• I expect there are three primary means: 1) an artist who designs a new typeface names it whatever he wishes provided the name is not already associated with another font. 2) a font foundry chooses a name for marketing purposes if they think it will sell better under that name. 3) somebody who creates a "knock-off" of an existing font gives it a similar name to trade on the success of a competitor. Some fonts are named to give some indication of the intent of the design. A name like "cowboy" or "ranch" probably has a western theme. You could probably guess what a font named "newspaper," "fancy script," "weddinginvitation" or "comic strip" might look like... These could fall under any of the three means listed above.
  • Aside from the rules mentioned by another post, there are other rules as well. For example, anything with "times", "roman", "century", "Helvetica", or "schoolbook" in the title is going to look like the font commonly used in newspapers, especially the New York Times' main font, and the font will be "proportionally spaced" (so big letters get big spaces, and thin letters get narrow spaces to fill). Likewise, any variation on "courier" (e.g., "new courier") will look typewriter-ish, and be a "mono-spaced font". There are also general add-on terms in the names, like "monospaced" or "proportional". These suffixes mean, respectively, that "an M takes up the same amount of space as a comma" or the width of the white-space the letter occupies will depend on how wide the letter really IS. This is a pretty important feature, since it can be a pain in the butt to make even columns of numbers UNLESS you're using a monospaced font, but for most regular writing, monospaced fonts look.... weird and sloppy. Nota Bene: monospaced fonts are also called "fixed width fonts". It's also important to recognize that some fonts come in FAMILIES-- a bunch of closely related fonts. For example, "Bodoni" font might have related fonts called "Bodoni Bold" (extra-dark and fat), "Bodoni Italic" (letters are all slanted), and "Bodoni Condensed" (letters all occupy half the width they ought to, so they look squished). You should also look out for the often-used suffix "sans serif". "Sans" means "without", and "serif" means the little stick-out corners on letters. A font (like Times Roman or Helvetica) with Serifs won't advertise the fact-- it's pretty much expected. However, a sans-serif font is a little unusual, so the name may include that suffix. Finally, if we're talking about computers' fonts, it's important to consider the file-name extension. That can tell you alot about how useful a font is. For example, if the extension is BMP (bitmap), then the font is really only gonna look good in one particular size. On the other hand, if the font's file-name ends in TTF (True Type Format), then the font will look really good no matter what size you shrink it to or blow it up to.
  • In addition, the fonts are can either be named after a place or by whatever else this is to determine whether it is a font meant for internet use or for print use. you can use them anywhere, but that was what the original creators used.

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