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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Project 6: Blog and Paste-up Book

Before making the book, we did some exercise on the layout of texts-tracking, kerning, typeface, size.

After that, I decide to use Helvetica for my book.

Title of Table of Content:
Chapter titles on table page:
Content title:
Glossary title:
Colophon title:
Footer page numbers:
Table page numbers:
Web links:
Glossary page number:


This project is to build a A5 hand-assembled book about type 1. We need to collect images and articles from  our blog entries, notes, critiques, discussions during this term and rearrange them in order. All the images and texts need to organize into a recognizable structure.


A5 is one of the paper size with the international standard. They are different from what we use in America, the north American paper sizes. This image from Wikipedia is a size chart ullustrating the ISO A series and a comparison with American letter and legal formats.

Paper size from Wikipedia:

North American paper sizes
Size in × in mm × mm Similar Canadian P size
Letter 8.5 × 11 215.9 × 279.4 P4: 215 × 280
Government-Letter 8.0 × 10.5 203.2 × 266.7
Legal 8.5 × 14 215.9 × 355.6
Junior Legal 8.0 × 5.0 203.2 × 127
Ledger[9] 17 × 11 432 × 279
Tabloid 11 × 17 279 × 432
ISO paper sizes (plus rounded inch values)
Format A series[2] B series[3] C series[4]
Size mm × mm in × in mm × mm in × in mm × mm in × in
0 841 × 1189 33.11 × 46.81 1000 × 1414 39.37 × 55.67 917 × 1297 36.10 × 51.06
1 594 × 841 23.39 × 33.11 707 × 1000 27.83 × 39.37 648 × 917 25.51 × 36.10
2 420 × 594 16.54 × 23.39 500 × 707 19.69 × 27.83 458 × 648 18.03 × 25.51
3 297 × 420 11.69 × 16.54 353 × 500 13.90 × 19.69 324 × 458 12.76 × 18.03
4 210 × 297 8.27 × 11.69 250 × 353 9.84 × 13.90 229 × 324 9.02 × 12.76
5 148 × 210 5.83 × 8.27 176 × 250 6.93 × 9.84 162 × 229 6.38 × 9.02
6 105 × 148 4.13 × 5.83 125 × 176 4.92 × 6.93 114 × 162 4.49 × 6.38
7 74 × 105 2.91 × 4.13 88 × 125 3.46 × 4.92 81 × 114 3.19 × 4.49
8 52 × 74 2.05 × 2.91 62 × 88 2.44 × 3.46 57 × 81 2.24 × 3.19
9 37 × 52 1.46 × 2.05 44 × 62 1.73 × 2.44 40 × 57 1.57 × 2.24
10 26 × 37 1.02 × 1.46 31 × 44 1.22 × 1.73 28 × 40 1.10 × 1.57

In order to create a portrait A5 book, we need to set up the Indesign document A5*2 so that we can fold it into A5.

To do that, first create a portrait A5 document, draw a outline of the A5 rectangle, draw the rectangle mergin, then go to document setup and change the document size to 11*17. We have the two rectangles of the one A5 page. Copy and paste them and lay them side by side, center them on the tabloid page.

Before we put our hands on the actual layout, we make a Dummy which is a rough demo of the page set up-because we will need to stack the pages up and fold them into A5, the pages numbers on each individual side of paper may not be in order(1,2,3,4,5…)

so after the Dummy demo, I know the page number will be:

paper 1:

side 1: left-page 15        right-table of content(no page number)

side 2: left-page 1          right- page 14

paper 2:

side 1: left-page 13        right- page 2

side 2: left- page 3        right-page 12


side 1: left- page 11        right- page 4

side 2: left- page 5         right- page 10

paper 4

side 1: left- page 9          right- page 6

side 2: left- page 7          right- page 8


Body pages:

I plan to have the first page-a short welcome paragraph to the book, table of contents, the last page- glossary and colophon. Rest of the pages will be content organized into 5 chapters.



Layout of the book would be divided into three columns. Means the width of the image, paragraph, titles need to fit into

3* one fixed width column,31

2*fixed width columns+1*fixed width column,21

or 1*3 fixed width column. 3



I actually roughly layout the page content in Indesign in a appropriate order, 1,2,3,4,5…15, so I can make sure that my contents are in order. Then I print my images and text and cut into single images and text sections.

I use rubber cement to glue the sections on pages. and paste them on the dummy number order, but at the stage, we only paste one side of the paper. Besides try to make the layouts interesting, one other reason that I choose some pages layout in 2-1columns or 1unique column is considertion on the iamge size and length of the text. If the image cannot be seen clearly in a 3column pages, I enlarge it to a 2-1 column page and change; same as text layout.

Before photocopy, I use a eraser which is made specific for cleaning rubber cement or some other dried glue to clean up the dried rubber cement that run over the pasted papers.

After that, I photocopy the pasting pages doulbe sided in the dummy double sided page number order so we have the pages ready to imposed the book pages using saddle-stitch.

Then I cut out the 2*A5 pages from the 11*17 pages and fold them from the center so I have 4 portrait A5 pages. Stack them in order. Also I cut a gray paper and a black paper to make the cover and cut them in size. Use the fancy stapler them together. The final stage is to make sure that all sides are clearly even.

16 Apr 2013

Johanna Bil’ak and Peter Bil’ak-Typotheque


Typotheque is a type foundry based in The Hague, the Netherlands, run by Johanna Bil’ak and Peter Bil’ak, developing and marketing original fonts for the Mac and PC. Their commitment is to continue in the tradition of independent type foundries, contributing their small part to the continuous sequence of type history, creating quality typefaces which reflect the time and serve its needs. Founder Peter Bil’ak has built a set of exclusive text and display faces, available in PostScript, TrueType and OpenType, in standard Latin and custom encoding sets. In addition to developing the retail library, Typotheque specializes in creating custom type solutions for a variety of applications and languages.

more info
their facebook:
2 Apr 2013

Sibylle Hagmann-Kontour

Sibylle Hagmann

Information about the typeface designer Sibylle Hagmann and her fonts.

Sibylle Hagmann began her career in Switzerland after earning a B.F.A. from the Basel School of Design in 1989. She explored her passion for typography and type design while completing her M.F.A. at the California Institute of the Arts in 1996. Before relocating to Houston in 2000 she was the director of graphic design and publications for the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and taught at several southern Californian schools.

In 1999 she completed the typeface family Cholla originally commissioned by Art Center College of Design and released by the digital type foundry Emigre in the same year. Cholla was among the winning entries of bukva:raz!, the type design competition of the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) in 2001. The typeface family Odile was released in 2006 and was awarded the Swiss Federal Design Award in the same year.

Her work has been featured in several publications and recognized by the Type Directors Club of New York. She has presented her work nationally and internationally including the 2003 and 2006 TypeCon typography conferences and at Just The Type, an international type design conference at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2001.

Hagmann founded her Houston based design studio Kontour in 2000. She works for clients such as the CORE Program, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Dallas Museum of Art, and the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, among others. She teaches at the University of Houston in the graphic communication program.

[Sibylle Hagmann, April 2007]


Fonts designed by Sibylle Hagmann:

Axia Axia Black Axia Bold Axia Light Axia Stencil Black Axia Stencil Light Cholla Sans Cholla Sans Old Style Cholla Slab Cholla Slab Old Style Cholla Slab Ultra Bold Cholla Slab Ultra Bold Old Style Cholla Unicase Cholla Wide Cholla Wide Old Style Cholla Wide Ultra Bold Cholla Wide Ultra Bold Old Style Elido Elido Black Elido Deco Initials Elido Initials Elido Light Elido Ornaments Elido Upright Italic Odile Odile Black Odile Bold Odile Deco Initials Odile Initials Odile Light Odile Ornaments Odile Upright Italic

Kontour Type
Kontour Type publishes high quality original typefaces for professional use designed by the foundry’s owner Sibylle Hagmann. Her special interest lays in typography and its microcosm of individual letterforms and glyph systems. Most type design projects are developed independently of commissions and sometimes find … Read more »their way into client driven collaborations. In 1999 Sibylle Hagmann completed the typeface family Cholla originally commissioned by Art Center College of Design and released by the type foundry Emigre in the same year. Cholla was among the winning entries of bukva:raz!, the type design competition of the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) in 2001. The typeface family Odile was released in 2006 and awarded the Swiss Federal Design Award in the same year.
source and more Kontour type:
2 Apr 2013

Andrea Tinnes – Typecuts

About typecuts
typecuts is an independent font and graphic label, dedicated to create and produce original contemporary fonts for retail and custom use.
typecuts was founded in 2004 by Andrea Tinnes to publish and promote her own fonts which are available from this website as well as from primetype.
With its few font families the typecuts fontlibrary offers a wide range of typographic forms: from text faces over graphic fonts to dingbat illustrations. Following Jeffery Keedy’s paradigm keep the inconsistencies consistent typecuts typefaces seek to explore the relation between clear geometric construction and playful decorative form while considering historical contexts as well as contemporary tendencies in typedesign.

