Category talk:Typefaces

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Should typefaces go in parent category?[edit]

I've been adding typefaces to both Category:Typefaces and the relevant sub-category with typeface articles I've created or modified. My thinking is that it's nice to have a list on one page of every typeface with an article on Wikipedia, and that most people aren't really familiar enough with the sub-categories to know where to look for stuff. It is not policy that articles shouldn't be in both a parent and sub-category (but see Wikipedia:Categorization/Categories and subcategories).

I bring this up because the folks over at Comic Sans keep reverting it when Category:Typefaces is added. We should decide one way or the other—I think they should go in both, for the reasons above, but it's more important to me what we be consistent for all articles. Please weigh in here and after a while, I'll go with the general consensus. —Chowbok 23:57, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

All children nodes should be listed recursively, but if they fall under a subcategory then the immediate category should be listed. For example, Verdana is listed on the main page and in the subcategory "Microsoft Typefaces", so I believe it would look best on the main page: Verdana (Microsoft Typefaces) -- Zab 07:09, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Is that possible? —Chowbok 15:44, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for starting this discussion Chowbok, the issue has been on my mind for a few weeks.

The problem with listing every typeface article in Category:Typefaces as well as the relevant sub-category, is that plenty of people will disagree on the grounds of "What's the point of having categories if every font is listed in the main Category:Typefaces?"

Well, I have an answer, and I think my rationale is much the same as yours. Very simply, "It doesn't matter, and placing every font in the main category Category:Typefaces is advantagous for fonts of controversial properties."

For example, Helvetica's design and metrics (spacing, leading etc) suit it for display work, not text typography. Increasing Helvetica's letterspacing and leading makes it much more readable for text settings, but does not change the design of the glyphs, which are all closed-up and make it an inherently hard-to-read text font. Lots of typographers insist Helvetica should not be used for text, but display only, and be classified as a display font. Helvetica's supporters insist it is a great text font (ha-ha, bloody ha) and should be classified as such. So what category will we put Helvetica in at Wikipedia---text or display?

Ask typographers and the answer will be split (no agreement). I can think of a dozen other fonts with similar characteristics, fonts that can be used for text but on the whole seem better suited to display work. Another example: Comic Sans is not a serious text font, yet is quite readable when well set, and more significantly it gets used for text regardless of what type experts say it's good for. Typographers tend to adopt insider views at odds with how fonts are actually used and percieved by graphic designers and laypersons. This is something I have long been critical of. My point: the experts are usually right on technical grounds, but out of touch with reality (the world outside typography circles).

Listing all typefaces in one or another specialized category as well as the main Category:Typefaces solves special cases like Helvetica, Souvenir and others, and has the additional advantage of providing a single list of all typefaces covered by an article in Wikipedia. That list can be relied on when a reader is searching for a font by name (using their browser's Find fdialog when already looking at Category:Typefaces, not the wiki search box). Some readers will look in the category they expect to find a particular font, and not find it because it isn't in that category. It could take that reader a while to find the "right" category. The Category:Typefaces would provide a simple, reliable master list. For people fond of searching by category---we give them categories as well.

In short, why have it top-down-one-way-hierarchic when we can have it both ways? Chowbok's proposal is for a flat interface topography. That makes a lot of sense given how people disagree on how specific kinds of fonts ought to be classified.

typeface classification schema

The basic problem with typeface classification (outside of Wikipedia) is the existence of 2 or 3 competing schemes and no widespread agreement on which is "best" or most authoritive. Different people have different perceptions of what certain kinds of font are and how to classify them.

Traditional classification schemes used by large type foundries are conservative and therefor a safe model to base Wikipedia's on. But there are alternative schemes which Wikipedians interested in this area should also look at. At Fontscape you'll find 7 main schemes (including the traditional one): Application (fonts categorized by what they are used for), Mood, Period (chronological era), Appearance, Classification (traditional), International (characteristics attributed to nationality), and Simulation (fonts classed according to lettering technique and the kind of tool used). Most of these schemes are useful and effective, so we might consider adopting some or all of those 7 at Wikipedia. Before doing that I would contact the site owner David Johnson-Davies to ask if it would be cool with him. I talk to David every time I release a font of mine so it would be easy and appropriate for me to discuss this with him. Let me know what you guys think.

