Questions about families of letter shapes. Use [typefaces] when you'd use "song" (e.g. "I love that song/typeface..."), and [fonts] when you'd use "MP3" ("...so I'm going to buy the MP3/font for it").

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176
votes
13answers
76k views

What is wrong with Comic Sans?

There's a great TEDxExeter talk by a colleague of mine, Simon Peyton-Jones, about the recent advances in the English lower school 'computer science' curriculum. Like all of his slide decks he uses ...
62
votes
8answers
14k views

What is so good about Helvetica?

For as long as I have known, a majority of designers have been beyond enamoured with Helvetica. While I can see that it's a nice typeface, I really don't understand the hype. Some research into the ...
56
votes
5answers
16k views

Why don't upper case numbers exist?

Capital letters add a lot to text in various ways, for names, brands, emphasis (although capitalisation for emphasis is frowned upon) Why then, are there no upper case numbers?
39
votes
8answers
10k views

“Serifs improve fast, easy readability for long text” - myth or truth?

It's an old question, but an important one. Let's see if we can get a good, nuanced, ideally evidence-based answer. So, old-school wisdom (certainly, how I was taught back in the day) says that serif ...
31
votes
6answers
7k views

What is the difference between a font and a typeface?

Originally, the typeface is a particular design of type, while a font is a type in a particular size and weight. In short, a typeface usually gathers many fonts. Nowadays, with the digital design of ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Is Marcellus a serif font?

I was searching for serif fonts on Google Fonts and happened across Marcellus. However, if I were shown it out of any context, I'd call it a sans-serif font. I can see small hits of what might be ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

Where do professional designers “go” to look for typefaces?

I'm just reading The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams and am very impressed how on almost every page, Ms. Williams seems to "pull out" some beautiful typeface which I've never heard of. ...
21
votes
3answers
8k views

What are the differences between Helvetica and Arial?

I've heard there are a number of slight differences between these two similar fonts, is one better than the other for different contexts?
18
votes
8answers
16k views

How are Serif and Sans-serif fonts different, and when should one use one over the other?

What is the difference between these fonts, and what are some typical examples of why one might be used over another?
18
votes
6answers
4k views

What characters are good to start with when designing a typeface?

Given many characters in a typeface build on others and even just a couple of characters can reveal a lot of the features of a given typeface, what characters are good to start with when designing a ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

Will typeface design ever “stop”?

This mainly refers to serif and sans serif typefaces used for everyday body text, not "wacky" display typefaces. I've been looking at a lot of typefaces today and it occurred to me that there are SO ...
11
votes
3answers
383 views

When are typefaces considered conflicting with each other?

I have been reading a lot about font pairing lately, but I’m still missing to identify when fonts don’t complement and contrast with each other, instead they clash. An example that I've read was ...
11
votes
2answers
195 views

Why are there so many variations on the ampersand design?

Most characters have a single shape or form - for instance the letter C always looks like a C. The end caps may be different, it may have serifs, the terminals may end at a different angle, but the ...
10
votes
4answers
7k views

What makes a font a “gothic” font?

It’s easy to find lots of fonts with gothic in their names. But what makes a typeface a “gothic” typeface?
9
votes
3answers
517 views

What things should I consider when using my own custom fonts on a client's project?

When creating printed media for a corporation/legal entity, what exactly should I consider when using my own, personally created and designed, fonts?
9
votes
2answers
60k views

How can I change the default typeface in Indesign?

When I use InDesign the text box automaticly selects Times New roman as the typeface. can I change this so it automaticly selects my brands typeface.
9
votes
2answers
229 views

How to design the letter ß (eszett or sharp S)

When designing a typeface, how should I design the letter ß? Looking at existing typefaces there seems to be a some variations of how the character is designed. It seems that the letter (called an ...
8
votes
4answers
520 views

Double space acceptable after period before abbreviated title?

It seems accepted amongst typographers that the double space after a period is a dated artifact of monospace typewriters, but is it acceptable to use a double space in between sentences like: I ...
8
votes
4answers
436 views

Is there a typographical term for vertically-stacked characters?

I recently discovered this type technique in the July/August edition of Little White Lies Magazine. Here's an example of the typography: I wish to know, is there a term for the technique of ...
8
votes
3answers
591 views

What skills, techniques or methods can I use to help teach my child typography?

I'm teaching my child, who is 5, how to write and I wondered if it would be a bad idea to teach the foundations of typography and if any skills or techniques exist for children that can help show them ...
8
votes
3answers
352 views

The selection and use of typefaces for the non-designer

I am looking for a short, concise resource that will help me better choose and use typefaces. I think the ideal resource would have a thoughtfully chosen list of about a dozen of the most important ...
8
votes
2answers
862 views

What advantages/disadvantages do specific font formats have for print production?

Fonts can be purchased or downloaded in several formats: TrueType OpenType Postscript Type 1 Postscript Type 3 Multiple Masters I realize that OpenType and TrueType are universal formats which ...
7
votes
3answers
431 views

Designing for a 6in x 9in book

I am putting a text heavy book together, 6in x 9in paper size. (Perhaps related are this and this link.) Now I look for good font pairings (nice examples are here) and margin settings and line ...
7
votes
3answers
557 views

Does this poster convey a “Frenchy” look?

In the brainstorming to give a visual identity to the French Language & Usage StackExchange, one of the proposals is to base the design on vintage posters such as this one: But I am afraid that ...
7
votes
2answers
102 views

How should I approach designing special characters I am unfamiliar with when designing a typeface?

When designing a typeface there are a number of characters that I, as an English speaker, have never used, rarely seen and simply don't understand. These characters fall in to a number of different ...
6
votes
5answers
14k views

Which of these font communicates “luxury products” better?

