Definition of Typography
The act or art of expressing by means of types or symbols; emblematical or hieroglyphic representation.
The art and craft of designing typefaces is called type design. Designers of typefaces are called type designers. In digital typography, type designers are sometimes also called font developers or font designers. (Ref)
Every typeface is a collection of glyphs, each of which represents an individual letter, number, punctuation mark, or other symbol.
The term typeface is frequently confused with the term font.
What is the difference between Typeface and Font?
According to Mark Simonson a typeface is:
the physical embodiment of a collection of letters, numbers, symbols, etc. (whether it’s a case of metal pieces or a computer file) is a font. When referring to the design of the collection (the way it looks) you call it a typeface. (Ref)
Fonts don’t just display letters as words and sentences. They convey emotion, attitude and tone. They call out what information is most important and help you navigate through a site.
Cameron Chapman sums it up:
The mood of a typeface is an important part of how it should be used. Different typefaces have strikingly different moods. Commonly used moods include formal vs. informal, modern vs classic/traditional, and light vs dramatic. Some typefaces have very distinct moods. For example, Times New Roman is pretty much always going to be a traditional font, which is why it’s so commonly used for business correspondence. Verdana, on the other hand, has a more modern mood.
Some typefaces are more transcendent, and can convey almost any mood based on the content and the other typefaces they’re combined with. Helvetica is often considered one such font.
The following animation Type High is an introduction to the principles of typography through letterpress, to serve as a typography primer for novice students and for classroom instruction. It was a self-initiated project under the guidance of Raphael Attias in his class, Interactive Text, Sound and Image, at RISD. Type High was part of a larger toolkit that allowed students to interact with type anatomy, composition and type in the real world. Produced in stop-motion animation, it explains the grammar of typography in the RISD letterpress shop. The video was made by Lynn Kiang.
Basics of Typography – Great Links
A Crash Course in Typography ( Excellent – all you need to know)
The infographic below presents a history of typefaces, incorporating fun tidbits from tech, pop culture and the web. Do you know what font the Google logo is?