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Slightly confused. Typeface/font question.

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  • Slightly confused. Typeface/font question.

    I know this is a very newbie question.
    But I am still slightly confused with when to call something a font or a typeface.

    Say for example I have a stencil font. It only comes in one weight. Only comes in all Capital.

    When referring to the font/typeface itself, what would I call it? I know that if I was using it in a certain size, say 12 point, I would call it a font.

    But say it's called "STENCIL3". Would that be the name of the font, or the name of the typeface if I am simply referring to the typeface/font itself?

    Thanks. I think I know the answer but I just want to check with you guys.

  • #2
    Typeface is the name. (ex: Futura, or Futura Bold)
    Font is the typeface in a specific size. (Futura 12pt, or Futura Bold 12pt)

    Lots of people just say font when they mean typeface, I do that too sometimes, like when I'm talking to clients and I don't want to sound like a snobby ass, and they just call something a font, I'll call it a font too.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by salsa View Post
      Typeface is the name. (ex: Futura, or Futura Bold)
      Font is the typeface in a specific size. (Futura 12pt, or Futura Bold 12pt)

      Lots of people just say font when they mean typeface, I do that too sometimes, like when I'm talking to clients and I don't want to sound like a snobby ass, and they just call something a font, I'll call it a font too.
      Thank you! That's what I thought.
      And when people say "type" are they just shortening "typeface" or is this something different?

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      • salsa
        salsa commented
        Editing a comment
        Maybe, I don't know. Depends on the context I guess.

    • #4
      Originally posted by skinnytieguy View Post

      Thank you! That's what I thought.
      And when people say "type" are they just shortening "typeface" or is this something different?

      Helvetica walks into a bar and the barman says 'We don't serve your type in here'
      Time flies like an arrow - fruit flies like a banana

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by salsa View Post
        Typeface is the name. (ex: Futura, or Futura Bold)
        Font is the typeface in a specific size. (Futura 12pt, or Futura Bold 12pt)
        Back in the days when actual 12-point metal letters were pulled from a different drawer than the one containing the 14- or 16-point type, that definition made sense and was important.

        Today, with digital typography, the point size is simply what's output and printed; it has nothing to do with the type itself, which can be output at any size. A digital font is typically regarded as the installable software that contains the metrics and complete set of outlines associated with the typeface.

        In other words, when one sees Futura printed on a poster, that person has identified the typeface called Futura. When that person decides to use Futura, she buys a copy of the font containing all the digital outlines to enable her to use Futura. To use an analogy, one might buy a copy of a song on iTunes and download a file containing that song to one's iPhone. The file itself isn't the song, but it contains all the digital information necessary to reproduce the song.

        As technology changes, terminology from the old technology often gets dragged along and superimposed on the new technology in ways that don't quite fit. The whole font vs. typeface conundrum is one of them. For most people, font and typeface mean the same thing, and if I were to wager, I'd bet that within another 10 or 15 years, the term font will largely have replaced the term typeface -- maybe it already has except for those of us old enough to remember when a font really was a very different and separate physical thing from a typeface.
        Last edited by B; 04-14-2017, 01:14 PM.

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