I am confused by the way these terms are used in the context of typography for web applications? Is there an accepted use of these terms and what is the difference when it comes to specifying the look and feel of the content on a webpage?
Type Family – You didn’t mention this but it’s important. The design of all the characters comprised of a family and all its encompassing faces. Helvetica is a type family. Helvetica Condensed is a type family, Myriad Pro is a type family, etc.
Typeface – the specific weight or instance of a particular family. I.E. Bold, italic, oblique are all typefaces. Typeface is generally referred to by family + face. For example Helvetica Bold Italic would be referred to as the typeface where
Helvetica is the Family and
Bold Italic is the face.
Font – Refers to the computer software file which contains information regarding the display and output of a typeface. You choose a font from the typeface menu. Fonts only exist on a computer. In the world today many use the word “Font” incorrectly — “oh, I like that font.” is wrong. It should be “Oh, I like that typeface.” However, “Which font did you pick for that Photoshop design?” would be correct. Whereas, “What font is used in this logo?” is incorrect (should be typeface).
Font Face – (somewhat interchangeable with typeface) the face of the type family. For example
Italic are a face where as
Helvetica would be the family. Referencing “font”, font face specifically refers to the software used to render a particular face of a family – You may have
Helvetica bold as a font face, but not