Using software bold vs. true bold fontsUsing software bold vs. true bold fonts


Stop Faking It

What difference does it make whether I use “true bold” or not?

In an experiment with true bold and fake bold, in my page layout program I set some text in bold with and without the bold version installed. See the illustration above the sidebar for the results. I didn’t have Gill Sans Bold installed so the software simply fattened the Gill Sans font a little. After installing the true bold version, the software used it. See the difference in appearance? (The difference may not be as dramatic as this for some fonts.)

Not only does the use of the actual bold or heavy weight fonts make a difference in appearance, it can make a difference in what gets printed. When having a document commercially printed, if the bold version of the font is missing it is possible that the text would not show up at all as bold (fake or true bold) when printed.

Initially, when I tried to create this example by first uninstalling only Gills Sans Bold, my software kept trying to substitute Gill Sans Bold Italic – the closest match it could find on my system.

If you see such oddities, it’s another indication that you don’t have the right font installed.

Which program you use or how you set the trap depends on the number of overlapping objects, whether you are overlapping imported images, and the presence of gradient fills. Those are topics for future lessons in trapping.