Reflecting on Allen Haley’s “Fonts vs. typefaces, explained by a designer”

The terms fonts and typefaces seem to be used interchangeably these days. Admittedly, that’s because their differences have been masked by the advent of desktop publishing. Unfortunately, its hard to really deduce this from Haley’s article, “Fonts vs. typefaces, explained by a designer”. Despite the title, I found the article lacking any real explanation of what make a font versus a typeface.

Instead, I turned to two other articles, Jen Kim’s “Typeface vs Font: What’s the Difference” and John Brownlee’s “What’s The Difference Between A Font And A Typeface?”. The two articles artfully depicted the differences in addition to explaining the meticulous process of crafting a typeface.

In Jen Kim’s article, the differences were explained quite creatively through a designer’s illustration of a typeface twins where each twin may look a like but weigh slightly different. Each twin is a font, and together they form a font family or typeface. It ended up being quite a good analogy for explaining the concepts.

John Brownlee’s article was similar to Allen Haley’s but included pictures that really helped. For someone who’s never actually seen any sort of analog printing equipment, it’s hard to grasp the idea of a typeface or why it would have ever been relevant, so seeing the characters displayed in their rows was a good inclusion.


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