Which Font is that?

August 11, 2023
Which Font is that?

Over the years we have heard clients use the term ‘font’ in many different ways.

Its origins come from the Latin word fundere (“melt, cast, pour out”), as in the pouring of metal into moulds such as is used to create a metal type blocks. The word “font” was first used in the 1680s by European type foundries, which manufactured metal and wood typefaces for printing and refers to “a complete set of characters of a particular face and size of type”.

Therefore if you refer to 24 point Helvetica Bold as a particular font, then you are absolutely correct. The typeface (sometimes referred to as a type family) is Helvetica.

Here is some more fun facts about metal cast type.

Metal cast type revolutionised printing and played a pivotal role in the spread of knowledge during the Renaissance. First developed by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century, his invention transformed the recording written language from the laborious process of hand-copying manuscripts into a more efficient and scalable process. Gutenberg's movable type consisted of individual characters cast from a durable metal alloy, typically a combination of lead, tin, and antimony.

Each letter, punctuation mark, or space was crafted as an individual piece, allowing printers to arrange and rearrange them easily. This modular approach significantly expedited the printing process compared to traditional woodblock printing. Printers could assemble the type into pages, ink them, and then press them onto paper, producing multiple copies with consistent quality.

The metal cast type facilitated the mass production of books, making literature more accessible to a broader audience. It played a pivotal role in the spread of ideas, the democratisation of information, and the rise of literacy across Europe. Gutenberg's invention laid the foundation for the printing revolution, shaping the modern world by freeing the exchange of knowledge and contributing to cultural and intellectual advancements.

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