About Andrea Tinnes
Andrea Tinnes is a type and graphic designer as well as educator based in Berlin. Her design practice is focused on client-based as well as self-initiated projects. Through her own label, typecuts, she publishes as well as promotes all her type designs.
Since 2007 Andrea has been working as professor of type and typography at Burg Giebichenstein, University of Art and Design, in Halle/Germany. Between 2003 and 2008 she taught typography and type design at Bergen National Academy of the Arts/Norway.
Her work has been featured in several publications, such as Area_2, Graphic Design for the 21st Century, etapes: and EYE and in several exhibitions including the 22annual 100Show, the TDC53 exhibition and Chaumont 2007. She holds awards from the American Center for Design, red dot (2001/2002) as well as a Certificate of Typographic Excellence (TDC53 2007).
She has a degree in communication design from the University of Applied Sciences Mainz and an MFA in graphic design from the California Institute of the Arts.

Source and for more info. go to


31 Mar 2013

The Crystal Goblet by Beatrice Warde

white_wine_rose_wine_red_wine-1920x1200Beatrice Warde mentions in this article, “the first thing he ask asked of this particular object(glass) was not ‘How should it look?’ but’ What must it do?”  It’s true that a vessel’s basic function is just to hold things. Of course no matter what is it made of, glass, metal, clay or plastic would do the job. However, why “the man who first chose glass instead of clay or metal to hold his wine was a ‘modernist”? Now we use glass to hold wine, because while drinking wine, people do want to feel the content instead of just swallowing into stomach and digest and… Pouring a wine into a container just for breathing and it’s an important step of wine tasting. So to view the color, to breath the smell, to feel the temperature, we need a vessel that is able to convey the idea of drinking wine. Same as type, ” it must convey specific and coherent thoughts, ideas, and images”, Warde writes. The most important thing about print is to convey ideas or images from one mind to another. Most types(as vessels) are “legible”(“holdable”) because we recognize those alphabet and words(wine). But while people are reading(drinking), they are reading(drinking) the words(wine) and the meaning(taste) of the sentences(wine). Again a type(glass) is to help to convey the content. Although the content is the only valuable point, without type(glass)’s help, the word(wine) may not really mean anything to those who does not into reading or wine.

31 Mar 2013

Project 5: Kerned Interventions.





Group 2 Members: Sara, Rebecca, Liz, Dylan, Yan.


This project is to compose a Haiku about Typography and physically install it.

I learned different styles of Chinese poem, the meaning of each character and the rhyme of the entire poem have to be considered. The number of the Chinese Characters are axact demandedPoems are usually short and compressed. I was not sure about what a Haiku was, so I had to do some research before I can actually get start this project…

here is what I got,

Haiku is a major form of Japanese verse written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5,7,5 syllables and employing highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one of the seasons.


instead of counting number of the words, we need to count the syllables. so here is what I get,(”faith” rhymes with “words”, “dance”; the first sentence type-out-your-great-faith has similar pronounciation with “typography”)


The next step is to count the numbers of each letter that we have in our Haiku.

Photo Mar 30, 2 06 43 AM

then we need to decide our font.

because the haiku need to be presented in small caps letter, we look up fonts end with “pro”, which are the typefaces have small caps available.

Adobe Jenson Pro -old style typeface.

One of the reasons we chose jenson as our font is this old style typeface has a feeling of hand writing, but as the same time, it’s sort of standard. And we decide to use the font style-regular, so our haiku will be more legible than “style-light” on wall, while is not as heavy as “bold”(because of the word “dance”, we want our haiku to be more light and graceful.)

I create a new 18*24 document in illustrator, and type out letters in our haiku. Type out only one per letter, for example, we have 10 “T”s, but I type out only 1 “T”. Then I turn all the letter I have to outline form so that I can easily scale them up or down. One thing I need to remember is to scale all the letters, otherwise we will end up with different sizes of letters because the letters are not as text right, they are outlines, so we can not easily tell the size of the outline as we can find out the size of text.

