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WikiProject Typography (Rated B-class, High-importance)
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Cscr-former.svg Typeface is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
April 7, 2006 Featured article candidate Not promoted


If it isn't on this talk page it's in one of the archives.Talk:Typeface/archive1
Arbo talk 02:18, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Faux fonts[edit]

I think this statement is confused:

"Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese and Sanskrit are all readily available in faux fonts."

I think what the article is trying to say is that Latin fonts that imitate these scripts are readily available. One way to say it might be,

"Latin fonts that look like Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, or Sanskrit are widely available." 03:55, 7 January 2007 (UTC)Steve Wise


Last line of the article: "Most other western countries extend copyright protection to typeface designs. Ironically, this means that typefaces designed in a Berne Convention signatory country will be protected in the United States." I may be missing something here, but how is that ironic? Foxmulder 03:18, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

looks to me as though it's ironic because in the us the typeface itself is not subject to copyright, (though the pixle points that form the outline are), but if a typeface is designed in a country where they uphold Berne Convention rules, that typeface is then subject to copyright in the U.S.
So the irony is that a typeface cannot be copyright(ed) in the U.S., but other countrys (c) will be upheld in the U.S.
This is new to me, so this is purely my take on the text. I suppose this could be clairified for a non-legal reader...
Crocadillion 13:27, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
It's not ironic, it's incorrect. I've updated it.
Terry Carroll 01:53, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! that's great... I'm not an attorney, nor do I have much flair for legal research, so I was just hoping to clarify what was written before on this talk page. What you've written seems much more logical than the previous version. Crocadillion 12:29, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm afraid that I know far more about U.S. copyright law as applied to typeface than any normal human being should. I wrote a law review article[1] on the subject ages ago, when I was still a law student.
Terry Carroll 20:46, 3 May 2007 (UTC)


This section makes good points but it's not very good to illustrate the two varieties with the words "Proportional" and "Monospace". Much better to use the same word; I'd suggest "proportional". Why? The letters in "monospace" are all the same width, whether in proportional or monospace fonts. The illustration should have a number of letters which are narrow in proportional fonts. Then, the two versions (proportional and monospace) would better illustrate the differences between the two. Interlingua talk email 02:14, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

If one was to not use both of the words in the demo, I would suggest going with an entirely different word, one which would really show the difference between monospace and proportional, like the word "little" as the narrow characters will definately show the difference in letterspacing without a shadow of a doubt. Crocadillion 13:40, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Using 'proportional' and 'monospace' unfortunately does not emphasize the difference. I checked 'quick brown fox' in arial and courier new and this provides a far larger difference between the two than using the example words shown. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 03:46, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Please clarify jargon; Font/Typeface/Font Family[edit]

I have a good familiarity with the concepts for a layman, but the definitions are difficult to figure out:

If I want to discuss Helvetica, including all point sizes, bold, italic, etc., what am I discussing? It does not seem to fit any of the terms:

  • Typeface: "... a visual appearance or style not immediately reducible to any one foundry's production or proprietary control."
  • Font: "... 8-point Caslon is one font, and 10-point Caslon is another."
  • Font Family: "Times is a font family, whereas Times Roman, Times Italic and Times Bold are individual fonts making up the Times family." (That doesn't match the definition of font, above). 21:30, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Helvetica is a typeface. There are numerous fonts of Helvetica, such as 18-pt Helvetica 55, 36-pt Helvetica 95, etc. When referring to a number of different fonts, or the body of variations within the face, this is the font family. Typeface and family are similar concepts, however the face refers to the overall general style, while the family usually is referring to the multiple variations within the face (italics, bold, semibold, etc). It is a little confusing. In common parlance, 'font' means the same thing as typeface, or refers to a specific digital file on your computer (which may or may not include italics/bold variations, and usually contains multiple pt sizes). Hope this helps.-Andrew c 21:47, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Andrew. A few points:
  1. What I forgot to say was, if I don't understand it -- and I know a good amount about the subject for a layperson -- then it seems unlikely that novice readers will understand it, so some revision might help.
  2. When you say "Helvetica is a typeface", doesn't that contradict the article which defines it as, "a visual appearance or style not immediately reducible to any one foundry's production or proprietary control." AFAIK, Helvetica (and if not Helvetica, then many other typefaces) is subject to one foundry's control. Perhaps the article needs revision?
  3. To clarify: Font family is a superset of typeface, which is a superset of fonts?
  4. Proposed for the article (but someone with expertise needs to vet it):
For example, when someone says they are using Helvetica 14 point, and Helvetica Italic 14 point, then,
  • The font family is Helvetica.
  • The typefaces are Helvetica and Helvetica Italic.
  • The fonts are Helvetica 14 point, and Helvetica Italic 14 point. 03:22, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
In response to User's statement of "typefaces", yes, a typeface is Helvetica. However, Helvetica Italic is a typestyle. 21:12, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I follow most, but not all, of CApitol3's statement below. However, if CApitol3 could write some text for the article, I think it would solve the problem. 18:09, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

