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What would be the correct word to describe one of the possible styles that can be applied to a character, including

  • bold
  • italic
  • underline
  • font size
  • text color
  • font family
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Bold, Italic, Small caps, Semibold, Demi, Oblique, Black, Heavy, Narrow, Thin, Book, Medium, et.al are considered Faces of the same font family.

Size, underline, and color are referred to as size, underline, and color, since none of these are related to the drawing of the glyphs specifically. They aren't inherently part of the digital font file. If they are part of the actual font file, then they would merely comprise another face for that family.

Family is not a variation. Family denotes the entire font and all it's various faces.

The Helvetica typeface/font is a Family. Helvetica Regular, Helvetica Black, and Helvetica Bold Italic are all faces within the Helvetica Family.

Style typically refers to overall settings across multiple aspects, such as a specific face of a specific font family using a designated color at a specified size. These would all comprise the overall character or font style.

I suppose if you were looking for a single word then: Attributes, properties, aspects, characteristics, facets, particularities -- all could be used but aren't specifically related to typefaces or fonts in general. I'm sure a thesaurus could find even more.


However... if you are referring to Cascading Style Sheets and web building things are a bit different.

font-style {} refers to font face variations which do not alter the font weight. So font-style will refer to face variations such as italic and oblique.

Any font face variation which alters the visual weight of the font is controlled by the font-weight {} selector.

In order to have something like Helvetica bold italic underlined, you would have to use several CSS properties within a CSS selector (<p>):

p {
   font-family: Helvetica;
   font-weight: bold;
   font-style: italic;
   font-size: 1.6em;
   color: #000;
   text-decoration: underline;
}

Properties is the name for the declarations within cascading style sheets.

  • You took the glyphs out of my mouth. +1 again, Scott, but it's not as though you need the point. – Stan Sep 20 '18 at 23:10
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The attributes you mention are all related to font styling, but they are not equal.

  • Bold and Italic are different styles of a font, which have been designed individually. (They can be faked by some applications by altering the regular font, but this is not recommended.)

  • Underline is a line added below the font. This is seldom a part of the font and can often be customized in the application.

  • Font size and text color doesn't really alter the geometry of the font, but are just settings about how you want to render the font (on screen or print).

  • Font family is the name of the font in use. This is the most significant attribute.

InDesign calls it options. Other words could be attributes, properties or settings.

The word style refers to either the font style (bold/italic/light etc.) or the collection of options/attributes/properties/settings applied to a text.

  • Some of the characteristics you mention should be attributed to specific typographic aspects of the design. Type face, is not interchangeable with font. Your answer would be better if you distinguish between them. For example, Italic is a different face from Roman in the same family. – Stan Sep 20 '18 at 23:06
  • @Stan, I realize that you are right. My answer reveals that I'm not a native English speaker (I'm from Denmark). The terminology is a bit messy in Danish as we are often mixing in English words. But we do have this simple distinction: The family is called skrift (script) and the faces are called snit (cuts). I'm unsure how to edit my answer to make it correct. (I accept that Scott's answer is better.) If you have the time, feel free to edit my answer! – Wolff Sep 21 '18 at 16:49

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