Font Types, Styles and Families

Font Styles, Types
and Families

What is a font?

A font is a style of typography that includes multiple distinguishing features such as point size, typeface, weight, color, etc. Many individual typefaces have varying features WITHIN the family, typically weight and slant. This is called a font family. Fonts in a particular family can differentiate in weight (light, normal/roman, semi-bold, or bold), or slant (roman being upright, and italic, sometimes called oblique, having a forward tilt).

Font Types

Serif vs Sans-Serif Fonts

A serif font has a slight projection attached to the end of a stroke in a letter, which originated when the Romans inserted the chisel into the substrate to begin the stroke of a letter. Serif fonts are typically more classic/traditional in appearance. SANS is Latin for "without" — Sans-serif fonts tend to be cleaner and more modern in appearance.

I am serif. I am san serif.

Script Fonts

A script font is a more decorative style designed to simulate handwriting or cursive typography. These fonts do not have serifs and the letters often touch each other, similar to cursive script.

Monospaced Fonts

A monospaced font is a font whose letters and characters are each the same width no matter what letter or character. Most fonts are proportional, which means that the width of the space the letter/character occupies changes depending on the letter/character. For example, A '.' or an 'l' is much narrower than a 'G' or 'O', but still occupy the same width space if your font is a monospaced font.

Point Size

Fonts are sized by font point size. The larger the point size, the larger the font will appear. This can vary from font to font. The size of one point has varied over the years, but now days a point is 1/72". In other words, a 72 point size font is 1 inch tall.

Below are some examples of serif, sans-serif, script, and monospace type fonts in different point sizes.

24pt Serif Font
12pt Serif Font
8pt Serif Font
6pt Serif Font
4pt Serif Font

24pt Script Font
12pt Script Font
8pt Script Font
6pt Script Font
4pt Script Font

24pt Sans-Serif Font
12pt Sans-Serif Font
8pt Sans-Serif Font
6pt Sans-Serif Font
4pt Sans-Serif Font

24pt Monospace Font
12pt Monospace Font
8pt Monospace Font
6pt Monospace Font
4pt Monospace Font

Font Weight

Font weight refers to the thickness of the character outlines relative to their height. Most fonts have only two weights (roman and bold), although other fonts (typically sans-serif) can have as many as 12. Some common font weight variations are: thin, light, regular, semi-bold, bold, black, heavy and ultra)

font weight variation examples

Font Families

Some fonts have many variations and styles. These variations and styles are said to be a font family. Fonts in a font family can differ in stroke weight, slant, character width, etc.

Here is an example of a font family: