book vs roman?

fncll's picture

I looked on the wiki and searched, but these are such common terms that I can't pinpoint an answer to what I am sure is a remarkably stupid question:

if a font comes with both book and roman faces, what is the difference in use intended to be? Is book optimized for a particular size? It appears a bit heavier...

I'm looking specifically at Didot Elder as an example.

blank's picture

Books weights usually (but not always) have less contrast than their roman counterparts. This makes them more readable for running text.

There are some old threads with lots of details about this. Try using Google with the keyword to find them—the Typophile search engine doesn’t work very well.

Si_Daniels's picture

Book v Roman!? Why fight - just use a Book-Roman...

fncll's picture

Thanks-- the search was more fruitful once I knew that roman and regular were often synonymous...

John Hudson's picture

Using 'roman' to refer to a specific font within a family, e.g. synonymous with regular, seems really dumb to me, since as an adjective it could be legitimately applied to any weight of upright type in the roman style (as distinct from blackletter, civilité, etc.). A 'book' font in this style is just as much roman as any other weight.

Gary Long's picture

I think some of the confusion in the naming of fonts within a family is because some of the terms refer to weight (e.g. light, regular, bold), whereas others I regard more as optical size descriptors (e.g. book, text). When I see a font described as book or text, I expect that it's meant to be used at around 10-12 points in body text. So you could have book (or text) light, book regular, book bold. John Hudson is right: "roman" is simply a style descriptor--i.e. bold roman, bold italic. If there is no style descriptor, it's assumed to be roman.

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