A font is traditionally known as a complete set of all the letters
of the alphabet, including associated ligatures, numerals, punctuation
marks, and any other signs and symbols. A typeface, or simply face,
is the name given to the design of the alphabet. Every typeface has
a name, such as Goudy or Helvetica. The two words "font"
and "typeface" are now used interchangeably ever since the
transformation from hot metal typesetting, to phototypesetting, and
finally to digital typesetting. Desktop publishing programs have a
menu item labeled "font" to display a list of typefaces
which confuses the terminology. A family is a set of fonts related
to the basic typeface which may include italic, bold, and bold-italic
plus several different weights and widths. The weights range from
extra light to extra bold, and widths can range from extra condensed
to extra expanded.
The two main font standards are Adobe PostScript Type 1 and TrueType.
Choosing which type to use is a very important decision. It is a good
idea to choose one type and stay with it. Do not mix PostScript with
TrueType. Some typefaces are available in both types, but the visual
characteristics of one font standard differs slightly from another.
Because of this difference, using one type of font for displaying
and proofing your work and then using a different font for printing
can cause unpleasant surprises such as different letterspacing and
line endings. Regardless of the standard you choose, make sure that
your service provider uses the identical font produced by the same
company that produced your font.
Adobe PostScript Type 1
Adobe PostScript Type 1 fonts are the printing industry standard.
Type 1 fonts have both a bitmap (screen) font for proper display on
your monitor and an outline (printer) font that is used to create
smooth type on a printer. Both the display and printer font are needed
in order for the file to be output. Type 1 postscript fonts are the
standard for imaging to any PostScript output device. PostScript fonts
are PostScript language-based outlines, object-oriented vector graphics,
that can be scaled to any size, and still remain sharp and smooth
on any platform or output device.
A Type 2 font doesn't exist. There are Type 3 fonts, but they are
of inferior quality.
TrueType fonts work with both non-PostScript and PostScript output
devices. However, when printing to a PostScript printer, TrueType
fonts must be converted to a PostScript outline, and the quality of
the resulting font depends on the quality of the conversion. They
work well for designs that will appear on screen, such as Websites,
and for cross-platform consistency, but for printing on a high resolution
typesetter, you advised to use PostScript Type 1 fonts. TrueType was
developed by Apple Computer and the Microsoft Corporation to replace
bitmap fonts. TrueType fonts are just one file and can be identified
by its icon with three A's on it.
The Multiple Master (MM) format is an extension of the Adobe Type
1 PostScript format. A MM typeface is basically one typeface family
from which hundreds of customized variations, called multiple master
instances, can be generated. An instance is a particular rendition
of the font along a particular design axis, such as weight, width,
optical size and style. MM fonts include several primary axes that
you can use to create an almost infinite variety of font instances
using the Font Creator. All multiple master fonts have MM after the
typeface name, with the numeric values of their weight and width added
to short axis abbreviations (i.e., MinioMM_578 BL 465 NO 8 OP).
|Weight Axis (wt)
|Width Axis (wd)
|Optical Size Axis (op)
OP: Optical size (from 6 to 72)
Fonts do not cross over to another platform very well ( i,e., from
PC to Mac). This is true even if you use Type 1 fonts. They have slightly
different names so they are usually not recognized and will show up
as missing fonts. Another problem is that special characters use different
key combinations. For example, the PC has fraction keys and the Mac
has ligature keys that produce something different on the opposite
platform. The difference in the keys is one of the reasons why you
should always send a hard copy of a file if it is to be output elsewhere.
Serif typefaces have distinctive tails on vertical and horizontal
lines. They are more legible at text sizes 14 points or less, so
they are most often used for body text.
Sans serif typefaces do not have the serifs. They are used for
headings, and subheads, but can also be used for body text.
Display type is used for headlines and should be used sparingly.
It is very important to use the right font for your headlines because
it sets the style or mood of what you are trying to say.
Script typefaces are used for formal pieces such as wedding invitations.
NEVER set type in ALL CAPS using a script face because it becomes
very difficult to read.