Posted by Thomas Phinney
I’ve been noting an interesting trend in recent years for type foundries and vendors referring to a typeface coming in a certain number of “weights” to mean what I would call fonts or perhaps faces. Folks doing this on their web sites include vendors both large and small.
I’d be tempted to just accept this as a change in terminology, but we already have words to express this distinction, and if we change “weights” to mean fonts, then what the heck to we call real weights? By “real weights” I of course mean that a typeface that has light, regular, bold and black weights has four weights – and it still only has four weights even if there are italic and condensed versions of each of those.
I’m not just pointing the finger at other folks here – a departed type marketing manager here at Adobe (who I generally have both respect and affection for, I might add) sometimes used the term “weights” in that fashion, and I suspect it made it into some of our public materials on occasion. But I think we need to reclaim the word for its previous typographic meaning, or else we have just increased ambiguity with no gain in communication. Or am I crazy?