WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TYPEFACE AND A FONT?

Getting a typeface confused with a font is something a lot of people do.

Its an easy mistake but once you know the background and a bit of history around a typeface and font, it will make a whole lot more sense!

It all started before digital printing become a thing, printers would cast collections of metal characters to comprise a font. Fonts that shared similar characteristics would be grouped together as a typeface. Each font would have a range of different capital letters and small letters.

Back in the day the term ‘font’ was a collection of metal casts that contained letters and symbols in specific sizes which were all based on the design of the specific typeface. Each specific font was a collection of glyphs in a specific size and weight. For example the metals casts for “Montserrat, size 14, regular” would be a different metal cast compared to the font “Montserrat, size 22, bold”.

Nowadays modern printing and digital publishing don’t use the huge metal collections of casts, but the word “font” still refers to the mechanism and specific glyphs. On computers used for digital writing or publishing, the “font” is the file that contains the typeface.

The word typeface refers specifically to the shape and style of letters that are organised into a set based on the alphabet, numbers and punctuation marks.

In a quick summary a typeface is the collective name of a family of related fonts, while a font refers to the weights, widths and styles that relate to a typeface. But keep in mind not all typefaces consist of multiple fonts