Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Which characters should be used for comparing fonts?

Recommended Posts

Most characters look very similar in different fonts while a few apparently leave more room for the designers. Recently, we had the topic about 起 (open or closed 己), but there is also 真 (edit: 直) which can have another stroke at the bottom or the 道 with an extra dot at the left side. Then there are different styles e.g. for Taiwan and Mainland China. The number of characters included in the font is also relevant.


So my question is: which characters

1) look very different in some fonts (so that a beginner might think they are different characters)

2) can be used to identify the style (e.g. 艹 with three or four strokes)

3) could be used as an indicator for the scope of the font (e.g. no or limited traditional characters)


I am only talking about standard fonts, no seal script or anything like that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

3.  Scope of font:

Most of the "traditional" fonts from the mainland have many traditional characters missing.  It's better to use a font from Taiwan or Hong Kong to display traditional characters.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

2. Identify the style

Do you mean between kaishu, xingkai, xingcao, caoshu, lishu, zhuanshu? For the last last two, any character would look different from other styles. For caoshu, most characters are different.  For xingcao, almost any character with more than three or four strokes would look different from the standard kaishu.  For xingkai, take characters with 木, 礻,礻on the left, or 豕 (家,豬, ⋯⋯), or 氵, 心 at the bottom or left 忄, 火 at the left or bottom, 灬 , 雨 on the top, .......


This is not an exact science, as there are no standards (or popular accepted standards) for the different styles ither than kaishu.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the suggestions so far.


Regarding 2. I think the last two styles are not that relevant in daily usage. Actually, I just wanted to see if the font is in simplified style or traditional style, some fonts contain all the traditional characters but don't distinguish between 月 moon and meat. But I guess if I look at characters containing 月 or 艹 it should be easy to identify.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Part of the standards. Unicode differentiates some of them but not others, e.g. I can type 値 without specifying font, but not 直 with the L-shaped stroke.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...