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Demystifying typography: Typeface vs. Font, what’s the big difference?

Typography might seem like a realm reserved for us design gurus, but even the most seasoned designers can mix up the terms.

If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head over the difference between “typeface” and “font,” you’re not alone, the words “typeface” and “font” are often interchanged but they are two different things. Today, I’m diving into these often-confused terms to set the record straight in a way that’s both fun and easy to understand.

Meet the Typeface

Think of a typeface as the DNA of fonts. It’s the big picture, the master plan, the blueprint that gives characters their unique style and vibe. Imagine you’re designing a new family in The Sims- let’s call them The Arial’s. The Arial’s then have individual family members: Arial Regular, Arial Bold, Arial Italic etc… They all share the same genes (or typeface), but each has its own personality.

Enter the Font

Now, let’s zoom in a bit. If the typeface is the family, then a font is like one of its members. Picture Arial Bold as the cool cousin who stands out in a crowd, while Arial Regular is the reliable sibling who keeps things grounded.

Fonts are the different flavours within a typeface family. They come in all shapes and sizes, from skinny and delicate to bold and chunky. Each font brings its own personality to the party while staying true to the overall typeface design.

The big differences

Family vs. Member
Typeface is the big, happy family, while font is the individual member with its own style and swagger.

Variety Show
Typeface offers a range of styles and weights, while font showcases a specific flavour within that family, like bold or italic.

Consistency Counts
Typeface ensures all its fonts play nice together, maintaining a cohesive look and feel, while fonts bring versatility to the table, letting you mix and match for different vibes.

So, next time you’re browsing through fonts, remember: typefaces are the big picture, and fonts are the colourful characters within. Now, armed with this newfound knowledge, go ahead and impress your friends with your typography know-how. You’re welcome.

Becky x
Welcome to the BLD Blog

Hello! I’m Becky. A brand identity & website designer for passionate & ambitious small businesses. This little corner of my website is dedicated to sharing the 15 years of experience I have with brands, websites and of course running a small business.

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