How Stuff Works. Retrived July 20, 2011, from
“If you are sitting at a Windows or Macintosh computer right now, then you are looking at a
TrueType font as you read this! Fonts are the different styles of typefaces used by a computer to
display text. If you are like most people, you are probably looking at text in many different sizes
and you may even want to print out a document. Early computer operating systems relied on
bitmapped fonts for display and printing. These fonts had to be individually created for display at
each particular size desired. If you made the font larger or smaller than it was intended to be, it
looked horrible. And printed text was almost
always very jagged looking.
In the late 1980s, Adobe introduced its Type 1
fonts based on vector graphics. Unlike bitmapped
fonts, vector fonts could be made larger or smaller
(scaling) and still look good. Adobe also
developed a printing language called Postscript
that was vastly superior to anything else on the
market. Microsoft and Apple were very interested
in these technologies but did not want to pay
royalties to Adobe for something that could become an integral part of both companies' operating
systems. For that reason, Microsoft and Apple joined to develop vector font and printing
technology of their own. In the end, Apple actually developed the font technology, TrueType.
Meanwhile, the print engine being developed by Microsoft, TrueImage, never really got off the
TrueType technology actually involves two parts:
The TrueType Rasterizer
The Rasterizer is a piece of software that is embedded in both Windows and Mac operating
systems. It gathers information on the size, color, orientation and location of all the TrueType
fonts displayed and converts that information into a bitmap that can be understood by the
graphics card and monitor. It is essentially an interpreter that understands the mathematical data
supplied by the font and translates it into a form that the video display can render.
The fonts themselves contain data that describes the outline of each character in the typeface.
Higher quality fonts also contain hinting codes. Hinting is a process that makes a font that has
been scaled down to a small size look its best. Instead of simply relying on the vector outline, the
hinting codes ensure that the characters line up well with the pixels so that the font looks as
smooth and legible as possible.
There are literally thousands of TrueType fonts available, many of them for free on the Web. A
lot of these fonts have simply been scanned and converted from other sources. While most fonts
should be perfectly fine, an improperly created TrueType font can include errors that could
potentially crash your computer. Professionally designed fonts can cost a hundred dollars apiece
but usually are heavily hinted and have been tested at a variety of sizes and angles for optimum
quality. These features are important for advertising firms and publishing houses. For most of us,
the free or inexpensive fonts work just fine. “
Serif and Sans Serif Fonts
Good, Robin,. What are "Serif" and "Sans-serif" fonts?. Retrived July 20, 2011, from
“Fonts are specific variations (like italic, bold, Roman) of one major typeface. Times is a
typeface. Arial is a typeface. Arial bold is a font.
For example, the typeface family Helvetica includes more than 30 different fonts among which
we can list Helvetica, Helvetica Condensed, Helvetica Compressed, Helvetica Extended,
Helvetica Black, Helvetica Light and many others plus all the fonts derived from the declination
of each of these into the plain (Roman), italic (oblique), bold, and bold italic
Technically speaking, each one of the above is a different font. In the every day use and normal
language we have come to accept the word "font" also as a substitute of the word "typeface".
Fonts can be subdivided in two general visual categories: "Serif" and "Sans-serif".
Serif fonts have curls, small appendixes at the end of each letter. From the online dictionary of
Merriam-Webster's "any of the short lines stemming from and at an angle to the upper and lower
ends of the strokes of a letter". These appendixes have the purpose of helping the reader's eye
connect all the sequence of letters.
Serif fonts are mostly used in newspapers and books when text is small and tight.
Serif fonts include: Times, Palatino, Garamond, Century Schoolbook, Book Antiqua, and all
other fonts characterized by tiny appendixes at the end of their forms.
Sans-serif fonts (from the French word "sans" that means without) are all those fonts which have
letters with straight lines and no curls or appendixes. Their letterform is neat, defined, clean.
They are mostly used for titles, captions, callouts, and in general any time there is not too much
text and readability is an issue. Sans-serif fonts are definitely more readable than Serif fonts.
Sans-serif fonts include: Arial, Helvetica, Futura, Tahoma, Avant-Garde, Univers, Century
Gothic, Verdana, and all other fonts characterized by clean letterforms.
When you are about to choose the fonts for your presentation, always remember the distinction
between Serif and Sans-serif. Prefer Sans-serif fonts for titles and text boxes, and any time your
presentation needs to be readable from far.
As a general tip that you will find useful, when you are about to choose a font style, always
remember that not all the fonts can be properly displayed on different operating systems (e.g.
Windows, Macintosh or Unix), different printers (e.g. ink-jet or laser printer), different browsers
(Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator).
Let's make it easier to understand: if I have installed on my laptop some "cool" fonts, let's say
from Corel or Adobe, I see them displayed in the drop-down list, and they are listed with all my
other default fonts.
If I create a presentation using that "cool" font, and then I run the show on a different machine or
try to print it from a standard printer, I may not be able to see the font I had chosen. The
operating system or the printer itself will replace my "cool" but unknown font with a standard
If you want to avoid this, just choose your fonts picking them from the following "universal" font list:
Arial, Verdana, Tahoma for the Sans-serif family, Times New Roman, Garamond, Century Schoolbook for
the Serif fonts. And please have a look also at the article about "bullet" styles, since this last tip is valid
also for the bullets.
Sans Serif T
Never combine more than 2 typefaces per page.
A good combination is to use sans serif for headlines and serif for body.
Multiple typefaces make look a ransom note.