Type Network


Styles /

Styles primer

Because font families differ in stylistic context, a single entry in a font-family menu is not certain to contain the same thing. A single file for a regular style can be installed and appear in font menus, and the user can still have the options of Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic presented via an operating system’s font-software manipulations of the one installed style to present a family of four computer-augmented styles. Or there could be four files or a family installed to reach the same style set. Font-family styles can also include many weights and widths out of cascading menus, or a font family can become too large for that and be split into multiple entries on a font menu for different widths, optical sizes, or glyph repertoires.

This solution leaves the experienced print typographer free to visually choose styles of families that best suit specific conditions through trial and error, and then, in the best of circumstances, leave those choices in a template for others to follow. Style names themselves have also imposed limitations on the fluidity of fonts in this system, with the need to record the many possible characteristics of a style in words familiar to a broad audience. The web-design community is one such audience; the issue of how font families unfold from font files and how to handle font styles have presented problems for web typographers from the start.