Arial is Not a Font
Arial is a typeface (aka “font family”). In fact, what many people refer to as “fonts” are actually “typefaces.”
The meaning of the word “font” has been butchered since the introduction of desktop publishing in the mid 1980s.
What is the true meaning? Directly from Wikipedia, “… a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface.”
In other words, a font is a specific version of a typeface. Arial is a typeface, and 12-point Arial Italic is a font. 14-point Arial Italic is a different font in the Arial font family.
Changing the size of text on a computer is not a significant amount of work, so it might seem silly to think that you’re actually changing the font when you do this. Especially since we think of the font as just the typeface and not its size or style. But, this terminology made a lot of sense before desktop publishing.
The first printing presses used characters that were carved from wood and arranged in order to form a complete sentence, although they were glyphs rather than Latin characters.
This evolved into more modern systems that used metal characters that were more durable. At that time, changing the size of a typeface was a lot of work — it meant you had to pull all of the letters out and reassemble the words with a different set of metal pieces.
It was very expensive for a printer to have multiple styles and sizes of characters available for their press. When a printer bought a new font they would specifically order the typeface (Times, Arial…etc), size (10-point, 12-point…etc) and style (bold, italic…etc).
There was two drawer case for storing each font. The capital letters were in the upper drawer and the other characters were in the lower drawer. That’s why we call them “upper case” and “lower case” letters.
Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton