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In typography, a font (also fount) is traditionally defined as a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface. For example, the set of all characters for 9-point Bulmer italic is a font, and the 10-point size would be a separate font, as would the 9 point upright.

After the introduction of computer fonts based on fully scalable outlines, a broader definition evolved. Font is no longer size-specific, but still refers to a single style. Bulmer regular, Bulmer italic, Bulmer bold and Bulmer bold italic are four fonts, but one typeface.

However, the term font is also often used as a metonym for typeface.

* 1 Metal type
* 2 Font characteristics
o 2.1 Weight
o 2.2 Slope
o 2.3 Width
o 2.4 Optical size
o 2.5 Metrics
o 2.6 Serifs
o 2.7 Proportion
* 3 Etymology
* 4 References

[edit] Metal type

In a traditional manual printing (letterpress) house the font would refer to a complete set of metal type that would be used to typeset an entire page. Unlike a digital typeface it would not include a single definition of each character, but commonly used characters (such as vowels and periods) would have more physical type-pieces included. A font when bought new would often be sold as (for example in a roman alphabet) 12pt 14A 34a, meaning that it would be a size 12 point font containing 14 uppercase 'A's, and 34 lowercase 'A's. The rest of the characters would be provided in quantities appropriate for the distribution of letters in that language. Some metal type required in typesetting, such as dashes, spaces and line-height spacers, were not part of a specific font, but were generic pieces which could be used with any font.[1] Line spacing is still often called "leading," because the strips used for line spacing were made of lead (rather than the harder alloy used for other pieces).

In the 1880s–90s, "hot lead" typesetting was invented, in which type was cast as it was set, either piece by piece (as in the Monotype technology) or entire lines of type at a time (as in the Linotype technology).
[edit] Font characteristics

Besides the character height when using the mechanical sense of the term, there are several characteristics which may distinguish fonts, also depending on the script(s) that the typeface supports. In European alphabetic scripts, i.e. Latin, Cyrillic and Greek, the main such properties are the stroke width, called weight, the style or angle and the character width.

The regular or standard font is often labeled roman, both to distinguish it from bold or thin and from italic or oblique. The keyword for the default, regular case is often omitted for variants and never repeated, otherwise it would be Bulmer regular italic, Bulmer bold regular and even Bulmer regular regular.

Different fonts of the same face may be used in the same work for various degrees and types of emphasis.
[edit] Weight

The weight of a particular font is the thickness of the character outlines relative to their height.
Helvetica weights

A typeface may come in fonts of many weights, from ultra-light to extra-bold or black; four to six weights are not unusual, and a few typefaces have as many as a dozen. Many typefaces for office, Web and non-professional use come with just a normal and a bold weight. If no bold weight is provided, many renderers (browsers, word processors, graphic and DTP programs) support faking a bolder font by rendering the outline a second time at an offset, or just smearing it slightly at a diagonal angle.

The base weight differs among typefaces; that means one normal font may appear bolder than some other normal font. For example fonts intended to be used in posters are often quite bold by default while fonts for long runs of text are rather light. Therefore weight designations in font names may differ in regard to the actual absolute stroke weight or density of glyphs in the font.

Attempts to systematize a range of weights led to a numerical classification first used by Adrian Frutiger with the Univers typeface, although therein only ranging from 3 to 8. The TrueType font format introduced a scale from 100 through 900, also used in CSS and OpenType. The first algorithmic descrition of fonts was perhaps made by Donald Knuth in his Metafont and TeX system of programs.

There are many names used to describe the weight of a font in its name, differing among type foundries and designers, but their relative order is usually fixed, something like this:

* thin
* ultra-light
* extra-light
* light
* book
* normal / regular / roman / plain
* medium
* demi / semi-bold
* bold
* extra-bold / extra
* heavy
* black
* extra-black
* ultra / ultra-black

The terms normal, regular and plain, sometimes also book, are being used for the standard weight font of a typeface. Whether book is lighter or heavier than regular is not entirely consistent across typefaces, though "lighter" seems to be more common.
[edit] Slope

In today's European typefaces, especially roman ones, the font style is usually connected to the angle. When the normal, roman or upright font is slanted – usually to the right in left-to-right scripts – the lowercase character shapes change slightly as well, approaching a more handwritten, cursive style. In this italic type, character edges may even connect and ligatures are more common. Although rarely encountered, a typographic face may be accompanied by a matching calligraphic face, which might be considered a further font style of one typeface.
Cyrillic italics

In many sans-serif and some serif typefaces the characters of the italic fonts are only slanted (oblique), which is often done algorithmically, without otherwise changing their appearance. On the other hand there are typefaces with upright characters that take a more cursive form without a change in angle. For example the Cyrillic minuscule ‘?’ may look like a smaller form of its majuscule '?' or more like a roman small ‘m’ as in its standard italic appearance; in this case the distinction between styles is also a matter of local preference.

