iLoveTypography’s passion, Ellen Lupton’s dedication and Erik Spiekermann’s obsessions (@typOL) are the most frequent threads weaved on the TypoGrapho tapestry. This book by James Felici helps to step forward : The Complete Manual of Typography : a guide to setting perfect type (Adobe Press).
Terminology is the start of a sound understanding (as of p.29):
When you look at a printed page, you see type. How the letters of that type are shaped and proportioned reflects the design qualities of a specific ‘typeface’. Those designs are stored, embodied, in a ‘font’, from which the typesetting system extracts the information needed to get that type onto the page. Fonts and typefaces are the basic raw materials of typesetting.
Put differently further down on the same page (p. 29) :
No two words in typography are as commonly misused as font and typeface. A typeface is a collection of characters -letters, numbers, symbols, punctuation marks, etc.- that are designed to work together like the parts of a coordinated outfit. A typeface is an alphabet with a certain design. A font, in contrast, is a physical thing, the description -in computer code, photographic film, or metal- used to image the type. The font is the cookie cutter, and the typeface is the cookie.
The following terms have been mingled similarly, up to now:
‘Legibility’ and ‘readibility’ are commonly used words in the world of type. Legibility refers to a reader’s ability to easily recognize letterforms and the word forms built around them. (We don’t read by recognizing one letter at a time, but by recognizing the shapes of whole words and phrases.) ‘Readibility’ refers to the facility and comfort with which text can be comprehended. Text with good readability must also be eligible, but mere ‘legibilty’ doesn’t make text readable. A book is much more likely to be a « page turner » if its type is pleasantly readable -badly set type wears a reader out.
The whole book is as entertaining, clear and informative with many annotated figures.