To me, the comments in by SirPavlova seem like the ones that were verified by other comments later on the page. He defines them by example:

  • Typeface family: Georgia
  • Typeface: Georgia Italic
  • Font: georgiai.ttf

HTH TimNelson (talk) 03:43, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

The above definitions are neither correct nor common usage. Nobody uses the term "typeface family"; "type family" would be correct. "Typeface" is roughly a synonym for "type family." In current usage, "font" does not include point size. I actually did a survey on this subject a year ago, including both expert and non-expert users [2] [3] Thomas Phinney (talk) 22:07, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

The opening of this article has at some point become a mess. The second and third sentences of the opening paragraph are simply incorrect, as they are definitions of "font" rather than "typeface." They are in direct contradiction of the section of the article under "terminology" as well. I am committing some appropriate major revision of these two sentences. Thomas Phinney (talk) 19:47, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Moving target of terminology[edit]

Some of the terms being discussed/used are so new, they do not show up in even contemporary books on type. In a very noble manner Wikipedia encourages editors to write toward the average person not the doctorate student. That said, in the area of type what often comes on board is a subset of language that comes largely from the world of the PC, Microsoft products, and those who develop them. Example "superset" does not show up in the very accessible Thinking with Type, by Ellen Lupton, Lewis Blackwell's 20th-Century Type, or Robin Dodd's From Gutenberg to Open Type. All either published in the last 2 years, or a new edition published in the last 2 years. Unfortunately attempts to gently push the naming conventions toward their historic typographic roots, and bring them closer to those terms typeface designers use, are frequently perceived as elitism (or arcane) rather than an opportunity.

To put this in some perspective, type has been around since 1450, digital type since about 1978, and fonts accessible in every office and many homes since about 1990. While I don't expect we should expect contemporary people to stop using the word font and start using the word typeface taking some of terminology from the type profession could make Wikipedia type-related more definitive, and in line what is taught in basic typography courses in North America, Europe, and the rest of the world using our alphabet.

I teach typography to graphic design and fine arts students. The curriculum in type 1 is basic, and pretty similar school to school. Typeface and font are today used interchangeably. But the roots of font are as a full character set in a single point size for a single weight of a single typeface. The example immediately above is perfect. A typeface is legally pretty much a name for a particular design. The design, like Garamond, Helvetica, or Didot may have several, or many versions. Example, Garamond: Adobe Garamond, Garamond 3, Simoncini Garamond, ITC Garamond, or Stempel Garamond. A font family or typeface family is a group of related types with variations within. Like human families, some are quite large (Univers, Helvetica Neue, or Thesis) or fairly small (Bulmer). The larger families may include multiple widths, condensed through extended, and multiple weights, all possibly in roman and italic. Some typeface families like FF Scala or Rotis have related variations that are serif, sans-serif and a mix of both. CApitol3 12:37, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Please explain realist vs. humanist[edit]

Several articles about individual typefaces describe their subjects as "realist" (e.g. Akzidenz Grotesk) or "humanist" (e.g. Gill Sans), without explaining what these terms mean. It would be helpful if the difference was explained someplace, and this article seems like the best place. Our disambiguation page Humanist does include a brief explanation - "in typography, a group of sans-serif typefaces with some calligraphic features, such as Humana, Optima, Frutiger, Johnston, Gill Sans, and the like" - but more background would be great. Thanks, FreplySpang 15:21, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps the articles need links to VOX-ATypI classification? --Hebisddave 16:22, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Definitely! FreplySpang 20:39, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

distinguishing by legal status[edit]

I removed the portion in the intro that distinguishes between a font and typeface based on their respective legal protections. It's inaccurate in a couple ways.