We are about to create a new luxury fashion brand. We researched many trademark logos, and saw they use different font types. We cannot decide between the two different fonts below. We target people ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Guidelines for logos using multiple typefaces

I was wondering there were any helpful guidelines and/or tips for designing logos with multiple fonts. It seems to be a dangerous area to enter into, but can lead to some great results. Often times ...
6
votes
2answers
350 views

visual typeface search tool

Fontshop.com used to have (at least I think it was them) a index of typefaces that you could use visual / structural specifics to search through their library of typefaces. It gave options for things ...
6
votes
2answers
619 views

Considerations when using multiple font faces (on webpage or CD cover)

I’m experimenting with fonts for learning purposes, and I noticed that using only one font type looks many times plain, but using more can easily make a mess out of my webpage and CD cover (these are ...
6
votes
2answers
495 views

How far back does the concept of a “bold” typeface variant go

What I'd like to know is where in history the idea of having a bold variant of a typeface came about. I suspect that back in Garamond/Caslon's time there would not have been any bold version of their ...
6
votes
2answers
93 views

What are the different stroke widths (e.g. in a W) in serif fonts called, and why do they have a particular orientation?

Certain serif fonts have distinctly different stroke widths for parts of certain letters (see WMVAU below) and there is a "correct" and an "incorrect" orientation. An example with Google Fonts Prata: ...
6
votes
3answers
172 views

Alternative to font “x” chart or service?

I have a number of typefaces for which I'd like to find free or open licence alternatives to. Rather than ask a series of "What is the best open license font to substitute for 'Goudy Catalogue'? ...
6
votes
1answer
118 views

Are there any benefits to using kerning pairs over kerning classes?

I've been learning how to use FontForge and am now getting my feet wet with kerning. I see that there are two options to do kerning: classes and pairs. To me, classes seem to have no downside. When ...
6
votes
3answers
438 views

How to determine a typeface's origin and whether I have a license?

I am currently working on the cover of a book. I'd really like to include the typeface Rockwell Extra Bold which is installed on my system. However Rockwell Extra Bold seems not to be installed ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the historical origins of Helvetica?

This issue of a typeface's heritage is of particular interest when attempting to pair faces. The nuances of related faces tend to harmonize well, whether that relation is grounded in history or the ...
5
votes
2answers
261 views

Strange type behaviours, some rounded letters seem larger

I have a weird thing happening with this font. It's Avenir. I've used it in the past with no issues, but this one seems to pop up once in awhile. The issue if not obvious is that some letters appear ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Optima Roman or Optima Medium the Optima.ttc found in Mac OS X?

I'm currently working with a relatively small event run by volunteers and we want to be consistent across our publications. Currently we use Optima for the body text in our publications, but it's ...
5
votes
1answer
121 views

Is there a name for digits/figures which fit in the x-height?

Is there a name for a set of figures which fit into the x-height (or thereabouts) in a typeface? Lining figures explicitly do not: While old-style figures have ascenders and descenders: In the ...
5
votes
1answer
190 views

Are there typographic methods of rendering a document traceable?

I seem to recall an anecdote on how one branch of the British government had designed a way to circulate seemingly identical for-your-eyes-only documents to a small circle of high-level collaborators, ...
5
votes
1answer
62 views

OpenType Features - Adaptable typefaces

I have a typeface I've developed that comes in two variations, one spans horizontally whilst the other vertically. At the moment they sit as two OTFs. What I would like to do is create an OpenType ...
5
votes
2answers
350 views

Are there “bi-form” fonts that don't have descenders?

Is there a font that displays the entire image of each and every one of the 52 English alphabet shapes ➝ and ➝ above (on) the baseline? Clarification: Examples of shapes that ...
5
votes
2answers
93 views

Typeface suggestions for both family programming and contemporary art

I work at a fairly large not-for-profit arts/cultural organization that hosts diverse activities from children's art camps to family cultural events and contemporary art/performance. We use Trade ...
5
votes
2answers
263 views

How can I create a font from my handwriting?

A quick Google search turns up many websites that claim to make a customized script font from a sample of your handwriting. How do they compare, and would you recommend any such service? Are there ...
4
votes
1answer
45 views

What the name of the part of the character that holds the counters and the eyes in a stencil typeface?

Is the a name to the shape that connects the outside of a stencil letter to its interior enabling the letter to be cut through and retain its counters.
4
votes
3answers
289 views

1 letter used - do I need to buy the entire font?

I am about to finish designing logo. I use two fonts. One I already bought, but the other... I need just one letter from this font but it is not free. Do I need to buy the entire font?
4
votes
3answers
452 views

Recognizing font differences

I’m making a flyer in Adobe InDesign. I’ve studied InDesign on my own, but I still need to learn about typography. I want to learn how to recognize fonts differences, e.g., in the following: Are ...
4
votes
5answers
6k views

What properties should a typeface or font for children's signage have while still being playful?

I am looking for a typeface for use with children's signage (don't say Comic sans). I'm looking for something playful yet legible. By children, I mean elementary school age (and younger). What a re ...
4
votes
1answer
162 views

where do you get your type inspiration or how do you decide for the right type?

I was wondering where do you guys get your inspiration for Type and How you decide the right Type Face for your projects. thanks!
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Help Identify the Japanese and Chinese Fonts as Pictured

I'm trying to identify the fonts used in the attached images. I suspect that the Japanese sample is a Dynacomware font, but I don't see a match on FontShop. I think it’s been discontinued by the ...
4
votes
2answers
426 views

Best practice to creating distorted text?

Trying to practice better on my typographic logos I wanted to challenge myself in creating a distorted text logo but I was unaware if any practices exist when considering pre-existing fonts in regards ...