Re: Times Roman 'N' Helvetica

Subject: Re: Times Roman 'N' Helvetica
From: Ad absurdum per aspera <jtchew -at- CSA3 -dot- LBL -dot- GOV>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1993 12:31:00 PST

>I'm not clear on the distinction between font and typeface.

Depends on whether you're talking to a typographer (or, for that
matter, a compositor or print tradesman) or to a computer salesman.

To the former, the distinction is venerable and crystal-clear. A
typeface is a general schema for how characters ought to look. A
font is a subset of a typeface, an instantiation of it in a chosen
size and style. For example, Helvetica is a typeface; Helvetica 12
Bold, Helvetica 12 Italic, Helvetica 10, etc. are fonts.

To the computer marketer, or to the hordes of users who came to
typography and composition by way of the computer instead of vice
versa and whose usage has thus been influenced by the marketer,
"font" is used where "typeface" is meant, and phrases like "font
size and style" have to be retrofitted to take the place of "font."
It's probably too late to go back now.

Designing typefaces is an art; the venue and my knowledge do not
do it justice. (Nor, for that matter, does the writer, or even the
one-man-band communicator, have to understand it either comprehensively
or on a deep artistic level in order to get the job done.) If you're
interested, I might suggest a book like _Words into Type_ as a place
to start. There are people on the net -- Paul Trummel comes to mind --
who know far more about this sort of thing than I ever will, and who
might be provoked into posting.

"Just another personal opinion from the People's Republic of Berkeley"
Disclaimer: Even if my employer had a position on the subject,
I probably wouldn't be the one stating it on their behalf.

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