First, the level of protection varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Many European countries, for example, afford copyright protection to typefaces. Second, even within the US, typefaces may be protected by design patent. Terry Carroll 14:44, 20 June 2007 (UTC)


Do you think that information on 'Pitch' should be included in the subsection 'Proportion' or as a separate sub-section of 'Typeface anatomy'? (ext link for a glossary reference, though not one I would include in an article)

I bring this up in relation to Characters Per Inch having been nominated for deletion via WP:PROD. If information in that article could be incorporated into here, the article could be merged here and removed from the PROD-deletion workstream. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 03:55, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

i would like to see pixel/screen fonts referenced under the types of typefaces. also think that the expression types of typefaces somewhat redundant. Why not "categories of typefaces". wont do the edits myself for i do not consider myself knoweledgeable enough to do so. nor have the time to become.

cheers! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 6 October 2007 (UTC)


Why is there no mention of Greek and Cyrillic typefaces? The variety can be seen at [4] and [5] but there's no discussion in the article. EamonnPKeane 19:58, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, other families, such as Heisei Mincho (an East-Asian font) are not discussed. Really, their discussion of typefaces is not so much about the letters displayed, but the shapes they assume graphically. Special font families are developed for foreign languages, but they often include other alphabets as well, such as Heisei Mincho, a font that can display Japanese, Chinese, and English alphabets. Also, some Unicode-compliant fonts, such as Times New Roman, include Cyrillic, Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew symbols. Thereby making language a subset of family, not vice-versa. —Preceding unsigned comment added by BANZ111 (talkcontribs) 06:36, 18 October 2007 (UTC) Oh yes, forgot to sign. At least the bot caught it. BANZ111 06:42, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Break off Monospaced[edit]

Because of the use of monospaced typefaces in computer applications, it should indeed be discussed in full within its own article, especially since equal credence is given to serif and sans-serif faces. BANZ111 06:41, 18 October 2007 (UTC)


Does anyone know what Wikipedia’s font is? Luke 18:28, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

It's Hoefler Text. See meta:Logo.-Andrew c [talk] 18:46, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that's the logo's font, but does anyone know what the font is for the body text in articles? Voyaging (talk) 00:57, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
If you are using the default stylesheet, monobook, then the text is set to render as "san-serif", which means the default san-serif text on your computer/browser. On my set up, Arial is the typeface that is rendered. I can't be certain what you are seeing on your machine (especially if you are no using Windows XP/Firefox, if you have have changed your user stylesheet). Hope this helps. If you don't think it's Arial, then you could post a screenshot of the text to perhaps the computing reference desk (WP:RD). Hope this helps. -Andrew c [talk] 14:42, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
[6] I think that's Arial. Thanks. C Teng [talk] 19:29, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Has the font been changed lately? I really liked the old font. Now its the same font (Arial?) as in de.wikipedia :( I did not change my en.wikipedia options lately. --demus wiesbaden (talk) 00:56, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

No, No, No![edit]

Every time a typeface is referred to as a font, it smacks of ignorance. Font sizes are only relevant to machines. Typefaces existed long before machines. Therefore, a font is a typeface; not the other way around! Oicumayberight (talk) 03:27, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Definitely right! — Tirk· “…” 08:39, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
True enough. It's as well that we make the proper distinction now, but I suspect that in a few years the distinction will be more archaic than proper. Rivertorch (talk) 16:48, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
They predicted that we'd all be completely paperless by now too. Fonts are to typefaces, what vehicles are to passengers. When electronic display becomes the only method of delivering information, then perhaps the distinction will be irrelevant. Oicumayberight (talk) 16:27, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
If you consider how most people define the word "font", it's possible to have typefaces without fonts, but not fonts without typefaces. If the distinction ever becomes irrelevant, then "fonts" should be considered archaic. Oicumayberight (talk) 17:13, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
The term would only become archaic if it fell into disuse. -- Gordon Ecker (talk) 07:59, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Antiqua, Blackletter, Gaelic and the Typography terms Template[edit]

