Book, Regular, Medium

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Comments

  • Normal is not a good name to use, worse than Regular. To me, both imply something is wrong, somewhere.
    Extra Light has always meant exactly that: lighter than Light.
  • I think SemiLight conveys the idea of a weight that's a bit lighter than regular.
  • edited October 2019
    I don’t know about Regular being wrong. It’s pretty common out there now. But maybe Roman would be better.
    A while back I wrote down comparisons to figure out a trend, but there appears to be none. Virtually all font families seem to have Bold weights, but when it comes to the lighter weights, it varies a lot.
    Helvetica Neue: Ultra Light, Thin, Light, Roman, Medium, Bold, Heavy, Black
    Gotham: Thin, Extra Light, Light, Book, Medium, Bold, Black, Ultra
    Circular: Book, Medium, Bold, Black
    Gilroy: Thin, Ultra Light, Light, Regular, Medium, Semi Bold, Bold, Extra Bold, Black, Heavy
    Avenir: Light, Book, Roman, Medium, Heavy, Black
    Cera: Thin, Light, Regular, Medium, Bold, Black
    Proxima Nova: Thin, Light, Regular, Medium, SemiBold, Bold, ExtraBold, Black
    Univers: Light, Roman, Bold, Black
    FF Mark: Hairline, Thin, Extra Light, Light, Regular, Book, Medium, Bold, Heavy, Black
    As far as I can tell, FF Mark and Avenir use a range very similar to my own current setup. Interesting is Gilroy, which puts Heavy behind Black, unlike Helvetica Neue. Notably, Book is lighter in Avenir and heavier than Regular in FF Mark.
    Adrian Frutiger chose to have Book and Roman next to one and another, and the Book variant is lighter than the Roman one. How can I argue with him? ;)

  • I don’t know about Regular being wrong. It’s pretty common out there now. But maybe Roman would be better. 

    But would that be accompanied by a Roman Italic?  :s
  • But would that be accompanied by a Roman Italic?  :s
    What I found was that most families have Roman, Italic, standing by themselves. So Instead of Roman, it’s just Italic with the Italic family, but of course, there’s Light Italic, Bold Italic, etc.
    I begin to understand this is an unsolveable issue and more based on what type designers feel is right, rather than logic. Maybe I should give up on all weight names and use Frutigers number system instead.
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 71
    If you're going to introduce "Normal" too, you may as well go all in with Normal, Regular, and Medium.

    Here's a thought, what about "Slight"? That could become popular. It's a single real word with an appropriate meaning, but also strongly implies "semi-light" or "slightly light".
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,532
    Here is a short essay I wrote on this topic, at Quora.
  • Conventionally, "Light" and "Bold" are directions on a continuum away from "Regular", so weight names like "Extra Light" and "Semibold" and "Extrabold" are easy to understand. Weight names that don't follow this implied system, like "Medium" and "Book", don't have obvious meanings.

    FWIW, the common use of the name "Regular" is something fairly new. If you look at pre-digital type specimen books, you won't find it used much. Normally, there would be no weight name at all for what we call "Regular" now. But since digital fonts have to have a weight name, we end up with a lot of "Regular".
    I guess the key point is here as highlighted by Mark. But how it would be better to call an "average" weight which stands between the Lighter in weight and the Bolder/Extra Bold/Ultra Bold etc?

    If "Regular" is not satisfying, and "Book" can be ambiguous, probably it would be great to find an alternative to "Medium", to indicate a normal weight suitable for text.
  • Helvetica Neue: Ultra Light, Thin, Light, Roman, Medium, Bold, Heavy, Black
    Gotham: Thin, Extra Light, Light, Book, Medium, Bold, Black, Ultra
    Circular: Book, Medium, Bold, Black
    Gilroy: Thin, Ultra Light, Light, Regular, Medium, Semi Bold, Bold, Extra Bold, Black, Heavy
    Avenir: Light, Book, Roman, Medium, Heavy, Black
    Cera: Thin, Light, Regular, Medium, Bold, Black
    Proxima Nova: Thin, Light, Regular, Medium, SemiBold, Bold, ExtraBold, Black
    Univers: Light, Roman, Bold, Black
    FF Mark: Hairline, Thin, Extra Light, Light, Regular, Book, Medium, Bold, Heavy, Black
    I think "Regular" could be the one which makes more sense as a normal weight intended for general use (or extensive textsetting).
    Using "Roman" gives no actual indication about the weight and evokes more cultural and related-to-Latin-script elements.
    Using "Medium" could be fine if an intermediate weight between "Regular" and "Bold" is needed, but instead I would stick with using "Light" and adding "Thin", to avoid "Medium" which is generic and not much descriptive.

