I'm sure there's a word referring to the appearance of a written word, such as its font face, whether it's emboldened or not and so on.

I can't remember what it is - can anyone help?

Edit: Some of the responses are only appropriate for printed or typed words. They're close, but not quite what I'm looking for

  • You say you're looking for a word that "describes written text too", yet your question asks for a word that covers characteristics such as font face & emboldening, whereas standard written words (except for calligraphy) does not have such characteristics. So what are you asking for?
    – TrevorD
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 23:24
  • If I leave a hand-written note in which some words are underlined while others are in small caps, is that not a form of text decoration?
    – Fortiter
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 1:17

4 Answers 4



art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible (wikipedia)

  • Close - but what I'm thinking of doesn't necessarily relate to printed text; it describes written text too. I'll have a look through the Wikipedia article though, it could lead me to it
    – jackweirdy
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 19:48
  • 1
    @jackweirdy: You might be interested in orthography, since that includes handwriting as well as printed and other mechanically / electronically produced text. But so far as I know, orthograph itself is just a rare archaic word for [an instance of] handwriting. Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 21:37
  • 1
    Typography can refer to written text also. Have a read here: letterror.com/noordzij/meaning "lexicographic moralism, an attempt to reduce the scope of a word to the meaning it has in an entirely different context" Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 23:26

The appearance of a font is its style.

From Wikipedia:

Each style may still be in a separate "font file"—for instance, the typeface "Bulmer" may include the fonts "Bulmer roman", "Bulmer italic", "Bulmer bold" and "Bulmer extended"...

From W3C:

The font-style property selects between normal, italic and oblique faces within a font family.


The word you are looking for is: typeface

Each font of a typeface has a specific weight, style, condensation, width, slant, italicization, ornamentation, and designer or foundry (and formerly size, in metal fonts) [...] There are thousands of different typefaces in existence, with new ones being developed constantly.

The art and craft of designing typefaces is called type design. [...]The distinction between font and typeface is that a font designates a specific member of a type family such as roman, boldface, or italic type, while typeface designates a consistent visual appearance or style which can be a "family" or related set of fonts. For example, a given typeface such as Arial may include roman, bold, and italic fonts.


In the Web design realm (mine), the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) specification uses font-style to refer to slant or inclination and font-weight to refer to boldness/lightness.

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