The Difference Between a Font and a Typeface
“Typeface” and “font” are related concepts, but they’re not the same thing. We often use them interchangeably in conversation—even design professionals are guilty of this sometimes. Here’s the difference:
- A typeface is a collection of glyphs—letters, numbers, and symbols—that comprise the overall type design.
- A font is a digital file that implements the design.
Put another way:
- Helvetica is a typeface.
- Helvetica Ultra Light Extended Oblique.otf is a font.
To borrow some language from the Library of Congress, a typeface is the work whereas a font is the manifestation of that work. A piece of cast metal type used in physical typesetting would be another example of a manifestation of the typeface.
A font file typically implements a single weight and style. For example, Myriad Pro Bold Oblique and Myriad Pro Light are two different fonts, even though they belong to the same typeface family.
98% of the time, when someone says “font”, they probably mean “typeface”.
And yes, we sometimes we use the word “font” incorrectly in our articles’ titles. Why? Because it’s important to know the difference, but there’s also no need to be pedantic when your SEO is at stake.
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"Font" and "typeface" don't mean the same thing. Here's the difference.