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What is Font?


A font is a set of displayable or printable characters that have a certain style and size.

Digital fonts may include thousands of glyphs that include characters from different languages. As a rule, a user does not need the whole set of glyphs for all the languages. The user needs a small subset of one or several languages.

What are the characteristics of the font?

Every font possesses some characteristics that make it different from other fonts. Review the list of font characteristics below:

  • Font weight is the thickness of the font characters in relation to their height. As a rule, a font has normal and bold variations, some fonts have four to six different weights, a few have more than 10 different weights. Bolder fonts are used to emphasize important points and headings.
  • Slant typically refers to the slant of the characters to the right (in left-to-right languages). A slanted font is referred to as cursive, italic or oblique type. It’s used to emphasize important points, single out quotes and mimic handwriting.
  • Width of a font depends on the width of the characters. Some fonts have a narrow variant (condensed, compressed fonts) and a wide variant (extended, expanded fonts).
  • Kerning. Some digital fonts are able to be kerned, in this case, the characters of the font fit more closely to each other.
  • Serifs. Serifs are small lines that are attached to the ends of letter strokes. The fonts may be sans-serif (with no serifs), semi-serif or serif.

How to choose the right font?

Choosing the right fonts for a website is pretty important. First of all, you should account for readability and appropriateness of the font. Secondly, you can think of expressiveness and style if they don’t affect the ease of perception. The font choice says a lot about you and your website. Learn more about this here.

Besides Google Web Fonts, there are many other fonts that can be found on the net. You can choose fonts from collections, such as 60 Expressive New Free Fonts, 40 Free Big Bold Fonts for Strong Headlines or 25 Free Fonts to Use with @font-face.

Related terms: typeface, font family, font weight, kerning, serif.

References and further reading: