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Marking time in March 2011

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Typefaces & fonts

Just the other day I was sounding off about the improper use of the term font in computer software menus. In the language of printing a font, or fount, used to be a complete set of type of a particular face and size. So a better term to put on the computer menu would be type face if more than one size is available, or type family if there are variants such as bold or italic. I wondered who had misappropriated such a usefully particular word.

Today I discovered who the culprit was. His name was Jef Raskin and, according to his son Aza Raskin, he invented the Macintosh. Aza says that his father misnamed what should be the “typefaces” menu the “fonts” menu. He never forgave himself for his incorrect usage of English. He groomed with exacting use of language and considered that mistake a failure of being young and reckless with semantics. Now I have forgiven him already.

A California job case, designed to hold a font of type. [wikimedia commons].

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