Font is also known as the style of text used in a document. (e.g. Times New Roman, Arial) All Fonts used in a document may need sent with the native files so the document can be opened and manipulated at the printing manufacturer. Otherwise we will replace with our Times New Roman and the text will rewrap in an unwanted way. The easiest way to avoid rewrapping text or substituted fonts is to change the text to paths. In many design software this is an option found under the Type menu.
Serif Font vs Sans-Serif Size
Font Size should always be considered when placing small text on a colored background or over a busy photo. A minimum of 8pt is easily read in most situations including over colored backgrounds and busy photos. This small white font on a colored background can get hard to read very easily if it is a thin san serif font. (Also referred to as "reversed" type.) Be sure to stick with the 8pt minimum and use a serif font or a thick san serif font on a colored background for best results.
All fonts are actually a type of file that is stored in the computer's font library. On a Windows machine these fonts are located in the Control Panel under the folder named Fonts. On a Mac the machine defalut fonts are located in a folder on the hard drive in a couple different Font Library folders. DO NOT ever delete a "dfont" from a Mac computer. These fonts are part of the actual operating system and should not be moved or deleted at anytime.
Now before we get too deep into the world of font file types, there are a few simple things to remember. On each operating system and each individual computer the actual font file may be slightly different. Even though Arial and Helvetica are very common font styles, every system may have a different version of the same font. Therefore, slight changes to a document may occur when its open on one computer to the next.
Common Font File Types:
Although these are the most common there are several others. (TTC, TFIL, FFIL, LWFN, FFIL, DFONT, AFM, PFA)
Now the real question is: "Which one should be use?"
I know, I know there is no real straight forward answer other than what will you be doing with the document after you send it to the next step, what do you have available on your system, what font file types are available for purchase, and if the program you'll be using the font in is capible of using the extended versions or not. Programs like Quark, Macromedia, Corel and others do not offer the advance support that is needed to utilize the OpenType fonts.
Short answer: For printing purposes, as long as the program used to create the document allows, use OTF-TTF or TTF. These are generally the easiest to find and the most stable.
Files sent to us that were originally set up in Word, Powerpoint and Excel usually have rewrapping type issues. This is caused when we open your document on a our systems, which is not where it was originally created. This type of error can also occur when a file is not packaged correctly out of Quark or InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop.
Common question: "Why does my document look different on the proof from what I sent in?"
Short answer: The text doesn't look the same because our system may have a different version of the same font you used in the original doucment.
Because of the different version of fonts, the text will not appear the same as it may have been intended when you set it up. Sometimes we may ask if you can save your document into a PDF format. This will save time and avoid this potential error on our end.
In other words, many of these types of rewrap issues are created because the computer used to set up the document may have a slightly different version of the font than what we have available in-house. Again, to avoid some of these issues it's best if these documents can be converted into PDFs before submitting them for production.
If submitting Quark, InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop document be sure to package or collect the fonts to submit with the job. Generally if there is a problem with a file it is linked directly to a problem with a font.