Grouping Fonts by Family

A common question we hear in Insider Support is why FontAgent® displays some variants of a font in a separate font family from the base font. The simple answer is that the font’s designer specified different family names in the fonts’ metadata. Does that mean that the designer made an error? No, not at all.

Technically, if two fonts have different shapes, they can be considered to live in separate font families. So it’s not uncommon for italic, condensed and extended versions of fonts to appear in different families.

Regardless of how font shapes appear, FontAgent groups fonts according to the value of the Font Family attribute specified by their font designer. To show you how FontAgent works, note the contrast in how Family Name values appear in the Open Sans and Myriad Pro font families.

The Multi-Family Naming Approach

The Open Sans family from Google Fonts specifies different family names for its regular, light, semi-bold, condensed and extra bold styles. It’s not a hard and fast rule that the fonts have different family names; it’s just the way that their designer specified the fonts’ metadata.

To accurately report the metadata specified in the Open Sans font files, FontAgent displays the various styles as separate families.

The Unified Family Naming Approach

The various styles of Myriad Pro are shaped quite differently, so it wouldn’t be unusual to see the two fonts appear in separate families. In fact, in most cases, condensed versions of fonts appear in their own font family.

But Adobe specifies Myriad Pro as the family name for all their Myriad Pro fonts, including condensed, extended, light, black and every other style of the Myriad family. Accordingly, FontAgent displays the entire Myriad Pro family in one family group.

FontAgent Remains Faithful to Font Metadata

As the old saying goes, every family is different, and the same story is true with fonts. The style and family names chosen by designers make each font family unique. Accordingly, you can depend on FontAgent to organize and display those families in the way their designers intended them to be presented.