How to Compare (Are these fonts identical)

fncll's picture

I was recently looking at Goudy Old Style MT (as distributed by Adobe) and http://www.theleagueofmoveabletype.com/sorts-mill-goudy and they seem identical to me no matter how hard I look. Is there some way to compare faces beyond simply eyeballing?

altsan's picture

In large part I think you just have to train your eyes to recognize cues that most people simply don't notice. Also, I find it helps a lot to actually print out a sample of text (on the same printer) in both fonts that you're comparing.

As one example, compare an enlargement of the uppercase 'M' in Sorts Mill's versus Monotype's. The ends of the serifs on the baseline taper down and are more rounded off in the Monotype version - Sorts Mill has a subtle concavity on top, ending in a slightly more squarish shape. You can see something similar in the lowercase 'l'. Details like this are invisible to the untrained eye, and even to the trained eye at smallish sizes typical in text... and yet they still make a subtle, subconscious difference in the overall look of the text.

Too, there are differences that have nothing to do with the letter shapes themselves. Letter spacing, contrast of upper-to-lowercase characters, positioning of diacritics, kerning, etc. These are just as much aspects of the font's design and "character" as the individual glyphs. For instance, if I look at the same text printed off in both Monotype Centaur and Bitstream Venetian 301, I find the latter looks rather ragged and homely compared to the former, even though each letter is pretty much identical in shape. (And neither is a patch on the original metal type in my opinion, but that's a story for another day...)

PabloImpallari's picture

Drag and drop both fonts into http://www.impallari.com/testing/ and play around.
You can also type and edit the texts as you like.

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