Some fonts have a "Semi Bold" font style.

enter image description here


What is it used for?

  • Are you asking if this semi bold is a valid arial semi bold font or are you asking what the purpose of semi bold is? – LateralTerminal Oct 17 '17 at 18:22
  • I love semibold. I use it when I feel like something needs to be emphasized, but it's just not quite bold-worthy hahaha. LateralTerminal gave a great answer below that should help you get a better sense of varying font weights. Really, it's just part of the sprectrum. – Ashlee Palka Oct 17 '17 at 18:29
  • In this question itself, asking what the purpose of "Semi Bold" is. – Piotr Grochowski Oct 17 '17 at 18:44

It's used when you want a typeface heavier than "Regular", "Book", or "Medium" but not as heavy as "Bold".

  • So for example this would be Arial Semi Bold: dropbox.com/s/apnn2v5b29o9vrs/arialsb12.fon?dl=0 It's doing what you mentioned, right? Maybe not at sizes 9, 10 and 14 (same thickness as bold), but at sizes 11 and 12 it works. – Piotr Grochowski Oct 17 '17 at 17:58
  • I don't understand what you are asking. I'm not going to download any file. SemiBold is a step between normal and bold, that's all. – Scott Oct 17 '17 at 18:00
  • I'm telling you an example of a Semi Bold font (Arial Semi Bold). Get it to check if it's a true example of Semi Bold. It's also shown in the picture in my question. – Piotr Grochowski Oct 17 '17 at 18:02
  • That does not even seem to be a font format that I have ever seen before. – LateralTerminal Oct 17 '17 at 18:06
  • Again, I'm not downloading anything. There's no need for me to download a file to explain what semibold means. – Scott Oct 17 '17 at 18:08

Edit: Based on OP comment

"It's doing what you mentioned, right? Maybe not at sizes 9, 10 and 14 (same thickness as bold), but at sizes 11 and 12 it works."

Are you asking if the file you provided is actually containing a legitimate arial semi bold?

I think you are using a file type that is too old.

FON is a font file format used by Microsoft Windows. FON files are part of the Windows 3.x font library, and contain information for fonts. FON files are older font files, which cannot be resized like .TTF fonts, and also may appear differently when printed."



I'm going to leave my original answer here which was answered literally based off your post:

What is a “Semi Bold” font style used for?

My answer to that is:

When bold is too much.

There is a whole spectrum of weights for typefaces for just the right situations.

Here they are in order.

Hairline, Thin, Ultra Light, Extra Light, Light, Book (sometimes heavier than Regular), Regular/Roman, Medium, Semibold/Demibold, Bold, Extra Bold, Ultra Bold, Heavy, Black, Ultra Black,

Maybe take a look at: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-Medium-Demi-and-Semibold-fonts

  • For some small sizes there is nothing between Regular and Bold (the case with 9, 10 and 14 in Arial) so Semi Bold is same thickness as Bold; it only works on some sizes (11 and 12 in case of Arial). – Piotr Grochowski Oct 17 '17 at 18:45
  • Do you mean only in notepad? What programs are you using that have this issue? I think this has to do with what I was researching when I found " which cannot be resized like .TTF fonts" But maybe I still do not understand what your problem is? – LateralTerminal Oct 17 '17 at 18:48
  • It's an issue with maths, as there is no integer between 1, 1 and 2, 1. As for 11 and 12 sizes, there is 2, 1 between 1, 1 and 2, 2. Also, Arial Semi Bold appears only in Notepad, so I can't test it anywhere else. – Piotr Grochowski Oct 17 '17 at 18:57
  • Oh I see. It seems like you understand why it is happening. So is your question just asked out of curiosity or is there something you needed the arial semi bold to be used for specifically? – LateralTerminal Oct 17 '17 at 19:07
  • I showed an example of a Semi Bold font and the sizes it works on. Also, in case of size 14, the thickness for Regular is 2, 2 and in Bold it's 3, 2, so Semi Bold doesn't work for this size either. – Piotr Grochowski Oct 18 '17 at 15:55

Because we are supposed to use as few different fonts as possible I would like even more variations in a font. The main tricks available in typography are size, weight and position. They are all used to drive attention, or more specifically to make the user read things in the order you want.

Lets talk about boldness, AKA Weight. Bolder thicker fonts stand out, look heavy and so attract the eye. If you have a big bold word down at the bottom of the page and everything else is regular paragraph text than the user will probably look down at the bottom and read the bold word first.

So bold attracts attention. Why have more than 1 bold? Because you still want to attract attention but the main bold is already used and its higher in the hierarchy of importance. You want Bold Bold read first, Regular Bold read second, because of Subtitling. You have titles, you have captions and you have subtitles. Subtitles still need to stand out.

So more weight options, more italic options, more thin options will allow you to emphasize text in many ways. This is IMPORTANT, this is Interesting, thin text is non obtrusive and falls to the back. Wide text is strong attracts attention but takes too much room.

When you have a page with several title sizes, captions, paragraphs, asides, quotes and comments, and then you need to place even another style of text, you will want a semi-bold.

Look how many variations there are for Helvetica New Lt Std (see the scroll bar?):

enter image description here

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