I am relatively new to "Fonts". I assumed this was a Google thing. enter image description here I think the idea of these font libraries is great!

A naming convention like this that crosses the boundaries into other html attributes (color). And so the font styles pictured(circled) creates confusion. the naming could be more like media how media statements are with sizes, to use BLACK is not easy for non-savvy. Who thought that was a good idea?

Can this be fixed, ever?

UPDATE: Thank you to those responders, for the history lesson, I learned something today and I suppose that is the point of Stack Exchange.

  • 3
    That's a rant I haven't heard before. 😀 Took me a while to understand. The use of the word "black" for the darkest weight (not size) of a font goes way back and is completely standard. It's not something Google invented and I doubt it's going to change. (You can just use the weight number and name the weight what you want in your css though. Which name do you propose?)
    – Wolff
    Jul 20 at 6:42
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    Since the background is you know the color you dont name why not call it white @Wolff?
    – joojaa
    Jul 20 at 7:13
  • I am not understanding what you think the issue is Jul 20 at 13:42
  • Forgive me, I do not mean to offend you, but your possible inexperience is showing...."Black" has been used as a type weight descriptor LONG before the internet, Google, and HTML were a thing. Since Orange is also an HTML color... should the name of the fruit be changed?? Blue is also a mood... guess that should change as well? Reality is.. using words as colors is haphazard, possibly lazy, HTML writing in my opinion.
    – Scott
    Jul 20 at 20:36
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    How do you feel about English text in italic? 😉 Lots of ambiguities in graphic design. (Btw, I think the down votes comes automatically because of the two "opinion based" close votes which you'll often get by posting rants. The question could be rephrased to avoid it.)
    – Wolff
    Jul 21 at 12:07

2 Answers 2


Over the past 500 years typeface weight naming has changed, with crossover from German, Italian, and British type designers. Roman, Italic, bold, fat, black, condensed, etc. were all descriptive names that were not systematized. One typeface’s bold weight could be equivalent to another’s Extra Black.

In 1957 Adrian Frutiger released Univers, meant to be used in all European languages. In Univers, light roman weight is designated “45”, normal “55”, bold “65”, black “75”, and extra black “85”. Eventually, with the release of Linotype’s Helvetiva Neue, the weight numbers were extended to three digits and became part of the PostScript font descriptor.

The names, however, remained in common use, and any type family which has weights heavy enough will have 800 Black and 900Extra Black. Potentially thousands of typefaces have those descriptors. Google neither invented nor systematized naming conventions. Also, most typefaces available from Google were not designed by Google designers. Google merely provides access to typefaces distributed by designers under certain licensing conditions.


Realistically, No. For this one font maybe if you convince the authors to change the name. For the font industry? I doubt it, you would need to convince either thousands of individual font designers, their estates and hundreds of companies to make the change. You would need to change hundreds of books on typography, and convince a thousand or so teachers, and millions of users. Possibly changing language in several European countries.

But i mean if you want to make this change then the the lowest bar to make this change, is convincing either US senate and congress or Adobe, Google, Apple and Microsoft to ban the name black in font weights.

  • banning black font seems like a great idea. let's do that. Just because something was normal back in 1957 doesn't allow it to make sense now. You're right no point doing anything about this. But cool answer thank you. Jul 21 at 0:23
  • well.... I think a more reasonable change would be to stop using "black" as a color designation in your HTML/CSS and start using #000000.
    – Scott
    Jul 21 at 0:25
  • @Scott - that is a seriously great point. I already do that. but I do believe that black is a color, or the lack of colour. in any case having a red green or blue coloured blackface would be confusing/ambiguous to the noob. But I agree with hexadecimal every day of the week. Jul 21 at 0:33

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