Font or Typeface?

The term “font” is commonly used incorrectly as a font, in the strictest terms, is simply one instance of a typeface in a specific size, weight and proportion. In the period of time prior to “cold” type, or the modern era of lithographic printing and electronic display, type was generated by casting hot metal from a matrix, a kind of mold – in the desired size and typeface. The result was a font. But there would be other fonts in the same typeface depending on the size and other variables.

Therefore, the correct terminology should in fact be “typeface” to refer to the design attributes that constitute the visible entity, which may also include all members of that typeface family. This takes in weights: e.g. light, medium, bold, semi-bold, extra bold, black as well as proportions: e.g. condensed, wide, expanded etc. and also italics in all those variables. To refer to the Neue Helvetica family of typefaces as a “font” is totally wrong because that implies that the family exists in one unit.

Since its introduction in 1957 the Helvetica typeface family has undergone several redesigns and name changes and was completely redrawn in 1983. At last count the Neue Helvetica family consisted of 62 individual typeface styles (Linotype), all of them different under the one family name. This number does not include the 99 product family available from Monotype as Helvetica Now, or the Paneuropean range of 51 styles from Linotype catering to Cyrilic, Hebrew, Central European and other scripts.

And or &?

In the Latin language the word for “and” is “et”. The ampersand symbol (&) was derived from the corruption of and (&) per se and, literally “(the character) & by itself (is the word) and.” Hence – and per se and became ampersand.

In today’s typography there are many different designs for the ampersand symbol.

Modern usage, it seems by unskilled type users perhaps, has adopted & as a shortcut for the word and in running text. APA Style Manual – a publication style guide of the American Psychological Association recommends that the word and should be spelled out in situations other than the partnerships of two or more business names. For example: Johnson & Johnson, Marks & Spencer, etc, and in situations where common words are abbreviated to initials – R&D, AT&T, R&B.

More to come on this soon but for the sake of my sanity, please spell out the word and when using it in text, it only saves a few keystrokes and looks ugly.