Typeface vs font: What’s the difference, and who cares? People throw both terms around as if they were the same thing, but they’re not. If you can remember the definitions below and try to use them properly from now on, you’ll help educate others.
The short explanation from Book Design Made Simple follows:
Typeface vs font
What’s the difference? A typeface is the design that makes Caslon look different from Helvetica, for instance. A font is the delivery system for the typeface, whether it be a computer file or a set of metal type.
So . . . you purchase fonts in order to design with a typeface.
This raises all kinds of questions, doesn’t it? For instance, is Adobe correct in its word usage in this InDesign Paragraph Styles dialog box?
What do you think? Maybe it should say say “typeface” instead:
Perhaps it’s understandable that Adobe would use the terms in this way because they used to be in the business of selling fonts. What do you think? Typeface or font?
Part IV of Book Design Made Simple offers much more information about typefaces and fonts: a very brief history of typefaces, the parts of uppercase and lowercase letters, how to purchase fonts, and how to use fonts legally.
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