Font style

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A font style (including font style ) is a variation of a font . Among other things, the thickness , spacing and position of the font are changed. Several related variations are known as a font family .

Font styles

Examples of the font styles for Times New Roman font : normal, bold, italic

A font family consists of at least one font style. The word typeface still comes from lead type - at that time the steel templates for the lead letters had to be literally "cut". At the latest with the transition to photosetting , the term lost its actual meaning. Today font design is primarily done on the computer .

Usually vary typefaces the following three award features a font:

These characteristics of a font can be combined with one another as required. For example, there may be light fonts that are also wide and italic.

With some font styles, the names of the styles are replaced or supplemented by numbers. Examples of this are the Frutiger and Univers fonts by Adrian Frutiger . This is a number system (code) in which the digits in the units and tens stand for properties of this font. The 5 forms the middle and stands for normal . The higher the tens, the bold the font weight (bold). The ones place, however, stands for the font width (thickness) or font position. Typefaces from 3 to 9 are common, although not all number combinations have to occur: For example, there is no Univers 77 (Black Condensed).

Based on nine font weight classes, nine font width classes and two font layers, there is a huge number of 162 possible, different font styles. In fact, font families are usually available in significantly fewer weights.

Many fonts for everyday use, so - called bread fonts , are offered in four standard variations: normal, bold ( bold , bold ) - with particularly wide characters -, italic and bold italic ( i.e. a combination of bold and italic). Missing variants are poorly simulated, especially by office software and browsers.

But there are also font styles that vary other designation features than those mentioned above: Some fonts are also available as outline drawings or shaded (see #Special shapes ). Primitive markup features such as underlining or blocking do not require their own font style. Today, as in the earlier days of typesetters, computer programs can make such changes to any font.

For some fonts there are extended character sets for other languages ​​(e.g. Polish , Icelandic , Turkish ) or non-Latin writing systems (e.g. Greek , Cyrillic , Hebrew ) or with swash letters, decorative initials , small caps , old style figures , fractional figures and ligatures . Up to the turn of the millennium, such extensive digital fonts had to be distributed over several, in individual cases numerous files, which are confusingly also referred to as font styles. However, this is not about font variants that differ visually due to the above-mentioned stylistic features (e.g. line width, spacing), but rather a technical-related distribution of a large, stylistically homogeneous character set over several files. The Open Type format allows such alternative character sets to be accommodated in a single file, so that nowadays an additional font file is no longer required for each of these options.

With lead type and electronic raster fonts, each font size also required its own font. With vector font formats this is no longer necessary; Computer programs can scale the font size almost arbitrarily. However, fonts with high line thickness contrast in small font sizes are difficult to read unless special font styles for small sizes are used. The same applies to indices and powers , which are also set smaller. Therefore, with high-quality fonts nowadays there are again more often special styles for the individual sizes, one also speaks of "optical sizing".

Examples of font styles

Variation in font weight

Weights of the styles of the
Helvetica Neue family

The font weight , and line thickness , font weight or fats called, indicates how black a font is. Most fonts come in at least two weights, normal and bold.

The font manufacturer is of course free to name the individual classes. Some fonts should appear thinner or bolder than others, which is why the division into font weight classes is always a matter of taste.

The table below shows some common font weight classes with their German and English names. Practically no family includes all of the styles mentioned. Often names are mixed up, the same font weights are named differently, or the same name is used for very different weights.

designation Weight
German English CSS CLDR Frutiger
ultra fine ultra thin 100 - 1 ×
fine, thin thin 100 or 200 100 3 ×
ultra light, ultra light ultra light 100 200 2 ×
extra light , extra lean extra light 200 200 -
light, lean light 300 300 4 ×
semi-pale, lean, semi-skinny semi light - 350 -
Book , work book 400 380
normal, regular regular 400 5 ×
medium, light semi-fat medium 500 500 6 ×
semi-bold semi bold, demi bold 600 600 -
fat bold 700 700 7 ×
extra fat extra bold 800 800 -
strong, fat, heavy heavy 900 8 ×
ultra fat ultra bold 900 800 -
black black 900 9 ×
extra black extra black 950 -
ultra black , ultra fat ultra black 950
ultra fat ultra heavy - 950

Variation of the thickness (character width)

The thickness (width) of a letter affects the tracking of a font.

German English
Ultra slim Ultra Condensed
Extra slim  Extra condensed
Narrow Condensed, Compressed, Narrow
Half narrow Semi condensed
normal Regular
Half width Semi expanded
Wide Expanded, Extended
Extra wide Extra Expanded
Ultra wide Ultra Expanded

see also: letter with double bar

Variation of the writing position

The writing position or inclination indicates whether a font is upright or inclined. In addition to the inclination to the right, there is seldom one to the left in European fonts. With the inclination, the shapes of the lowercase letters sometimes also change.

German English
Normal, regular (upright, recte ) Regular, Roman, Upright
Italics ("real italics") Italic
Oblique ("false italics") Oblique
Aslant Slanted, Sloped Roman

Special forms

  • Contour (outline)
  • Shaded (shaded)
  • Distorted (distorted)

For special character sets (small caps, figure forms, ligatures and others) see above.

Mixed forms

In principle, all conceivable font forms can be combined with one another, which leads to a very large number of theoretically possible font styles. An example is the double marking of a font with a bold italic font.

Real and artificially generated font styles

Only “real” font styles should be used in professional print production. Each individual character is designed according to the characteristics of the font. In most cases, artificial font styles created with computer programs do not meet the aesthetic requirements and a. problems with exposure . Letters placed at an angle in software , for example, differ significantly from italic fonts designed by a designer .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence