(On this page: Digital Type, Rasterize Digital Type, Convert Digital Type to Outlines, The Difference Between Typefaces & Fonts, Typeface Anatomy, Proportional Typefaces VS. Monospace Typefaces, Font Metrics, Types of Typefaces (Roman Typefaces, Blackletter Typefaces, Gaelic Typefaces, Proportional Typefaces, Monospace Typefaces, Symbol Typefaces, CJK Typefaces), Display Type.)

  1. Digital Type

    findTheFont.com offers you a wide selection of Digital Fonts for download via fonts.com. Digital fonts store the image of each character either as a bitmap in a bitmap font (Adobe Photoshop type environment is a good example), or by mathematical description of lines and curves in an outline font, also called a vector font (Adobe Illustrator type environment is a good example). Most fonts fall into one of the following programmatic formats: TrueType (Apple's outline font standard - most common format for Mac OS and Microsoft), OpenType (scalable computer font based on TrueType's framework, and developed by Microsoft) and PostScript Type 1 (fonts developed by Adobe).

  2. Rasterize Digital Type (Raster-Based Design Programs)

    When you need to send a digital layout file to a printer or another system which may or may not have the font you used, you can take an extra precaution to ensure your text is unchanged by rasterizing the font. This is as simple as selecting the font and then selecting the proper features of the given raster-based software package. The end-result is a perfect copy of a programmatic font turned into a pixel-by-pixel exact copy that is no longer editable using type tools. From this point on the rasterized font is treated as a regular raster-based image.

  3. Convert Digital Type to Outlines (Vector-Based Design Programs)

    Converting digital type to outlines is a similar process as rasterizing fonts, but different because it's in vector programmatic environment. It's a good way to ensure your text is unchanged when opened on a remote system. Designers typically select the font and then select the proper features of the given vector-based software package to outline fonts. This action breaks the link between the font's programming and creates a vector path identical to each font's character. From this point on the outlined font is treated as a regular vector-based path.

  4. The Difference Between Typefaces & Fonts

    Typefaces, in short, have a parental relationship with fonts. We use the term font to represent a given set of alphabetical letters for a given language - one instance of a typeface. Each different type of typeface typically carries certain similarities among its font families.

  5. Typeface Anatomy

    Serif and Sans Serif are ornamental or decorative elements of certain typefaces. Font families handle serifs differently and create what most believe to be a much more readable font than the clean modern Sans Serif fonts. All typefaces are divided into these two categories and both are extremely useful to a designer.

    1. Serif Fonts

      They are excellent for articles in magazines, newspapers and long-sell advertisements. They tend to have a classier old-school feel to them and are more readable than sans serif fonts. This makes it very easy to read large amounts of text quickly... the serifs themselves allow our mind to quickly recognize the differences between fonts, therefore making it easier and faster to read.

    2. Sans Serif Fonts

      They are a good choice for a more modern looking layout, but sacrifice a certain level of readability when compared to serif fonts. Typically, sans-serif fonts serve their purpose better in digital mediums, signage, headings, and places where legibility is more valued than readability. Computers of old did not have the high resolutions of today's computers, and better represented cleaner fonts stripped of their serif characters. The cleaner output led to easier reading, which meant that online, sans serif fonts were the easiest to read. Mobile platforms only made the comparison more in favor of sans serif fonts upon mobile's introduction to market. Today's high resolution displays have almost perfect representation of serif fonts and make it a difficult debate to win as to whether serif is still better used on the web over sans serif fonts.

  6. Proportional Typefaces VS. Monospace Tyepfaces

    Proportional fonts are comprised of varying widths in stroke and character, while monospace fonts look like letters drawn with a single-sized pen tip and stroked with consistent width from character to character. Typically printing by hand with a large tipped paint brush will produce more of a proportional font, and writing with a ball point pen produces more of a monospaced font. A talented artist can draw either typeface in proportional or monospace styles.

    Proportional typefaces are generally considered to be more decorative, but that is not to say monospace fonts aren't capable of being decorative as well.

  7. Font Metrics

    This refers to the physical layout of a font and how each character in a font lines up with one another. When the positioning of characters on the same are compared, we look at the space below a font (descender height), bottom of a character line (baseline), the middle of a character line (median), the top of a character line (cap height), and the area above the top of a character (ascender height). The ascender and descender describe the area above and below the cap height and baseline (ie: the top of a "t" if written in serif format will extend into the ascender, while a sans serif font typically go no higher than the cap height).

    Metric-compatible fonts are of similar font metric characteritics and make it easier to swap fonts out for one another without having to completely remake a text-based design layout.

  8. Types of Typefaces

    1. Roman Typefaces

      1. Serif Typeface Types
        1. Old Style - Italian typographers are most associated with the early creation of Old Style Serif typefaces. (Old Style Typeface Example Font: Times)

        2. Transitional - A much smaller subset describing the most similar looking Old Style and Modern Serif typefaces and typically associated with a higher differentiation in stoke weight between characters. (Transitional Typeface Example Font: Baskerville)

        3. Modern - Describes the heavier weight and feel of the serif used in this typeface. (Modern Typeface Example Font: Bodoni)

      2. Sans Serif Typefaces

        Some typographers believe the root of all sans serif fonts lie in Slab Serif Font typefaces (Slab Typeface Example Font: Antique). There are no real subsets to sans serif fonts like serif fonts, but that may be simply because sans serif fonts are still being generated, and only until enough are accumulated will there be similarities among large groups to warrant categorization. (Sans Serif Typeface Font Example: Helvectica, Arial, Futura, Gill Sans, Univers, Frutiger)

      3. Script Typefaces

        They are considered by some to be the most elegant and prestigious typeface of them all. If you overuse them most readers become disinterested quickly, so it's best left for those special occasions: celebratory signage, upscale design, classy business cards, etc. (Script Typeface Example Font: Coronet, Zapfino)

      4. Ornamental Typefaces

        This is typically a highly decorative font best utilized to promote a specific themed event, like a snowy font for the cold holidays, or animals for the children's book. (Ornamental Typeface Example Font: Birds Flying Regular)

      5. Mimicry Typefaces

        This subgroup of Ornamental typefaces include fonts with similarities to the old Roman alphabet character design. (Mimicry Typeface Example Fonts: Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, Arabic, Kana, Thai)

    2. Blackletter Typefaces

      Commonly known as Gothic Typeface, it's characterized by sharp edges and owns the title of being the first typeface for the advent of the printing press. (Blackletter Typeface Example Font: gothic script, rotunda, schwabacher, fraktur)

    3. Gaelic Typefaces

      We have the Irish to thank for this lovely set of type. It's comprised of insular letterforms with sharp angles and in all capitals (uncial). (Gaelic Typeface Example Font: no sample available)

    4. Proportional Typefaces

      A typeface characterized by varying widths of the characters in a given font set. Proportional fonts are typically better used where total flexibility in a layout is an option, because changing between character count and type varies the length of the total line. This can make even the smallest type changes require additional tweaking to leading and following text.

    5. Monospaced Typefaces

      A typeface characterized by each character in a font all being of equivalent heights and widths, fitting exactly in the same space as any character in its font set. With its origin dating back to the advent of the typewriter because the machine only moved a set space after every press, this font is still important for use on the Web today. (Monospace Typeface Example Font: Courier, Prestige Elite)

    6. Symbol Typefaces

      Designed as a way to include special symbols into a string of text, but using today's modern design software packages, it has gained popularity as a quick source for starting art when converted to outlines. (Symbol Typeface Example Font: Adobe Caslon? Ornaments)

    7. CJK Typefaces

      Chinese, Japanese and Korean - comprised of widely varying glyphs, which include ASCII, European Roman glyphs and Cyrillic glyphs and sometimes Persian, Hebrew and Arabic. Similar to a monospace font, each CJK character will fit in an equal sized space as all other characters to allow for vertical and horizontal combinations.

      Mincho - the equivalent to serif fonts with little features added to the ends.

      Gothic - the equivalent to sans serif with squared stroke ends.

      Maru - the equivalent to sans serif with rounded stroke ends.

  9. Display Type

    This typeface is typicallly used at 30+ points or higher and are most suitable large format displays. (Display Typeface (Headline) Example Font: Aachen)