[update. I got pinged about a broken link in this post, which i have now updated. thanks to Art of Blog, which has this useful post about choosing a typeface for the body copy in your site. To be honest, the main thing about reading my own post again, is it sets my teeth a bit on edge, because i keep saying font where I mean typeface. People use them interchangeably, which is fine until someones explains the difference – damn you Kelsey Breseman!
Think of a typeface as the ‘design’ of the design of the alphabet, the shape of the letters that make up the typestyle. The letters, numbers, and symbols that make up a design of type. So when you say “Arial” or “Garamond” you’re talking about a set of letters in a specific style, a ‘typeface’.
What is a font?
Think of a font as the digital file that contains/describes the typeface. Think of the font as a little piece of software that tells the computer and printer how to display and print the typeface.