miyu's picture


This has been bugging for quite some time now, what do all these abbreviations mean? Some I can figure out but there are some that confuses me especially when its the exact same font but with different abbreviations at the end of its name. does typophile have a glossary of these abbreviations?

And why does garamond have an ITC and Adobe version? What's the reason behind that? And other fonts for that matter?


Don McCahill's picture

SC=Small caps LT =Light(??) STD=Standard MM=Multiple Master (an older Adobe technology) ... not sure on the last two.

Keep looking for Garamond's, you will find at least three other cuts, Garamond 3, Simonici, and Stempel. Each foundary tends to create their own version of this revival face, with small to major differences. The two you mention have the greatest difference, with ITC having a very large x-height (ratio of lower case size to cap height). This is usual on most ITC faces. Adobe has a very small x-height.

kentlew's picture

The various initials can indicate a number of different types of things. Some of the most common categories of things indicated are

Foundry: e.g., LT (Linotype), MT (Monotype), ITC (International Typeface Corporation), BT (Bitstream), FF (FontFont), FB (Font Bureau), HTF (Hoefler Type Foundry), etc.

Font Format: e.g., PS (Postscript), TT (Truetype), MM (Multiple Master), OT (OpenType)

Figure style: e.g., OSF (oldstyle figures), LF (lining figures), TF (tabular figures)

Character set or language support: e.g., SC (small caps), CE (Central European), STD (Standard -- generally a basic character set), Pro (Professional -- generally an extended character set with Greek and Cyrillic, depending upon the foundry)

Not a complete listing, but some general context for you.

-- K.

Mark Simonson's picture

LT = Linotype
ITC = International Typeface Corporation

Not sure about MP and MTJB, but here are some others you may come across:

MT = Monotype
BT = Bitstream
MVB = Mark van Bronkhorst
SCOSF = Small Caps / Old Style Figures
D (with URW fonts) = Display
T (with URW fonts) = Text
DC (with URW fonts) = Drop Caps
SM = Softmaker
ICG = Image Club Graphics
CG = Compugraphic
BE = Berthold
OS = Old Style (Figures)
SSI = Southern Software, Inc.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Also: Style Abbreviations and, most notably, Abbreviations for Type Styles and Font Vendors on German

Garamond is the La Paloma of typefaces.

Jan's picture

What’s the difference between lining figures and tabular figures?
They always look the same to me. Never used a typeface that came with both.

Mark Simonson's picture

It is possible to have tabular lining figures. In fact, this us the usual case.

Lining figures are figures that are all the same height (sometimes the same height as caps, sometimes a bit shorter).

There are also old style (also called ranging or lowercase) figures, which have ascenders and descenders, similar to lowercase letters.

Tabular figures are figures that are all the same width, so that they can be used in tables of numbers and line up vertically.

There are also proportional figures, which have different widths for better spacing when used in normal non-tabular text.

Any particular set of figures is (usually) one of these combinations: Tabular lining, proportional lining, tabular old style, proportional old style. There are other possible number styles.

Oisín's picture

«What’s the difference between lining figures and tabular figures?
They always look the same to me. Never used a typeface that came with both.»

Most ‘proper’ OpenType fonts (the Adobe Pro series, for example) all have the four combinations Mark laid out above. In an application like InDesign, or even Pages, you can pick and choose which combination you want to use.

Here’s a quick’n’dirty illustration of the differences, consisting of a reference line (“0123456789”) in each of the four combinations, with a comparison line, consisting of random numbers with lots of 1’s, which are much narrower in proportional numbers:

Jan's picture


OK. Thanks. I got it.

AGL's picture

Florian, Garamond (or Garamont suggested by DR) is La Paloma. Who said that, you?

How many 'abbrerves' will be there in the year 2117?

Florian Hardwig's picture

Who said that

Hi Andre,
yeah, I was referring to the countless (re)interpretations. Music label Trikont has released four compilations, all packed with crazy La Paloma recordings – so far!

AGL's picture

Isn't it something? La Paloma.

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