In Frutiger’s nomenclature the second digit for upright fonts is a 5, for italic fonts a 6.

The two Japanese syllabaries, katakana and hiragana, could be seen as two styles or typographic variants of each other, but usually are considered separate character sets.

Cursive-only scripts such as Arabic also have different styles, in this case for example Naskh and Kufic, although these often depend on application, area or era.

There are other aspects that can differ among font styles, but more often these are considered immanent features of the typeface. These include the look of the minuscules, which may be smaller versions of the capital letters (small caps) although the script has developed characteristic shapes for them. Some typefaces do not include separate glyphs for the cases at all, thereby abolishing the bicamerality. While most use uppercase characters only, some labeled unicase exist which choose either the majuscule or the minuscule glyph at a common height for both characters.
[edit] Width

Some typefaces include fonts that vary the width of the characters (stretch).

Narrower fonts are usually labeled compressed, condensed or narrow. In Frutiger’s system, the second digit of condensed fonts is a 7. Wider fonts may be called wide, extended or expanded. Both can be further classified by prepending extra, ultra or the like.

These separate fonts have to be distinguished from techniques that alter the letter-spacing to achieve narrower or smaller words, especially for justified text alignment.
[edit] Optical size

Some professional digital typefaces include fonts that are optimised for certain sizes. There are several naming schemes for such variant designs. One such scheme, invented and popularized by Adobe Systems, refers to the variant fonts by the applications those are typically used for, with the exact point sizes intended varying slightly by typeface:

* Poster (extremely large sizes, usually larger than 72 point)
* Display (large sizes, typically 19-72 point)
* Subhead (large text, typically about 14-18 point)

* (regular is usually left unnamed, typically about 10-13 point)

* Small text (SmText, typically about 8-10 point)
* Caption (very small, typically about 6-8 point)

[edit] Metrics

Font metrics refers to metadata consisting of numeric values relating to size and space in the font overall, or in its individual glyphs. Font-wide metrics include cap height, x-height, ascender height, descender depth, and the font bounding box. Glyph-level metrics include the glyph bounding box, the advance width (total space for the glyph), and sidebearings (space that pads the glyph outline on either side).
[edit] Serifs
Italic capital swashes
Serifness of the Thesis typeface

Although most typefaces are characterised by their use of serifs, there are superfamilies that incorporate serif (antiqua) and sans-serif (grotesque) or even intermediate slab serif (egyptian) or semi-serif fonts with the same base outlines.

A more common font variant, especially of serif typefaces, is that of alternate capitals. They can have swashes to go with italic minuscules or they can be of a flourish design for use as initials (drop caps).
[edit] Proportion

Just like serifness, most typefaces either have proportional or monospaced (typewriter-style) letter widths, if the script provides the possibility. There are, however, superfamilies covering both styles.

Some fonts provide both proportional and fixed-width (tabular) digits, where the former usually coincide with lowercase text figures and the latter with uppercase lining figures.
[edit] Etymology

The term font, a cognate of the word fondue, derives from Middle French fonte, meaning "(something that has been) melt(ed)", referring to type produced by casting molten metal at a type foundry. English-speaking printers have used the term fount for centuries to refer to the multi-part metal type used to assemble and print in a particular size and typeface.[2]

A computer font (or fount) is an electronic data file containing a set of glyphs, characters, or symbols such as dingbats. Although the term font first referred to a set of metal type sorts in one style and size, since the 1990s most fonts are digital, used on computers.

There are three basic kinds of computer font file data formats:

* Bitmap fonts consist of a series of dots or pixels representing the image of each glyph in each face and size.
* Outline fonts (also called vector fonts) use Bézier curves, drawing instructions and mathematical formulas to describe each glyph, which make the character outlines scalable to any size.
* Stroke fonts use a series of specified lines and additional information to define the profile, or size and shape of the line in a specific face, which together describe the appearance of the glyph.

Bitmap fonts are faster and easier to use in computer code, but inflexible, requiring a separate font for each size. Outline and stroke fonts can be resized using a single font and substituting different measurements for components of each glyph, but are somewhat more complicated to use than bitmap fonts as they require additional computer code to render the outline to a bitmap for display on screen or in print.

A bitmap image can be displayed in a different size only with some distortion, but renders quickly; outline or stroke image formats are resizable but take more time to render as pixels must be drawn from scratch each time they are displayed.

Fonts are designed and created using font editors. Fonts specifically designed for the computer screen and not printing are known as screenfonts.

* 1 Font types
o 1.1 Bitmap fonts
+ 1.1.1 Monochrome fonts vs. fonts with shades of gray
+ 1.1.2 Scaling
+ 1.1.3 Bitmap font formats
o 1.2 Outline fonts
o 1.3 Stroke-based fonts
* 2 Font formats
o 2.1 Type 1 and Type 3 fonts
o 2.2 TrueType font
o 2.3 OpenType font
* 3 See also
* 4 Notes
* 5 External links

[edit] Font types
[edit] Bitmap fonts
An assortment of bitmap fonts from the first version of the Macintosh operating system.

A bitmap font is one that stores each glyph as an array of pixels (that is, a bitmap). It is less commonly known as a raster font. Bitmap fonts are simply collections of raster images of glyphs. For each variant of the font, there is a complete set of glyph images, with each set containing an image for each character. For example, if a font has three sizes, and any combination of bold and italic, then there must be 6 complete sets of images.

Advantages of bitmap fonts include:

* Extremely fast and simple to render
* Unscaled bitmap fonts always give exactly the same output
* Easier to create than other kinds.

The primary disadvantage of bitmap fonts is that the visual quality tends to be poor when scaled or otherwise transformed, compared to outline and stroke fonts, and providing many optimized and purpose-made sizes of the same font dramatically increases memory usage. The earliest bitmap fonts were only available in certain optimized sizes such as 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, 36, 48, 72, and 96 points, with custom fonts often available in only one specific size, such as a headline font at only 72 points.

The limited processing power and memory of early computer systems forced exclusive use of bitmap fonts. Improvements in hardware have allowed them to be replaced with outline or stroke fonts in cases where arbitrary scaling is desirable, but bitmap fonts are still in common use in embedded systems and other places where speed and simplicity are considered important.

Bitmap fonts are used in the Linux console, the Windows recovery console, and embedded systems. Older dot matrix printers used bitmap fonts; often stored in the memory of the printer and addressed by the computer's print driver. Dot matrix printers are still used on carbon paper business forms. Bitmap fonts may be used in cross-stitch.

To draw a string using a bitmap font, means to successively output bitmaps of each character that the string comprises, performing per-character indentation. Also true type fonts, bitmap fonts can be monospaced (i.e.. every character is plotted a constant distance from the previous character that it is next to, while drawing) or proportional (each character has its own width). However, the particular font-handling application determines how each font will be displayed.
[edit] Monochrome fonts vs. fonts with shades of gray

Digital bitmap fonts (and the final rendering of vector fonts) may use monochrome or shades of gray. The latter is anti-aliased. When displaying a text, typically an operating system properly represents the "shades of gray" as intermediate colors between the color of the font and that of the background. However, if the text is represented as an image with transparent background, "shades of gray" require an image format allowing partial transparency.
[edit] Scaling

Bitmap fonts look best at their native pixel size. Some systems using bitmap fonts can create some font variants algorithmically. For example, the original Apple Macintosh computer could produce bold by widening vertical strokes and oblique by shearing the image. At non-native sizes, many text rendering systems perform nearest-neighbor resampling, introducing ugly jagged edges. More advanced systems perform anti-aliasing on bitmap fonts whose size does not match the size that the application requests. This technique works well for making the font smaller but not as well for increasing the size, as it tends to blur the edges. Some graphics systems that use bitmap fonts, especially those of emulators, apply curve-sensitive nonlinear resampling algorithms such as 2xSaI or hq3x on fonts and other bitmaps, which avoids blurring the font while introducing little objectionable distortion at moderate increases in size.

The difference between bitmap fonts and outline fonts is similar to the difference between bitmap and vector image file formats. Bitmap fonts are like image formats such as Windows Bitmap (.bmp), Portable Network Graphics (.png) and Tagged Image Format (.tif or .tiff), which store the image data as a grid of pixels, in some cases with compression. Outline or stroke image formats such as Windows Metafile format (.wmf) and Scalable Vector Graphics format (.svg), store instructions in the form of lines and curves of how to draw the image rather than storing the image itself.

