Fonts & Typefaces

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While researching a post on hand-writing fonts, I got side-tracked into reading about how some words or phrases have bridged print into digital; like the word “type foundry.” Since that is something we as a stationery company are trying to do–bridge or exist in a digital world–I followed the meaning of the word from history to the present day controversies.

Jon Tan, a British designer and founder of Font Deck. Here is what he had to say about fonts:

“Font (or previously, fount) is derived from a Middle French word, fonte, meaning something that has been melted.  In type founding, metal was then poured into a hand mould with a matrix, to cast each individual piece of movable type, known as a sort. Font, fount and fonte have a common ancestor in the Latin word, fons, meaning spring or source (of water).  They are all related to the word, fountain.”

What is the difference between a font and a typeface?  This is how type design director, Norbert Florendo defined it: “Font is what you use, typeface is what you see.”

I can linger on a word or a line of words because of the beauty of the letters in the word. Or their visible impact on the meaning of the word. For example, the “Needleteeth” typeface by Chad Savage does make words look scarier.

A bit of history from Exaclair, the “Salto” font was designed by a calligrapher using a Brause nib.





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