What is the proper name to each Weight? What's for CSS 550?

Pedro MascarenhasPedro Mascarenhas Posts: 19
edited March 22 in Technique and Theory

Thanks to the contribution of type designers around the world TyMS Weight thesis is almost completed. You can see the TypeDrawers discussion at "What is the proper name to give to each Weight?" or you can take a look to the full thesis in TyMS website. Thanks to Ralf Herrmann this thesis is also open to discussion in his blog, Typography.Guru.

A weight that no one has yet found an appropriate name for, is the weight corresponding to CSS 550, between the Medium 500 and Demibold 600. Do you have a proper name for this step? Please give your contribute.


Comments

  • I'm glad that you removed the "Fatness" weight :) I have a few comments: SemiBold and DemiBold sound as the same thing to me... Also I don't understand why the SemiLight is placed after Light. In my understanding a reasonable progression would be UltraLight, ExtraLight, SemiLight and Light.
  • Rafael.
    Many type designer told me that Demi is between to weights bur Semi is almost the next weight, thats the difference.
    About SemiLight, i totally agree with you but its a lost cause. From my point of view (and the general public point of view) SemiLight should be lighter then light because we see the axis from the lighter to the boldest. But the professionals, fundamentalists of the hardened rules of typographic design, argue that the axis starts at Regular, so it is from this weight that weights evolve to thinner or thicker. I argue with many about this but...
  • No ideas about 550?
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,082
    Medium Bold? Medium Plus?
  • Vasily DraigoVasily Draigo Posts: 16
    edited March 22
    No ideas about 550?
    Maybe just Middle? This is the exact middle between Regular and Bold. Regular and Bold are the two most basic styles and their middle style will be called the Middle.
  • From my point of view (and the general public point of view) SemiLight should be lighter then light because we see the axis from the lighter to the boldest.
    Do you have any actual evidence to support that this is the general public's point of view?
  • André. Good question.
    To make this thesis i made many studies, in one of them i give to my family, my friends and friends of my kids small papers (people who do not not nothing about type). Each paper had one weight name that i found in  the menus' of the type apps. I did this in english and in Portuguese. Then i ask them to put the papers in the order they think more logic. All of them (100%) put UltraLight before DemiLight and DemiBlack before UltraBlack. Also SemiLight after DemiLight and before Light. The most confused for them was the name Book.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,681
    You might consider factoring lower case stem width into your cap-centric formula.

    Tyces with a small x-height, such as Futura, Avenir and Bernhard Modern, have relatively narrow PSTs in their assigned Regular weights, which would make their default style Light or Semi-Light according to your system, which can’t be right.
    This is because workhorse tyces which are intended for substantial mixed case use target that as the default, with overall text weight the consideration, not just cap weight. So their “primary” stem is lower case, not cap.

    Similarly, tyces with caps that are significantly heavier-stemmed than lower case will veer the other way, with Gill Sans Bold being Extra Bold in your system.


  • Nick.

    You have a point there.

    When i started my study i also went into the world of lower case, but soon i found that is a blind alley, because of the so many "and if".

    Also as you can read in the thesis at 1.1. The Primary Stem Thickness: "1. many fonts only have capital letters 2. the bolder weights are not as visually bold as the number indicates, 3. lower case method is often corrupted when Type designers wish to create variations with different x-height.

    As you can see in the example below, designers usually choose to maintain the same thickness on the stems."


  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,999
    In your TyMS weights table:
    • the thing you call “em” is thousandths of an em.
    • Variable fonts do not use percentages as shown, but rather values synonymous with OpenType/CSS weightclass numbers. So you have two columns that ought to be the same single column.
  • Thomas.

    The weight sliders of the apps for variable fonts don't have yet a rule. They change from app to app or from designer to designer. This is still something to think about in the future. See the examples at https://v-fonts.com/.