A "trace" program can follow the outline of a high-resolution bitmap font and create an initial outline that a font designer uses to create an outline font useful in systems such as PostScript or TrueType. Outline fonts scale easily without jagged edges or blurriness.
[edit] Bitmap font formats
A bitmap color font for the Amiga OS.

* Portable Compiled Font (PCF)
* Glyph Bitmap Distribution Format (BDF)
* Server Normal Format (SNF)
* DECWindows Font (DWF)
* Sun X11/NeWS format (BF, AFM)
* Microsoft Windows bitmapped font (FON)
* Amiga Font, ColorFont, AnimFont
* ByteMap Font (BMF)
* PC Screen Font (PSF)

[edit] Outline fonts

Outline fonts or vector fonts are collections of vector images, i.e. a set of lines and curves to define the border of glyphs. Early vector fonts were used by vector monitors and vector plotters using their own internal fonts, usually with thin single strokes instead of thick outlined glyphs. The advent of desktop publishing brought the need for a universal standard to integrate the graphical user interface of the first Macintosh and laser printers. The term to describe the integration technology was WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). The universal standard was (and still is) Adobe PostScript. Examples are PostScript Type 1 and Type 3 fonts, TrueType and OpenType.

The primary advantage of outline fonts is that they can be easily transformed by applying a mathematical function to each vector point, scaling them without causing pixellation. Outline font characters can be scaled to any size and otherwise transformed with more attractive results than bitmap fonts, but requires considerably more processing and may yield undesirable rendering, depending on the font, rendering software, and output size.

Outline fonts have a major problem, in that Bézier curves cannot be rendered accurately onto a raster display (such as most computer monitors and printers), and their rendering can change shape depending on the desired size and position.[1] Measures such as font hinting have to be used to reduce the visual impact of this problem, which require sophisticated software that is difficult to implement correctly. Many modern desktop computer systems include software to do this, but they use considerably more processing power than bitmap fonts, and there can be minor rendering defects, particularly at small font sizes. Despite this, they are frequently used because people often consider the processing time and defects to be acceptable when compared to the ability to scale fonts freely.
[edit] Stroke-based fonts

A glyph's outline is defined by the vertices of individual strokes and stroke's profile. Its advantages over outline fonts include reducing number of vertices needed to define a glyph, allowing the same vertices to be used to generate a font with a different weight, glyph width, or serifs using different stroke rules, and the associated size savings. For a font developer, editing a glyph by stroke is easier and less prone to error than editing outlines. A stroke-based system also allows scaling glyphs in height or width without altering stroke thickness of the base glyphs. Stroke-based fonts are heavily marketed for East Asian markets for use on embedded devices, but the technology is not limited to ideograms.

Commercial developers included Agfa Monotype (iType), Type Solutions, Inc. (owned by Bitstream Inc.) (Font Fusion (FFS), btX2), Fontworks (Gaiji Master), which have independently developed stroke-based font types and font engines.

Although Monotype and Bitstream have claimed tremendous space saving using stroke-based fonts on East Asian character sets, most of the space saving comes from building composite glyphs, which is part of the TrueType specification and does not require stroke-based approach.
[edit] Font formats
[edit] Type 1 and Type 3 fonts

Type 1 and Type 3 fonts were developed by Adobe for professional digital typesetting. Using PostScript, the glyphs are outline fonts described with cubic Bezier curves. Type 1 fonts were restricted to a subset of the PostScript language, and used Adobe's hinting system, which used to be very expensive. Type 3 allowed unrestricted use of the PostScript language, but didn't include any hint information, which could lead to visible rendering artifacts on low-resolution devices (such as computer screens and dot-matrix printers).
[edit] TrueType font

TrueType is a font system originally developed by Apple, Inc. It was intended to replace Type 1 fonts, which many felt were too expensive. Unlike Type 1 fonts, TrueType glyphs are described with quadratic Bezier curves. It is currently very popular and implementations exist for all major operating systems.
[edit] OpenType font

OpenType is a smartfont system designed by Adobe and Microsoft. OpenType fonts contain outlines in either the TrueType or Type 1 (actually CFF) format together with a wide range of metadata.

METAFONT uses a different sort of glyph description. Like TrueType, it is a vector font description system. It draws glyphs using strokes produced by moving a polygonal or elliptical pen approximated by a polygon along a path made from cubic Bézier splines and straight line segments, or by filling such paths. Although when stroking a path the envelope of the stroke is never actually generated, the method causes no loss of accuracy or resolution.

The Above Font Information is from Wikipedia.


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