 points. Used for body text and the web.
- Subheading: ranging from 14 to 18 points. Used for larger text.
- Display: ranging from 19 to 72 points. Considered the widest size range.
- Poster: anything greater than 72 points.
Black Lagoon is an example of a font that is perfect for subheading and above size.
On the other hand, a font like Grain Typeface is usually paired with a smaller size font. By looking at its elements, you can determine whether a font is more suitable as a headline or a caption.
Whether it’s straight-up or slanted, the angle of a typeface is frequently used to describe its style. The upward font setting is the default font setting when you open a new document.
However, the default font isn’t the only option. Many fonts come in various styles, including italic, bold, oblique, script, swash, and cursive. Let’s have a look at the differences:
- Italic is a cursive typeface based on a stylized, calligraphy handwriting in the realm of typography. When you use italic in your writing, you’re usually emphasizing key ideas or phrases. The right-hand side of the italic is usually slanted.
- Oblique: sometimes mistaken with italic, oblique is a font type that likewise slants to the right, but instead of calligraphic glyphs, it employs roman glyphs. Some designers may pick oblique over italic if they want to appear eager or urgent without coming across as soft.
- Cursive or Script: unlike swash, cursive or script retains the calligraphic, exaggerated style while utilizing italic as its foundation.
- Slant: is a subdued form of italic that doesn’t affect its glyphs.
- Swash: a hyperbolic manifestation of a typeface that dates to 1522. On a glyph, it appears as an exaggerated serif, terminal, stroke, and entrance. Swash was commonly used for letters back in the day.
Fonts, like other design elements, aren’t’ there as a standalone. So, it would be best if you made sure that the font you’re using is in line with the overall ambience and theme of the design. Here are some fonts that demonstrate different styles yet just as awesome.
Consider font-weight to be the thickness of each character’s outline in relation to its height. Most fonts come in four to six weights, with some having as many as a dozen. To make it easier to distinguish between them, font weights are commonly labeled as these categories:
- Normal or regular
- Heavy or black
Font width is equally important as font height. Font width influences the readability and visibility of a design, making sure you’re utilizing the proper font width on the proper canvas. If you’re planning anything that will require a lot of reading, go with a standard width. Condensed and expanded font widths, on the other hand, are appropriate if you’re developing merely for artistic feelings.
Condensed font widths are frequently employed for material that has to stand out from the crowd, such as headlines, posters, or advertising. On the other hand, extended typefaces are employed to produce a lasting effect since each character must be read independently.
Here are some hotkeys to determine the width of a font.
If a font is rather narrow, then it’s likely to be called as:
An example of compressed or narrow font is Spillage.
If a font is rather wide, then it’s likely to be called as:
Fonts like Dalima would be categorized as a wide or extended font as there’s a considerable distance from one alphabet to another.
If you’ve dabbled in design for a while, you’ve probably heard the terms serif and sans serif. What exactly does it mean?
A serif is a little protrusion at the end of a letter’s larger stroke. Fonts are divided into two categories: serifs and sans serifs (or sans serifs in French). Serifs are necessary for any typeface because they generate minor nuances that contribute to the font’s overall emotion, meaning, and ambiance.
There are other serif types such as:
- Slab serif
- Alternate capitals
Every character’s ending creates an intersection, a link, and, eventually, a corner. Corners are classified into two categories. Sharp edges like Z, N, A, and V take a lot of attention. Sharp corners are appropriate if you want to startle or scare your audience, making it a popular choice for youngsters who want to create heavy metal or punk-themed designs. Square corners in E, H, and T, on the other hand, exude strength and rigidity. Paying attention to corners is important, especially if you want to create an appropriate impression for your design’s goal.
A sharp corner is intended to draw attention, whereas a more rounded corner is intended for art and aesthetics. These typefaces, which combine traditional and modern characteristics, may be the ideal complement for your design.
The form of a typeface might be static or dynamic. The stiff horizontal and vertical lines of a static typeface may be identified; Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Arial are examples of static typefaces. Dynamic typefaces, on the other hand, have lines and bows that add flow to the type. Calligraphic or other ornamental typefaces are commonly seen in dynamic fonts.
What do you think of Rootstock font? Is it dynamics or static?
What about Raisa Lovers?
Paying attention to the statics of a typeface, similar to corner rounding, is vital for creating a lasting impression. Static fonts convey order and tranquility, making them appropriate for formal situations, whereas dynamic fonts, with their free lines and forms, instill a feeling of art and pure beauty in your design.
When it comes to typefaces, there are two broad geometric classifications: humanist construction and geometric design. Handwriting-like fonts embellish and provide personality to a design such as Anastacia Signature font are referred to as humanist construction. On the other hand, geometric design refers to a typeface built on geometric shapes (square, circle, triangle). An example of a font with a geometric design is Raster Vintage font.
A font is a collection of blocks that belong to a wider set of typefaces, whereas a typeface is a collection of fonts with various features. It’s critical to be able to tell the difference between a typesetter and a graphic designer.
However, in a world where words circulate quickly and new terms are formed daily, what matters most is that you grasp the difference between typeface and font for yourself and utilize it to be clear and specific. Don’t try to be hyperspecific with folks who aren’t conversant with the topic only to feel superior.