How to identify the different kinds of fonts
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The art of designing fonts is called Typography. It’s the technical evolution of calligraphy, and it is a lot of fun!
In today’s post, we will show you the different categories of fonts. This way, it will be easier for you to identify your favorite typefaces.
What are the script and handwritten fonts?
Script fonts are inspired -and often created- by handwriting. They emulate original calligraphy instead of having a more industrial look. These fonts are famous for many crafting techniques, as sublimation or Scrapbook. They are also a common choice for wedding invitations, and even for headlines and display texts. As they can be harder to read in small sizes, it is not common to use them for the body of a document.
What are display fonts?
This category refers to the size of the type. Typically, we use display fonts at a 30p size or larger. Most effect typefaces are display types. They often have a tighter default letter spacing. Some of these fonts are only available in the upper case. Just like it happens with Script fonts, it is not common to use them for the body of a text.
What are serif fonts?
Serif fonts are also known as Roman typefaces. Their name comes from the features at the end of their strokes. The best and most famous example would be Times New Roman. These kinds of fonts are elegant and unique, but they do not affect legibility. Most printed books and magazines use these fonts for their body text because of that.
What are sans serif fonts?
The name of these typefaces means “without serif.” Therefore, you won’t find any features at the end of the strokes. This characteristic gives them a modern touch and guarantees readability. Sans Serif fonts perform very well, even in lower resolutions. That is why these typefaces are a frequent choice for body text in electronic media. One of the most famous Sans Serif fonts is Helvetica.
What are black letter fonts?
Blackletter is the oldest kind of typeface. These fonts imitated the handwritten calligraphy popular in Europe when Gutenberg invented the press. That is why they are also known as Gothic fonts. Their swirly shape is easy to identify.
What are slab serif fonts?
Also known as Square Serif, this kind of fonts have thick, block-line serifs. These typefaces were popular during the 19th Century. That is why they were standard on typewriters (in case you were born after 1999, this is a typewriter). It is also common to find them on programming software. Their default spacing makes the code easier to read.
What are dingbat fonts?
In the times of typesetting, Dingbats were ornament characters or spacers with a decorative purpose. It was common to use them to create box frames. Nowadays, we can find computer fonts that show symbols and shapes instead of numbers and letters. We still call them dingbats, also known as printer’s ornaments or printer’s characters.
What are color fonts?
Color fonts are regular fonts that can use extra data to change the shape of characters into more elaborate designs. We have written a whole article about them in our Ultimate Font Guide. These typefaces are saved as SVG data inside OpenType font files. SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics, a standard format for cut files. There are two differences that you might notice when using color fonts. First, the file size will be bigger than usual. Also, there is a specific size you can expand these fonts to. If you push beyond that resolution, the characters will look pixelated.
Useful resources about fonts
Better Web Type A free web typography course for web designers and web developers.
What font is This tool allows you to identify +600 different fonts.
The Ultimate Font Guide On these articles, you’ll find all you need to know about fonts.