Arbo 12:54, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, I completely disagree, and general policy agrees with me. No one denies that having a single master list may be convenient at times. But it can also be inconvenient at times. If there are 2000 faces here, the WP software is going to break up the list into separate pages, anyway. What benefit is there in a single master list, really? Merely so you can find fonts easier alphabetically? If you know the name, you can go right to the article! (I can't think of many occasions where someone is going to look for a typeface and remember next to nothing about it except the first letter.) You use categories when you're looking for a particular kind of typeface. Adding Category:Typefaces in addition to some subcat conveys no additional information—the subcat name makes it clear that it is a typeface. The fact that the subcat is a subcat of Category:Typefaces makes it even more clear. Now, I agree that we can categorize in multiple ways, such as the style, the origin, the usage, etc. So it is possible to be in multiple subcats. (An example of what I'm talking about is Category:Macintosh computers, which I recently sorted using three different criteria: CPU, case type, and product line. Each Mac fits into one subcat of each of these subcats. No Macs exist in Category:Macintosh computers itself—though it may server as a temporary placeholder for uncategorized Macs.) This is not a problem; it is perfectly fine to accomodate "competing" classification systems. From WP:CLS, "An article should usually not be in both a category and its subcategory, e.g. Microsoft Office is in Category:Microsoft software, so should not also be in Category:Software — except when the article defines a category as well as being in a higher category, e.g. Ohio is in both Category:U.S. states and Category:Ohio." There are exceptions to that, but they do not apply here. FWIW, "flattening" of category display could theoretically be accomplished through technical means, if the Mediawiki software adds it, and the idea has been proposed. ⇔ ChristTrekker 22:32, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

look-alike fonts[edit]

I was thinking of an article for "look-alike" fonts (e.g. Walt Disney Script, Loki Cola, SF Fedora, Adventure), but didn't know what to call it, or if maybe a subcategory should be created for individual articles. Requests for stuff like this show up all the time online, so I'd think it worthy of some note, the phenomenon as well as examples. ⇔ ChristTrekker 20:05, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Related but distinct are typefaces that try to mimic the stereotypical letter forms of another language, like a Latin alphabet typeface that looks like Hebrew, or Arabic, or Japanese. Typeface mentions these. I've seen references to these as "simulation" typefaces. Is it worthy of a list article? ⇔ ChristTrekker 14:44, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Hi ChristTrekker. The first article will be the harder of the two. Probably mostly because it will be difficult to develop without being accused of new research. Some types look alike by design and were created to avoid paying a licensing fee. An example wouild be A&M's (an early phototype equipment manufacturer) knock-off versions, Andover for true Palatino, Chelmsford for Optima. Compugraphic did the very same. Here finding examples, and third party sources, possibly reporting on litigation, will be difficult. Typeface names are trademarked, but the deisgn is more difficult to defend. The other side of look alike are homage, revival, and tribute faces. David Quay's release of Architype Renner is a nice bit of typographic scholarship and tribute to Paul Renner's earliest design for Futura. Adrian Frutiger's type Avenir takes inspiration from Futura and Erbar but is not a copy. Maybe the most difficult thing to write about will be the subjective nature of someone looking at a face like Myriad and seeing plagiarism of Frutiger. I would sit with your idea for this article just a bit. It might be an opportunity to, in a larger way, discuss how types can be alike.
The typefaces that are designed to appear as another writing system, Chinese, Hebrew, etc. are sort of fun. I've never encountered an agreed upon term for them. I've seen fake Arabic for a falafel truck, fake Hebrew for a moving company called "Nice Jewish Boy (With Warehouse), and of course Ricksaw, the fake Chinese for restaurant names like Imperial Garden. I don't object to a separate article for this, but am stumped as to what to call it. CApitol3 12:54, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
I tend to think that any of these sorts of faces would fall under Category:Display typefaces, correct? Also, in the former case, I'm not sure that the inspiration for some of those faces was an existing face. Was the Walt Disney "signature" logo ever developed as a typeface by Disney, or was it "merely" artwork? (Or does that even matter?) Same with the title from the Indiana Jones movies, etc. So "plagiarism" may not really be an issue. ⇔ ChristTrekker 16:56, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
See samples of simulation typefaces. Not much of an article, but illustrative. ⇔ ChristTrekker 20:16, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

