HOME
        TheInfoList






In metal typesetting, a font was a particular size, weight and style of a typeface. Each font was a matched set of type, one piece (called a "sort") for each glyph, and a typeface consisting of a range of fonts that shared an overall design.

In modern usage, with the advent of digital typography, "font" is frequently synonymous with "typeface". Each style is in a separate "font file"—for instance, the typeface "Bulmer" may include the fonts "Bulmer roman", "Bulmer", "Bulmer bold" and "Bulmer extended"—but the term "font" might be applied either to one of these alone or to the whole typeface.

In both traditional typesetting and modern usage, the word "font" refers to the delivery mechanism of the typeface design. In traditional typesetting, the font would be made from metal or wood. Today, the font is a digital file.

EB Garamond's regular and schoolbook versions of a and g. Single-storey characters are more commonly found as default in geometric sans-serif fonts such as Century Gothic, shown at bottom.

Typefaces may be made in variants for different uses. These may be issued as separate font files, or the different characters may be included in the same font file if the font is a modern format such as OpenType and the application used can support this.[29][30]

Alternative characters are often called stylistic alternates. These may be switched on to allow users more flexibility to customise the font to suit their needs. The practice is not new: in the 1930s, Gill Sans, a British design, was sold abroad with alternative characters to make it resemble fonts such as swashes to go with italic minuscules or they can be of a flourish design for use as initials (drop caps).

Typefaces may be made in variants for different uses. These may be issued as separate font files, or the different characters may be included in the same font file if the font is a modern format such as OpenType and the application used can support this.[29][30]

Alternative characters are often called stylistic alternates. These may be switched on to allow users more flexibility to customise the font to suit their needs. The practice is not new: in the 1930s, Gill Sans, a British design, was sold abroad with alternative characters to make it resemble fonts such as Futura popular in other countries, while Bembo from the same period has two styles of 'R': one with a stretched-out leg, matching its fifteenth-century model, and one less-common shorter version.[31] With modern digital fonts, it is possible to group related alternative characters into stylistic sets, which may be turned on and off together. For example, in Williams Caslon Text, a revival of the 18th century font Caslon, the default italic forms have many swashes matching the original design. For a more spare appearance, these can all be turned off at once by engaging stylistic set 4.[32] Junicode, intended for academic publishing, uses ss15 to enable a variant form of 'e' used in medieval Latin. A corporation commissioning a modified versi

Alternative characters are often called stylistic alternates. These may be switched on to allow users more flexibility to customise the font to suit their needs. The practice is not new: in the 1930s, Gill Sans, a British design, was sold abroad with alternative characters to make it resemble fonts such as Futura popular in other countries, while Bembo from the same period has two styles of 'R': one with a stretched-out leg, matching its fifteenth-century model, and one less-common shorter version.[31] With modern digital fonts, it is possible to group related alternative characters into stylistic sets, which may be turned on and off together. For example, in Williams Caslon Text, a revival of the 18th century font Caslon, the default italic forms have many swashes matching the original design. For a more spare appearance, these can all be turned off at once by engaging stylistic set 4.[32] Junicode, intended for academic publishing, uses ss15 to enable a variant form of 'e' used in medieval Latin. A corporation commissioning a modified version of a commercial font for their own use, meanwhile, might request that their preferred alternates be set to default.

It is common for fonts intended for use in books for young children to use simplified, single-storey forms of the lowercase letters a and g (sometimes also y and l); these may be called infant or schoolbook alternates. They are traditionally believed to be easier for children to read and less confusing as they resemble the forms used in handwriting.[33] Often schoolbook characters are released as a supplement to popular families such as Akzidenz-Grotesk, Gill Sans and Bembo; a well-known font intended specifically for school use is Sassoon Sans.[34][35]

Besides alternate characters, in the metal type era The New York Times commissioned custom condensed single sorts for common long names that might often appear in news headings, such as "Eisenhower", "Chamberlain" or "Rockefeller".[36]

Fonts can have multiple kinds of digits, including, as described above, proportional (variable width) and tabular (fixed width) as well as lining (upper-case height) and text (lower-case height) figures. They may also include separate styles for superscript and subscript digits. Professional fonts may include even more complex settings for typesetting digits, such as digits intended to match the height of small caps.[37][38] In addition, some fonts such as Adobe’s Acumin and Christian Schwartz’s Neue Haas Grotesk digitisation offer two heights of lining (upper-case height) figures: one slightly lower than cap height, intended to blend better into continuous text, and one at exactly the cap height to look better in combination with capitals for uses such as UK postcodes.[39][40][41][42] With the OpenType format, it is possible to bundle all these into a single digital font file, but earlier font releases may have only one type per file.

Subsetting

A typical font may contain hundreds or even thousands of glyphs, often representing characters from many different languages. Oftentimes, users may only need a small subset of the glyphs that are available to them. Subsetting is the process of removing unnecessary glyphs from a font file, usually with the goal of reducing file size. This is particularly important for web fonts, since reducing file size often means reducing page load time and server load. Alternatively, fonts may be issued in different files for different regions of the world, though with the spread of the OpenType format this is now increasingly uncommon.

See also