Is there a difference between fonts and typeface? Knowing the difference helps ensure your graphics are created with visual appeal. This training focuses on understanding fonts and typefaces. By viewing this online video, you'll learn the characteristics and connection between them. Create an example with Illustrator to solidify the understanding of why the terms are not interchangeable with respect to design.
One of the more confusing things about typography, especially for new designers, is the distinction between typefaces and fonts. In this movie, I'll break down the difference between the typeface and the font, and I'll also provide you some examples of the most popular typefaces that designers are using. The first thing you need to understand about typefaces and fonts is that the terms are not interchangeable. Even though most people use them interchangeably in everyday conversation, there's a very distinct difference between these two terms. I like to think of it like this.
Typefaces are like families. And, in every family, there are several family members, and in this case, family members are the fonts. So, if we look at it in a visual representation, we have here the Helvetica family. You got Mrs. Helvetica Regular, Mr. Helvetica Bold. You got the little girl, Helvetica Light, and then the baby, Helvetica Oblique. Together, they make up the Helvetica family, or typeface. However, separately, they each have individual attributes that make them a font.
That means when you see terms like Helvetica, Futura, Garamond, Times New Roman, or Courier, you're actually referring typefaces. It's only when you're adding in size and style attributes, like Helvetica Bold 24 point, that you can call something a font. In addition to the names that we give individual typefaces, we also have different classifications of typefaces, as well. These include sans-serif, serif, and monospaced. Serif typefaces look like this, and they have small flares that extend off of the different parts of the letters, like you see here.
Sans-serif typefaces are more blocky, and they don't have the flares that serif typefaces do. Monospaced typefaces, oftentimes, will appear similar to a serif font, but their main differentiator here is how much physical space each character takes up. With typefaces like Baskerville, the one on the top here, notice how the letters are proportional, and each one takes up a unique amount of space. For instance, the capital P takes up more room than a lower case l or i. Whereas, in the monospaced Courier typeface at the bottom, this gives each individual character an equal amount of space between it and the character next to it.
For letters that aren't quite thick enough, like lower case l's or i's, white space is added around the outside of it in order to give the characters a uniform appearance across the span of text. I'm often asked what my favorite typefaces are, when I'm designing. And while that answer is always different depending on what type of project I'm working on, I did manage to put together my top ten list for this course. And it includes Helvetica, Arial, Georgia, Gotham, Myriad Pro, Din, that's D-I-N, Futura, League Gothic, Cabin, and Corbel.
As you can see, I skew more towards the sans-serif typefaces, but you might like serifs, or monospace, or even slab serif typefaces. There are literally thousands of typefaces to choose from out there. Ultimately, it comes down to what typeface fits the project, and what font from the typeface is appropriate for each facet of your design. I just hope that now you have a better understanding of the difference between fonts and typefaces so that as you continue your design education, you aren't confused. And, you can speak intelligently about the subject when conversing with other designers.
Believe me, as often as people mistakenly use these terms, you're going to be a breath of fresh air to other people that hear you use them correctly.
- Understanding the impact of color
- Sketching your ideas
- Removing unwanted objects from images
- Cropping photos
- Resizing and saving images for print
- Drawing basic shapes
- Creating a custom color theme with swatches
- Applying styles
- Creating tables
- Preflighting documents
- Packaging files for print
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 09/01/2016. What changed?
A: We revised the first four chapters with new graphics and examples.