    TyMS table is just trying to start some logical match between a ccs and a % slider.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,681
    designers usually choose to maintain the same thickness on the stems
    Not I. These are all “Regular” weight.
    As you can see, I made the cap stems thinner, the smaller the x-height.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,082
    Each paper had one weight name that i found in  the menus' of the type apps. I did this in english and in Portuguese. Then i ask them to put the papers in the order they think more logic. All of them (100%) put UltraLight before DemiLight and DemiBlack before UltraBlack. Also SemiLight after DemiLight and before Light.

    I might do likewise if a) I didn’t have any experience of typographic practice and b) was asked to arrange a sequence from one end to another. Of course people are going to begin that task by trying to identify one end or the other of the sequence, and think about it in terms of progressing to the other. If, on the other hand, you presented someone with Regular and asked them to arrange the sequence of other names around it, then you might get different results because people would see the sequence as stepping towards Light in the same way as it steps towards Bold, via Semi.
  • André. Good question.
    To make this thesis i made many studies, in one of them i give to my family, my friends and friends of my kids small papers (people who do not not nothing about type). Each paper had one weight name that i found in  the menus' of the type apps. I did this in english and in Portuguese. Then i ask them to put the papers in the order they think more logic. All of them (100%) put UltraLight before DemiLight and DemiBlack before UltraBlack. Also SemiLight after DemiLight and before Light. The most confused for them was the name Book.
    The name of the weights does not go up from the lightest to the heaviest as it might seem. Regular is the most basic weight, after which everything goes in ascending order, and before it everything goes in descending order, in this case SemiLight precedes Light weight. 
  • Nick.

    You can assign weight names to your fonts as you like, but that don't means that the consumers don't get confused.

    It's obvious, from the point of view of consumers that the four examples you posted are not all Regular and the top left example does not fit in the category of "normal" fonts, but instead in the category of "unconventional" fonts (see TyMS website) because of the ratio between uppercase and lowercase. At first glance, the top left font, of your example, looks lighter then the others but in reality it's not because if you compare all of them with the lowercases with the same height you will see that it is a little bolder.

    If you use TyMS Weights rules to advise you the correct weight name to give to each examples it will be like this:
    Top Left: Medium
    Top Right: Regular
    Bottom Left: SemiLight
    Bottom Right: Regular

     
  • Mark.

    Good to have such a wise and thoughtful contribute.

    In my day-to-day life as an art director, when I talk about fonts, I'm constantly having to change the chip. With my clients, I say "like Helvetica or like Times" (they don't know what is sans or serif), thin or bold, simple or "different", more than this is "alien" for them. With the designers, we treat fonts by name and the weights also by name, Light, Regular, Bold, etc. With web designers, I speak to them about a font name and they ask me "where is it in free Google fonts?", I speak to them about a size in points and they ask me "what in px or percentages or em", I speak to them in bold and they ask me "what number?". It is due to this panoply of terms that it seems to me that we still have to keep the numbers associated with the names.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,681
    Pedro,

    There is some merit in your idea, but it misses an important purpose of weight names, which is to inform typographers how a font will work, and how a typeface family performs as a whole—not how individual members measure up against members of other families or some abstract metric.

    Rather than profile individuals according to stereotypical measurements, a more “woke” method is to present individuals according to the niche the type designer intends them for, and how they fit into their own particular family.

    The Regular is the default of a typeface family, tuned to the intended niche. The other weights are named relative to that.

    Function, not superficial appearance.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,110
    Wouldn’t low-contrast/monoline types visually read as bolder than high contrast types of the same stem thickness?
  • Craig.

    Good question.
    Yes, sans fonts usually looks bolder than serif fonts with the same primary stem thickness. That happens, for example, in Meta but with Milo i'm not so sure.
    But, as you know designers use the the same (or almost the same) primary stem thickness, and the same weight name, when they design families with sans and serif styles. One more reason why TyMS thesis works well!


     
  • edited April 5
    It's called HemiDemiBold. Sorted.

    Seriously though, I don't think that there can be any difference between demi and semi, and if anything demi is more than semi, hemi is definitely half of something, semi is almost always half of something, demi is the only of the three that isn't clearly read as "half".

    I think we should just give up and use the numbers for everything that isn't medium, bold, hairline, or black.
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