After I scale all the letters to approximately1 foot height, I ungroup them into individual letter outline forms. Then I copy and paste the letter as I put as many letter as possible onto one single page. (need to leave 1/2 in space around the page to allow laser cutting machine to work on). I mark down the number of letters I put on the page as this.Photo Mar 30, 2 40 13 AM

Yes as shown on the number marking papers, I happened to redo the scaling and arrangement 6,7 times…

Because when I set the letters as 1 ft height, we have 16 pages total… (I wish we knew it actually does not cost as much as we thought…)

so I scale them down to 10in, 9in, 8in, and becuase I mess up the numbers, I redo it couple times… This process nearly drives me nuts…

anyway, we end up with having the 8 inches height letters on 10 separate files( one page per file). And we send the ai files to techshop…finally.


We brough 10 pieces of cardboards and cut the two wings of each board save for later to make 1-inch squares to stack on the back of our letters.

Photo Mar 30, 3 08 59 AM4-300x225

Yes in order to save some money, we cut the board to the right size 18*24 before take them to the techshop.

During the weekend before we can pick up the letters, we decide to get some spray paint and clear coating and some tape for the installation.

went to homedepot and lowes and michaels to get all the materials.

Monday I went to techshop to pick up the letters. I was worried about the price because I knew we have 3-4 more boards than the other groups because our haiku is longer(maybe 10 letters more than the other groups’). Then I became to love the techshop because we only pay $65 total for this laser cutting. Ha! Happy!

Start to glue the little squares on the back of the letters. We glue 3 pieces squares into one and glue them on the back of the letters.

While they do the gluing, we start to spray the clear coat. Two hour later, first layer vanilla-an hour later second layer metallic pearl…

1-300x225 2-300x225 3-300x225  5-300x225

DSC05203 DSC05202 DSC05201 DSC05200 DSC05199 DSC05198 DSC05197(Here I want to thank my friend mamie who took these pics.)

We finally pick the green wall on third floor which is faced to the elevator and decide to use the wood base of the wall to be our baseline of the third sentence.

Photo Mar 30, 3 47 39 AM(decide to use centered layout to balance the wall)

Find the hori-center line of the wall. Put the center letters of the sentence H and P. Put on the other letters. Need to run back and forth to see the letter space in far and do the kerning. A little adjustment makes huge difference!

After finish the third sentence. we measure the height of the white bar on the left of the wall. may be we can use the white bar as frame. Divide all three sentences equally-7”  leading space between each line.

measure 7” from the cap heigh of the last sentence, tape a string from left to right so we have a straigh baseline for the sentence. repeat the running and kerning process on the third sentence. repeat the measuring, taping, running and kerning process on the second sentence. DSC052014


DSC05206Adjusting and kerning the entire Haiku, Got our finish product. And thank our group members.

During the installation, I was super excited to find out the wall is actually facing the dance department!

21 Mar 2013

Typographic Terminologies (updating…)


There are four basic typographic alignments:

  • flush left—the text is aligned along the left margin or gutter, also known as left-aligned or ragged right;
  • flush right—the text is aligned along the right margin or gutter, also known as right-aligned or ragged left;
  • justified—text is aligned along the left margin, and letter- and word-spacing is adjusted so that the text falls flush with both margins, also known as fully justified or full justification;
  • centered—text is aligned to neither the left nor right margin; there is an even gap on each side of each line.

Note that alignment does not change the direction in which text is read; however text direction may determine the most commonly used alignment for that script.


-image from



The symbol for “and” (&) that is a monogrammatic.

Recommonded links

ampersand samples:


history of ampersand:



The part of a lowercase letter that rises above the main body of the letter (as in b, d, h).

The part that extends above the x-height of a font.



Ascender line

The imaginary horizontal line that represents the uppermost point of an ascender.

A line marking the topmost point of the cap line.



A font’s maximum distance above the baseline.




The imaginary line upon which text rests. Descenders extend below the baseline. Also known as the “reading line.” The line along which the bases of all capital letters (and most lowercase letters) are positioned.


Body text

Body text is the term for the text forming the main content of a book, magazine, web page or other printed matter.



Boldface is a type or print that has thick, heavy lines, used for emphasis, headings,etc.

It’s a typeface with thick heavy lines.



cap height




display font

drop cap


em, em space

em dash

en, en space

en dash



flush left

flush right

font family


hanging indent

italic vs oblique



leading (pronounced: ledding)




Points, Picas and Inches

  • A point is a very small unit of measurement used by those in the printing industry. Printers measure using a pica ruler and often talk of measurements in terms of picas and points, which are units that are part of the English measurement system. There are six picas in an inch. Each pica contains 12 points. That means that there are 72 points in an inch.