There is some discussion going on at that the Talk page for that template regarding the classification of typefaces and the place of Gaelic in the paradigm. Please note that I have also added a short Gaelic script section to the article here. -- Evertype· 18:04, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I too have asked for more opinions at that discussion. Can we please not add more controversial content to articles without consensus. I think you are editing in bad faith when you re-insert disputed content to that template. You must have consensus for your changes, and edit warring isn't going to get you anywhere. You can't force your preferred version though constant reverts. The long standing version takes precedent over new content. Please consider removing your link from the template until there is consensus to add it there, and pretty please don't start expanding these disputed edits to other articles, until there is community consensus for your changes. Your last edit here at this article is extremely problematic because you are citing yourself, from your own webpage. Self-published sources simply are not reliable under basic wikipedia policy, and it is frowned upon to cite yourself, and put your own views in articles due to conflicts of interest (and original research). -Andrew c [talk] 22:42, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
In my view you oughtn't have reverted the template whilst discussion was ongoing. That seemed to me to be bad faith. Perhaps my view was in error, but it was my view. Perhaps we might attempt to assume good faith, OK? Regarding "conflict of interest", well, expertise is expertise and in this matter (forgive me) I happen to be an expert for a long time, and the Wikipedia policy is to try not to drive away experts. That notwithstanding, I did make specific arguments regarding the citation of other experts (Lynam and McGuinne)—so I dispute your accusation of Original Research. I dispute your assertion that "basic wikipedia policy" distrusts every self-published source. There is no ban on citations based on web pages, and in point of fact many articles (for instance proposal documents for encoding scripts in the UCS) which I have written are cited on the Wikipedia. Nobody's disputed those for years. If you consider me an unreliable source (per your reference to WP:RS), could you suggest why I should be considered to be unreliable? You suggested that the section I propose below was a conflict of interest and referred to WP:COI; could you explain why you consider that text to be "incompatible between the aim of Wikipedia, which is to produce a neutral, reliably sourced encyclopedia, and the aims of an individual editor"? Am I "benefitting" somehow to the detriment of the Wikipedia? All I did was observe that the classification of typefaces made no reference to Gaelic types. Now, Gaelic types exist, as do Blackletter types and Antiqua types. All types can be classified, since human beings can describe and classify things. Lynam and McGuinne quite clearly classed Gaelic types to be different from Antiqua, and wrote specialist monographs on the subject. I have written (8 years ago!) some material regarding the specific subclassification of Gaelic fonts. Is there something wrong with that material—apart from it not being found in a "general" book on typography? Is there something about the subclassification that is not neutral? Or verifiable? (I mean, I say that an angular font has the inverted-v type "a", and a round font has the script type "a" but all it takes is a look to verify that.)
It's good that we have both asked for opinions and discussion. -- Evertype· 15:56, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Proposed new section, Gaelic typefaces[edit]

I propose to add the following text to this article:

Gaelic typefaces[edit]

Main article: Gaelic script

Gaelic fonts were first used for the Irish language in 1571; their use was effectively confined to Ireland, though Gaelic typefaces were designed and produced in France, Belgium, and Italy. Gaelic typefaces make use of insular letterforms, and early fonts made use of a variety of abbreviations deriving from the manuscript tradition. Early fonts used for the Anglo-Saxon language, also using insular letterforms, can be classified as Gaelic typefaces, distinct from Roman or Antiqua typefaces.(Reference to Lynam and McGuinne here) Various forms exist including manuscript, traditional, and modern styles, with angular, round, uncial, monowidth, sans-serif, and grotesque features.(Reference to History and classification of Gaelic typefaces, 2000-06-19 here).

OK, now, I don't see anything controversial in this small paragraph, and no one has complained about it. May we add it back to the article? -- Evertype· 21:06, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I think the first sentence should be a little more direct/definitional. Something like "Gaelic fonts refer to the Irish language typefaces created between the 16th and 20th centuries whose forms are derivative of the insular and half-uncial Irish manuscript tradition...." Hmmm.. that sounds a little jargony, but hopefully you see what I'm getting at. Also, I'm curious about the Anglo-Saxon=Gaelic part (does McGuinne discuss that?). Saying both sans-serif and grotesque is a little redundant (also round and uncial). Other than these minor concerns, I see no further problem with adding this section. -Andrew c [talk] 22:08, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I made some edits taking this into account. By the way I talked to McGuinne the other night. -- Evertype· 23:40, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Neat (re:McGuinne). Sounds like a fascinating encounter. Anyway, do you have a page number for a source regarding Anglo-Saxon typefaces being considered Gaelic type? It seems odd to me, so I'm curious to read the context for myself. Also, since your new version mentions Roman/Antiqua, perhaps we should mention that Irish also used type in those styles, and that it is now the dominant style? I don't want it sounding like Irish could only be written in the Gaelic style.-Andrew c [talk] 03:18, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I am sure Irish orthography handles the latter. The Saxon faces have insular letterforms (long r, long s, t, etc) and pre-dated the Gaelic typefaces somewhat as I recall. You can see some on the Caslon poster (top of the main article here), bottom of the third column. McGuinne refers to arguments as to whether the Queen Elizabeth type was based on a Saxon one or devised afresh. -- Evertype· 09:56, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
But we need a source that categorizes these Saxon types as "Gaelic". I recall reading in McGuinne bits and pieces, but nothing that would support the claim we have in this article, so I was hoping you had a specific page in mind that I missed.-Andrew c [talk] 15:38, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Why? Would you propose to classify them in some other way? Did you look at the Caslon image? And can I ask you another question? My font Everson Mono is described as "a monospaced transitional sans serif". Is that all right with you? Are you asking for a source for that classification as well? And again, if McGuinne did not specifically state "the Saxon types fall into the category of Gaelic typefaces" it is because that level of classification was orthogonal to the purposes for which he was writing his book. I could drop everything and scour McGuinne to try to find something, but really, how else would one classify the Caslon font? It's hybrid insular, and that means Gaelic (i.e. it doesn't mean Blackletter and it doesn't mean Roman because neither of those use insular letterforms). That's not Original Research, either. It's looking and seeing. -- Evertype· 19:34, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Stencil fonts[edit]

I think stencil fonts deserve a mention somewhere, would they be a display type or how would they be classified? Dmcq (talk) 11:34, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps there could be section on special purpose fonts that satisfy some physical constraint. OCR is the only other one I can think of besides stencil beut there's probably others. Dmcq (talk) 11:39, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Most stencil fonts are simply in the style of "real" physical stencil fonts; they were created for use as digital fonts and their "stencil" nature is purely decorative. For example: Nyx, Conga Brava Stencil. I don't regard stencil fonts as of sufficient notability to be in the main "typeface" article. Thomas Phinney (talk) 06:07, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Fuller fonts, please[edit]

Is it too much to ask that articles on individual typefaces have as complete an example of the font as possible. At least upper and lower case alphabet, then perhaps italics too, then more if possible. If I am reading about the characteristics of Windsor Rs, for example, I'd like to see the R in front of me, not have to click to a link and make the discussion of characteristics disappear. If they are copyrighted I could understand. I am sure there is a position on fair use. Tsinfandel (talk) 13:01, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Not sure, but I think the main problem with your suggestion might be that it would either make the image too large to fit comfortably in the infobox or else make each glyph too small to show adequate detail onscreen. When it comes to (whispering and crossing fingers) copyright and fair use, WP policy is regrettably strict. Suggest opening relevant page in second window alongside the WP article. It should be possible to add an additional image illustrating a specific characteristic, such as Windsor Rs, that's discussed in the text. I'd be willing to give that a go, anyway. Rivertorch (talk) 17:14, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Or at least show characters that have the signature features of the font, especially if they are discussed in the article. A few characters, not even spelling words, that can't not be fair use. Tsinfandel (talk) 13:28, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, there's shouldn't and then there's can't. (My limited experience in this area has led me to believe that the two often fail to coincide in this little corner of the Web.) Anyway, are you proposing to create and upload some new images? If this needs to be done for various articles, it might be well to begin by identifying the typefaces that merit such attention. Rivertorch (talk) 20:10, 23 October 2009 (UTC)


In the sentence "When specified in typographic sizes (points, kyus), the height of an em-square, an invisible box which is typically a bit larger than the distance from the tallest ascender to the lowest descender, is scaled to equal the specified size." there is a mention of em-square. Does this refer to em? Or em-quad? Both perhaps? I think this wording could be better since it's quite incomprehensible to laymen - as me. --Best regards, Biblbroks (talk) 19:16, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

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