What is a Font ?

Font and Typeface

A font is a graphical representation of text characters in a specific style and size. It is the digital representation of a typeface . A typeface is the collective name of a family of related fonts (such as Verdana), while fonts refer to the weights, widths, and styles that constitute a typeface (such as Verdana Regular, Italic, Bold, etc.). Typefaces describe the overall look of the characters contained within the font . In order to use a font, you must have it installed on your computer.

Example of different types of fonts:

  1. Times New Roman 14 pt bold
  2. Verdana 10 pt italic

There are many different font formats, but most commonly when buying a font online you will get either one of more of the following formats:

  1. OTF (OpenType)
  2. TTF (TrueType)
  3. SVG
  4. EOT (Embedded Open Type)
  5. WOFF (Web Open Font Format)
  6. WOFF2

Difference between OTF and TTF formats?

What is the difference between various font formats

TTF stands for True Type Font , a relatively older font, while OTF stands for Open Type Font Open Type Font, which was based in part on the TrueType standard. Both are file extensions (.ttf,.otf) that are used to indicate that the file is a font, which can be used in formatting the documents for printing. They are distinguished primarily by their different outline formats and the contrasting approaches employed to rasterize those outlines.

Open Type Fonts (OTF)

OpenType is a cross-platform font file format developed jointly by Adobe and Microsoft . The two main benefits of the OpenType format are its cross-platform compatibility, which can be used on both Macintosh and Windows platforms without conversion, and its ability to support widely expanded character sets (up to over 65,000 glyphs per font) and layout features, which provide richer linguistic support and advanced typographic control. OpenType fonts can contain either PostScript or TrueType outlines in a common wrapper.

Open Type Fonts (OTF) support expanded characters which allows for alternate characters and ligatures. This additional space provides type designers with the freedom to include add-ons such as small caps, old style figures, alternate characters and other extras that previously needed to be distributed as separate fonts. Of course, the font designer actually has to include these characters, but as a general rule, most OpenType fonts will include more language-specific glyphs than TrueType or, especially, PostScript Type 1 fonts. So, this is more likely to be a "better" font, as it supports more advanced typesetting features (smallcaps, alternates, ligatures and so on actually inside the font rather than in fiddly separate expert set fonts). Because of wide availability and typographic flexibility , including provisions for handling the diverse behaviours of all the world's writing systems, OpenType fonts are used commonly today on the major computer platforms.

True Type Fonts (TTF)

True Type Font was a joint effort by Apple and Microsoft in the early 1980s, several years after the release of the PostScript font format. Each company has made independent extensions to TrueType, which is used in both Windows and Macintosh Operating Systems . It has long been the most common format for fonts on Mac and Windows operating systems. Moreover, almost all major browsers have supported it. Like Type 1, the TrueType format is available for development of new fonts.

TrueType fonts contain both the screen and printer font data in a single component, making the fonts easier to install. For this reason, TrueType is a good choice for those who have limited experience working with and installing fonts. True Type Fonts (TTF) are clearly readable at any size. Because of that TTFs are good all around files for both on screen viewing and printing purposes.

Which is better?

There are a number of other technical and compatibility differences between the different font formats, but these don't directly affect most designers. OpenType fonts are related to TrueType fonts, but they incorporate a greater extension of the basic character set, including small capitalization, old-style numerals, and more detailed shapes, such as glyphs and ligatures . Moreover, it can also be scaled to any size, are clear and readable in all sizes, and can be sent to any printer or other output device that is supported by Windows. So, OTF is undoubtedly the more robust of the two options. It has more features that are intended to allow typesetters and designers flexibility to provide incremental changes designed to improve the overall look of a piece.

Difference Between Font Formats

True Type Fonts (TTF) are much easier to make and still so much more popular when compared to Open Type Fonts (OTF). If you want a font that prints well and is easy to read on the screen, then consider using a TrueType font (TTF). If you need a large character set for language coverage and fine typography, then you might want to use an OpenType font (OTF). Actually there is really no issue for the end user as almost all modern applications that uses fonts are able to work with TTF and OTF files.

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