    At least, this is the solution which sounds less equivocal to non-native English ears like mine.
  • In any case, I find that it's best not to get too hung up on naming. Obviously, it's best to be clear as possible. For better or worse there are no universal standards, and (happily, in my opinion) there is room for creativity and variation (even whimsy), and usually it is possible to see a sample of the font, not just the name, to make things perfectly clear.
    Of course, but I can see Henning's concern to have a somewhat systematic weight naming layout, to keep things sorted.
    So I think the discussion is useful anyway.

    I am faced with the problem right now that I am trying to design a family with some weights variant in order to hopefully start a library of my typefaces to sell. :)
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,521
    edited October 2019
    I do use Semilight for Ysabeau simply because I've run out of sensible weights to use — there's just too much parameter space to cover between Hairline and Black! Though looking at it now, I see I didn't use Book. I should probably change that.
    (I personally like the Book weight name — it's warm and evocative. Also, I'm kinda hoping somebody will eventually print a book in it. :grimace:)

  • I quite like the naming system. For some reason "Ultra" for me evokes the most darkest weight, but I see you used "Ultrabold", while "Ultra" would be "Ultra", period. (Here: "Ultrablack"). :)
  • Bigelow & Holmes has an interesting page about weight naming, here:
    https://bigelowandholmes.typepad.com/bigelow-holmes/2015/07/on-font-weight.html

  • Bigelow & Holmes has an interesting page about weight naming, here:
    https://bigelowandholmes.typepad.com/bigelow-holmes/2015/07/on-font-weight.html

    I like how they use consistently "Extra" and "Ultra" to indicate further extremizations of the weight, i.e. "Extralight" as lighter than "Light" and "Extrabold" as bolder than "Bold".
    "Normal" is always confusing, IMO, although it can be seen as an alternative to "Regular".
  • (I personally like the Book weight name — it's warm and evocative. Also, I'm kinda hoping somebody will eventually print a book in it. :grimace:)
    I can relate to that!
  • I like how they use consistently "Extra" and "Ultra" to indicate further extremizations of the weight, i.e. "Extralight" as lighter than "Light" and "Extrabold" as bolder than "Bold".
    "Normal" is always confusing, IMO, although it can be seen as an alternative to "Regular".
    Perhaps there is a tighter entanglement with our cultural backdrop than we may assume. “Regular” seems “average”, or “Medium” in clothing sizes. It seems to refer to size rather than the weight.
    “Normal” has a similarly problematic connotation. It sounds like “normal people”, versus “crazy people” (as in type designers geeking out on weight names I guess?). ;)
  • I like how they use consistently "Extra" and "Ultra" to indicate further extremizations of the weight, i.e. "Extralight" as lighter than "Light" and "Extrabold" as bolder than "Bold".
    "Normal" is always confusing, IMO, although it can be seen as an alternative to "Regular".
    Perhaps there is a tighter entanglement with our cultural backdrop than we may assume. “Regular” seems “average”, or “Medium” in clothing sizes. It seems to refer to size rather than the weight.
    “Normal” has a similarly problematic connotation. It sounds like “normal people”, versus “crazy people” (as in type designers geeking out on weight names I guess?). ;)
    Of course, but to get past simple impressions, before reconsidering and favoring "Regular" over "Normal" I just look at the main meanings of the words.
    "Regular" might evoke certain clothing things in English (not as its precise equivalent "Regolare" in Italian, for example) but it means that it conforms to a set of proportions and to homogeneous proportions (i.e. not too light or bold) and thus I find it more fit than "normal" that, as you say, immediately relates to a person's behaviour and the idea of normality.
  • And no… I do not consider this a "trivial" discussion, in fact I think it’s very useful and helps to organize things in a tidier way. :-)
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,206
    edited October 2019
    In the context of type, I don't think "Regular" has any other meaning than "normal". The fact that it has become the standard word for the "normal" style argues for continuing to use it. "Normal" sounds a bit abnormal as a weight name. :smile:

    (Sometimes I wish Frutiger's number system had caught on.)
  • In the context of type, I don't think "Regular" has any other meaning than "normal". The fact that it has become the standard word for the "normal" style argues for continuing to use it. "Normal" sounds a bit abnormal as a weight name. :smile:

    (Sometimes I wish Frutiger's number system had caught on.)
    In italian it sounds nicely, although you would not use the italian word ("Regolare"). But neither "Normale" for that matter…
    When italian names were the norm, you had "serie chiara" ("light") and "serie neretta" (a "demibold") but no intermediate names.

    Frutiger's number system is fascinating, but so are the classic weight names. For classic serif faces I like "Roman" if it wasn’t so evocative of the Latin alphabet.
  • I believe that the word that is wanted here is “standard,” meaning :

    1. “Something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model”;

    2. “an object that is regarded as the usual or most common size or form of its kind”;

    3. “a rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment”;

    4. “an average or normal requirement, quality, quantity, level, grade, etc.”

    These definitions describe precisely what we are intending to say, without reference to a particular style of the letterforms. The word itself is the same in Italian (though “norma” would be the word of choice), German, Russian, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Dutch, and in an equivalent form, “estándar,” in Spanish. Regular has a lot of cognates, too, but not as many. “Normal” would be a better term than regular, in my opinion.

    I have a feeling that the use of “regular” may have come about in a meeting held in English, but attended by a number of people who were not native speakers. It was “good enough” for the moment, but not the best choice that could have been made.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,532
    My “standard”, used for Beaufort, Bodoni Egyptian, Brown, Figgins and Sense and Sensibility:

    Thin, Extra Light, Light, Regular, Medium, Semi Bold, Bold, Heavy*, Extra Bold, Black, Extra Black.

    I’ve flirted with “Heavy”, e.g. for adding weights to families that already had a Bold and Extra Bold, but needed something in between.




  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,206
    edited October 2019
    I usually put Heavy between Extra Bold and Black. This way I retain the option to use Extra Heavy. I think Heavy is less standardized compared to other weight names.
  • I don't use Thin because I don't know where it stands among ExtraLight and UltraLight. I know where it stands on PANOSE but UltraLight already sounds like the ultimate Light. If I need to go even lighter, there's Hairline. Hairline could also be used as the name of a variable font axis to adjust the baldness of emoji heads.
  • I believe that the word that is wanted here is “standard,” meaning :

    1. “Something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model”;

    2. “an object that is regarded as the usual or most common size or form of its kind”;

    3. “a rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment”;

    4. “an average or normal requirement, quality, quantity, level, grade, etc.”

    These definitions describe precisely what we are intending to say, without reference to a particular style of the letterforms. The word itself is the same in Italian (though “norma” would be the word of choice), German, Russian, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Dutch, and in an equivalent form, “estándar,” in Spanish. Regular has a lot of cognates, too, but not as many. “Normal” would be a better term than regular, in my opinion.

    I have a feeling that the use of “regular” may have come about in a meeting held in English, but attended by a number of people who were not native speakers. It was “good enough” for the moment, but not the best choice that could have been made.

    These are good points. Ultimately it becomes in part subjective.
    The reason for which I like "Regular" better is that it refers to a "rule", not perceived negatively as an "imposition" bur rather in its original meaning of "according to proportions" between elements.
  • What this discussion has revolved around is taxonomy versus ambiguous, evolutionary terminology in various languages (which by themselves have various roots in other languages, such as Roman, Greek, etc.).
    Frutiger tried to apply a numeric taxonomy in Univers and the move was widely criticised, as well as admired, ever since. I see his point though that numbers provide an easy, logical way to identify where a font-weight stands between others. Taking this approach, one could argue it would be best to use 400, 500, 700, 900 etc. for the weights respectively (Hikari 400 in my case, instead of Hikari Book).
    This doesn’t change that without context, the designer using the font won’t know automatically if there are bolder or lighter weights of the font family. They might see it in the font selector menu, depending on the application they’re using. But out of context, font weights are hard to classify if they don’t have reference points above and blow on the scale.
    Hoefler’s playful reference to a different scaling system in popular culture (boxing) was not just whimsical. It worked for everyone who had basic knowledge of the boxing sport.
    The question remains if the problem can be solved with a term that stands by itself (say, if one only ever sees Hikari Book and nothing else), or if it is fine as long there are other weight names next to it, which may still be ambiguous, but at least they provide context.
    In this case, it becomes irrelevant whether we prefer Regular, Normal or Roman because the other weights and the optical identification (“it looks bolder”) will automatically set the reference. 
    When was the last time a graphic designer said: “I don’t know what this Roman font is inside the Avenir set; I don’t see the difference.”…
  • I don't use Thin because I don't know where it stands among ExtraLight and UltraLight.
    I expect all the Lights to form a contiguous sequence, and Thin to be lighter than those.
  • One problem with using "Roman" as a weight name: It is generally taken to mean "not italic" or "upright". We speak of fonts as having "roman" and "italic" styles.
  • K Pease said:
    If you're going to introduce "Normal" too, you may as well go all in with Normal, Regular, and Medium.

    Here's a thought, what about "Slight"? That could become popular. It's a single real word with an appropriate meaning, but also strongly implies "semi-light" or "slightly light".
    ... "Slightly-Bold", "Slightly-Italic".
    I like it!
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