I've put some of my "original research" online at a different wiki. I mention it here just in case anyone is interested. ⇔ ChristTrekker 17:50, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Woo, hit a motherlode of info on typeface classification. ⇔ ChristTrekker 18:37, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

differentiating subcategories[edit]

The terms used for describing typefaces are obtuse and opaque to the casual reader. (Old-style vs modern serif? Grotesque? Whaaa?) These categories do not facilitate navigation unless you are learned in the subject matter. I'd like to see the category pages give a very brief pictorial illustration of the subcategories. Perhaps just one or two characters that illustrate the essential differences between the types. ⇔ ChristTrekker 19:19, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

That might not be a bad idea, and perhaps I could work on something like that tomorrow. One thing that I think is confusing is that the classification subcats are interspersed between all the other subcats. Maybe creating Category:Typefaces by style or Category:Typefaces by classification could help to contain all the classification subcats. And we could put an illustration on that page to help readers visually identify where they want to go. (for comparison, I believe Category:Christian denominations is an example of cat that has an illustration that helps navigation.)-Andrew c [talk] 20:10, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that is what I am getting at. Categories for grouping categories (cf. Macs by CPU, Macs by case type) would be very helpful, if there are multiple orthogonal categorization "dimensions". I am no typography expert, just an enthusiast, so I can't speak to that. ⇔ ChristTrekker 21:14, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
I opted for Category:Typefaces by style because classification is virtually a synonym for categorization so it wouldn't explain how they are being grouped. (This is a category of categories. No kidding!) ⇔ ChristTrekker 16:57, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


There are a number of display faces that are "hollow", without being merely a shadowed/engraved variant. Are these generally considered a distinct category, or not? Two examples are Colonna and Delphian, as opposed to Niagara Engraved or Neuland Inline. ⇔ ChristTrekker 20:12, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

My first thought was "incised" but I'm not sure if that exactly fits. My next though (after a brief bit of research) was "inline", but I'm not sure if that really is a classification instead of a descriptor. I'll check my reference books next time I get a chance to see if there is an actually term for that.-Andrew c [talk] 22:13, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Typefaces by script?[edit]

Is there a category for typefaces by script (i.e. Latin, Hindi, Chinese, Arabic)? Badagnani (talk) 18:03, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

No. But the only article that I think that we have on a non-latin typeface is Ming (typeface). Perhaps one day we will need that sort of categorization scheme though.-Andrew c [talk] 19:08, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
There is Typefaces by glyph. Since it currently contains "symbol" and "unicode" subcats, it looks like the place for subcats based on character range. ⇔ ChristTrekker 16:20, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

The most basic to start with might be "Category:Non-latin typefaces." Badagnani (talk) 19:13, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

"Typefaces by glyph" is too confusing. I would never think to look under this for Arabic, Hindi, etc. Badagnani (talk) 18:23, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

I've added categories for "Non-Latin typefaces" and "Typefaces by script" along with several sub-categories under these. I've used "Devanagari typefaces" rather than "Hindi typefaces" as it makes sense to use the same script names as in The Unicode Standard and ISO 15924 Chris Fynn (talk) 15:40, 16 October 2009 (UTC)


Someone has been categorizing redirects (specifically, of specifics cuts of well-known typefaces) here. I'm all for that kind of categorization, but not when it's too general. If MyFoo is a cut of the old-style serif Foo, then MyFoo should be in Category:Old style serif typefaces, not just Category:Typefaces. A modicum of extra effort would be very helpful. ⇔ ChristTrekker 16:17, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

No change in the situation. Going to add a diffusion notice. ⇔ ChristTrekker 14:59, 29 February 2016 (UTC)