I am just starting out in type design and I am trying to learn as much as I can. I am trying to learn best practices so I do not develop bad habits. I have seen the PANOSE system mentioned in a few places and have looked through the reference documents that I could readily find here and here. But given the age of the documents I do not know if the system is still in use, or if it even was ever "best practices".

Should I classify my typeface using the PANOSE system or ignore it?

What are the benefits of using the system?

Is PANOSE 2.0 the most current version?

  • i would like an answer from someone that designs type for a living or did and has at least heard of the PANOSE system before reading this question. assuming i have a working knowledge of the fundamentals and background of type design already, when i apply those going forward to design a typeface, should i classify it according to PANOSE? Jul 2, 2018 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


One of the main uses of Panose classifications (and possibly one of the only practical day-to-day uses) is to allow the font subsystem on, say, Windows to choose a substitute font when an application/document requests a font that isn't installed on the system.

The OS is going to substitute SOME font for the missing one no matter what; providing a meaningful Panose value for your fonts would at least give it a fighting chance of choosing a not-totally-awful substitute, assuming one is available.

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