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What Is a Font Family?

When I taught at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, I remember there was a typography class (taught by someone else) that always had a wait list. During the course of this class, students worked for 14 solid weeks and were "only" allowed to use a single font! This is actually a great way to teach and learn typography. The exercise of working with a single font teaches the benefits of working with a single font family.

Figure 2.67Figure 2.67 A font family is a single font that comes in different styles and weights. This is an example of Triplex, which can be purchased at Here, the condensed, bold, and light faces look different enough, but related. It's possible to create a lot of different design communications using this single font.

Figure 2.68Figure 2.68 If you visit and select the Counterspace menu item, you will find a wonderful Flash movie that describes the anatomy of type. Within this presentation is a section on the artist's favorite fonts. Notice how these studies are made to look so different even though each study uses a single typeface.

Figure 2.69Figure 2.69 By varying the size, weight, and color of a single font, notice how much variation and difference can be achieved.

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