Style naming for font menus

Wondering, has anyone ever had any problems with compatibility, user complaints, or broken functionality by having "unconventional" styles in a single family all nested under one family name?

What I mean by "unconventional" are those styles that don't fit the typical weight or width conventions: Light, Bold, Italic or Oblique, Condensed, etc.

My case is that I'd like to nest styles like (FamilyName) Outline and (FamilyName) Shadow for a display family all with the same family... basically so it's just one family with the style dropdown displaying all of the "unconventional" style together—instead of breaking out into unique, but related families, e.g. FamilyName Outline - Regular, FamilyName Shadow - Regular.

I find it to be cleaner and more organized in font menus (I know Word has some of it's own ways of handling this), but maybe there's a problem with it I'm not aware of?


  • Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 240
    edited February 2017
    Bah, sorry, I'm new to some of this... Don't think I posted in the right category, but didn't see the option to switch when I was writing it.
  • I have one font with the usual four styles, plus a Hand Tooled version. The problem with grouping all five in the same family would be that users might not be aware of its existence. Some applications might not even offer a way for the user to select it. 
  • Thanks @Bhikkhu Pesala ... I hear you. Those are some of the concerns I was wondering about.
  • In a font (TrueType or OpenType), there are several different sets of data for the family and style. Different environments use different name data.

    So, for legacy Windows environments (including older versions of MS Office), you must use a family of no more than four members, Regular, Italic, Bold and Bold Italic being the only options. At least, if you want your font to work properly.

    The open question is what you put in the font for more savvy environments. This is much more open-ended.

    You may if you wish keep these sets of names the same as those required for Windows, so that no "family group" has more than four members, and you have oddities like family = "Glurbish Black" and style = "Regular".

    Or, like most font developers today, you may use them in a typographically savvy way, so you have family = "Glurbish" and style = "Black" and the single Glurbish family may have 4, 6, 8 or 200 members, as needed.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited February 2017
    That's what the slots "Preferred Family" and "Preferred Style" were invented for (at least that's how they are named in FontForge).
    This way simple programs like MS Office will have their legacy four-member families, and more savvy programs like Windows Notepad can utilize the preferred compact modern grouping. (Seriously. Even Word 2016 doesn't recognize multi-member families. Okay, on the other hand, Notepad is not the only savvy app, Adobe programs work like that, too).

    Okay, I tested the above only with modern, though still moderately standard styles like "Semibold" and "Semilight". I don't know if Notepad can handle Outline and Shadow. I guess there has been some problem when I tried to use a "Mediaeval" style in InDesign.
  • Yes, just so. Those slots correspond to Name ID 16 and 17 (unless they happen to be the same as 1 and 2, in which case 16 and 17 could be omitted).

    Note: I don't recommend using non-ASCII characters in font names or styles. So Mediaeval is OK, but not Mediäval.
  • Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 240
    edited February 2017
    Thomas, Adam, thanks very much for your insights and given examples... they are really helpful and appreciated.
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