Read more: What Is a Font Point Size? |



A unit of measurement equal to one-sixth of an inch. There are 12 points to a pica. A typographic measurement that has survived the digital revolution. 12 points = 1 pica; 6 picas = 1 inch; 72 points = 1 inch.




A unit of measurement, often used to measure type size, equal to 0.013837 inch (approximately equal to 1/72″). The traditional point measurement was slightly more or less than 72 points to the inch (depending on the typesetting measurement system).



Point size

The height of the type body. A standard type measurement system was originally developed by the Parisian type founder Pierre Fournier le Jeune in 1737. In the days of metal type, the point size was the total number of points in the height of metal type, including the ascent and descent of the letters~ and the metal above and below the letters (ie., builtin leading).


image from





sans serif


set solid


tabular figures


typeface vs font

typeface family

typographic color



white space


tracking / word spacing


7 Mar 2013

Project 4: Constrained Systems.

This project is to design two typefaces that communicate connotations in consonance with the two assigned words by using modular system.

My words:

(noun) Expedition

(adjective) Graceful


First of all we need to understand the connotations of the words. So I looked up their definitions on the internet and find some images that are related to the words.

There are some definitions of expedition, images, and my brainstorm of the connotations of the worddefinitionwhat_is_an_expeditiontv_expeditionAfrica_03 IMG_0854 file-13415625599132 Annapurna_south_expedition8260896421_0a70aab253Mount_Everest_1980_winter_expedition

According to the research, my understanding of the word is a group of people go out to the environment with certain purpose, especially that of exploration, research, or war.

So it’s more about the environment. Although both travel and expedition have the meaning of starting from one point and move to somewhere else, expedition is more like to explore, with a particular purpose. Therefore, I think the environment of expedition may not necessary to be enjoyable.  People go to expedition may not for the purpose of enjoying the nature, but to explore, to discover something.

Words related to expedition in my mind are mountains, tents, group of people walking, harsh lines, height, ice, desert,travelling bag, weather, …

here is my brainstorm.tyewryreq

I continue to do some sketches based on my understanding of expedition

(because I was thinking about the edges and corners of the nature which could be one of the reason that make the procedure of expedition attractive to people, I decide to use square to be my unit shape for my sketches. Of course that does not mean people who go to expedition like to be in a harsh situation, but becuase of the uneasiness of the environment, the experience is different from travelling. Moreover, because expedition is a journey especially for exoloration, research or war, it may be with a seriousness target or has graveness scientific meaning. So I think squares could carry the idea of regulation better than circles.)

ghsfhsd gkj golh gtui



My second word- Graceful

online definitions:


graceful images

8654 14531 48646 135413 456846




ballet dance, flowers, cats, leaves, water, swans are graceful

we can also say  a movement is graceful

According to the research, graceful is characterized by beauty of movement, style, form.

it can be understand as beautiful, elegant

shape of a graceful object- curly, soft lines, simple, elongation, elegant

movement- slow, soft

although horses are often considered as wild animals, they are strong and run fast, the two images above showing grace of horses by having elongated forms, less harsh lines,




bjlkhl dhadha sdtgqeat


After I got my sketches for graceful, I decided to switch my unit shape to circle. I want to avoid edges or harsh line for graceful.

And for the word expedition, I will make glyphs smaller  so I can still use circles to creat edges.( one thing in my mine is that, although a square has 4 right engles which make it look stronger than a circle, when a square is placed in glyphs, the top of it is a flat side, while every point of a circle is a single point, which could create narrower peak while I make it small)



Modular system:

Modular-System-by-formkind modular-system-white

some examples of using modular system on type making

Wim Crouwel is one of the most significant type designer that we can look up for to get the idea of modular system.

    • wrywt w4tyeqa twqe Scan jpjkp; hoilji;p guioo guhol ghoihi fr6uyiu] fduryj efgsd 45465 454





  • A modular typeface based on 3D forms
  • ————————-
  • More examples at:
  • —————————————————

Another different between using square or circle

becuase a square fills up a square block perfectly, the thin grids are almost invisible, so using squares as units to create letterform can have solid black shape.

circle leaves empty space at four cornors of the grid blocks, therefore, we will not get solid black shape if we use circles as units. The empty space lights up the black into gray.




try in illustrator

I first create a stem of letter p, which I will be able to use in some other letters, such as d, t, i, n, E,


then I design the bowl of p, the part I would be able to use in letter d, e, n


So I keep the consistency of the element of the typeface, my first version of Expedition

154542541this is more about the harshness of the environment, yet it’s not necessary to be included in a process of expedition.

So I switch to plan B.

It’s more about the route on the way of the expedition. People doing expedition are starting from one point to another. In my mind, route of a expedition would not be straight, which means there will be turns, twist lines. But the destination will be reached. So in this version of expedition, strokes will eventually go to one particular point, where the triangle( the particular purpose)  is.




25liked the effect when I select all the layers and move a bit, the original place of the letters


5 Mar 2013

Some Favorite Typefaces

  • Futura®

  • Verdana®

  • Helvetica®

  • scripts

  • Script is a style of typefaces.
  • Script typefaces are based upon the varied and often fluid stroke created by handwriting. They are organized into highly regular formal types similar to cursive writing and looser, more casual scripts.
  • Formal scripts- A majority of formal scripts are based upon the letterforms of seventeenth and eighteenth century writing-masters like George Bickham, George Shelley and George Snell. The letters in their original form are generated by a quill or metal nib of a pen. Both are able to create fine and thick strokes. Typefaces based upon their style of writing appear late in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. Contemporary revivals of formal script faces can be seen in Kuenstler Script and Matthew Carter‘s typeface Snell Roundhand. These typefaces are frequently used for invitations and diplomas to effect an elevated and elegant feeling.
  •  Casual scripts- Casual scripts show a less formal, more active hand. The strokes may vary in width but often appear to have been created by wet brush rather than a pen nib. They appear in the early twentieth century and with the advent of photocomposition in the early-1950s their number rapidly increased. They were popularly used in advertising in Europe and North America into the 1970s. Examples of casual script types include Brush Script, Kaufmann and Mistral.



21 Feb 2013

Typeface and Font


In typography, a typeface (also known as font family) is a set of characters that share common design features. A single typeface is represented by a specific weight, style, condensation, width, slant, italicization, ornamentation, and designer or foundry, but not by size.



The design of a set of printed characters, such as Courier, Helvetica and Times Roman. The terms “typeface” and “font” are used interchangeably, but the typeface is the primary design, while the font is the particular implementation and variation of the typeface, such as bold or italics (or none; the normal, upright style).

A major difference between typefaces is whether there are tiny horizontal lines at the tops and bottoms of any straight lines. The age-old serif typeface is Times Roman while Helvetica is the traditional sans-serif typeface. Since the TrueType fonts have become so ubiquitous, Times New Roman and Arial have become widely used for serif and sans-serif fonts.




Assortment or set of type (alphanumeric characters used for printing), all of one coherent style. Before the advent of computers, fonts were expressed in cast metal that was used as a template for printing. Fonts are now stored as digitized images that can be scaled and otherwise modified for printing on electronic printers or digital phototypesetters. Fonts typically include the normal typeface (roman) as well as italic, bold, bold italic, and sometimes extra-bold versions.




Typeface vs Font

Nowadays, if you ask someone what a typeface is, you would probably get a blank stare. But if you ask anyone what a font is, you would likely get a fairly accurate answer. The advent of desktop publishing and the many word processors has raised the recognition level of fonts far beyond that of typeface. In truth, a font is basically just a small subset of a typeface. A typeface is basically a single design that is uniformly implemented across all printable characters like letters, numbers, punctuation, and even symbols that can be used. Variants of a typeface are referred to as fonts.

This concept is more easily understood by means of an example. Arial, which many of us recognize as a very popular font, is actually a typeface. Variants of Arial, like Arial Bold, Arial Narrow, Arial Italic, are the fonts. You see, you still have the basic design of Arial but modified to be slightly different from the typical appearance of Arial.

In the old days, a font is supposed to also be of a fixed point size. So Arial Bold size 12 is supposed to be a different font from Arial Bold size 14. This was very important when printing involved discrete metal blocks of each character in order to prevent mix-ups and ensuring that the print uses a uniform font design and size. But with computers, size is largely arbitrary as you can easily scale the size of each character into the size that you need. The point size of characters is now irrelevant to the font in use.

If you want to be very accurate, a correct example of a font would be Arial Bold 12. While not very accurate, Arial Bold is still fairly acceptable as a font. Arial, on the other hand, is not a font but a typeface.



The distinction between a font and a typeface is no longer very clear in the minds of ordinary people. Although the differences would still be there, the use and intended purpose would no longer be applicable to modern users. In the end, the differences between a font and a typeface would end up only as an academic topic.


1.A font is just a subset of typeface.
2.A font is the designation used for specific members of a typeface family.
3.A font is supposed to be of a specific size while a typeface doesn’t have to be.


21 Feb 2013