URW Font Names Question

seanglenn's picture

In looking at the names of URW's fonts, I see they follow a naming standard, but I was stuck in trying to decipher all the versions.
The typical letters are D, P, L, and E.

I think D is Display, with tighter character and word spacing. P seems to be Poster, with even tighter spacing and a lighter weight in the characters. L, according to some Google searching, is Laser — width compatible with built-in Postscript fonts for use back in the bad old days. I have no idea what E is, however.

Can anyone shed any light onto this?

George Thomas's picture

They also use T, for Text. I have never seen the E used.

hrant's picture

If they have "L" for laser maybe "E" is for "electronic" (AKA digital)?


PabloImpallari's picture

T = Text
D = Display
L = Laserwriter (former core fonts)
M = Monospaced
E = Extreme (extremely wide or tight, very small or big sizes)
P = Poster (extremely large sizes)

seanglenn's picture


Is there a write-up anywhere that suggests what sizes differentiate Display and Poster? 24pt-48pt, and 48pt and up maybe?

Queneau's picture

The poster versions are unusual, because the diacritics overlap the capital letters, so they fit for tight headlines. I have seen it used in newspapers sometimes. I can't really see a use for them otherwise.

From experience the difference between Display and Text are not very big. The display versions are spaced and kerned tighter, the letterforms are usually the same in both cuts (except in Bauer Bodoni, as far as I know)
The others can not really be compared to optical sizes, because the letterforms are not adjusted to smaller point sizes.

I would not pay to much attention to it, actually.

seanglenn's picture

I'm going to be making some suggestions for the typography section of a company styleguide that already includes some URW "D" and "P" fonts, so I wanted get the lowdown on whether I should include instructions for them specifically. The P fonts are definitely thinner than their Text or Display counterparts, with even tighter letterspacing. D appears to be the same characters, just with tighter letterspacing, while the L versions are weird looking to my eye (which makes sense if they were merely going to be subbed out when sent to a printer with embedded fonts).

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