Posts in category sans-serif - page 6

ZX Palm

The original Palm Pilot went on sale in March 1996 and sported 128kb of RAM, a 16Mhz Motorola MC68328 processor, and a tiny 160x160 monochrome display. Such a low-res display necessitated a small bitmap font, and the 16MHz CPU meant they could easily take advantage of proportional rendering to squeeze even more on-screen.

The crispy clean font they came up with remained unchanged through many years of Palm’s success across many devices until the platform moved to Windows CE.

I recreated the font using BASIN, and it is almost identical except for a few tweaks to the descenders. I transposed both the regular weight and bold weights. To take full advantage of these fonts, you should use a proportional renderer such as FZX.

ZX OCR-B

Adrian Frutiger designed OCR-B for Monotype in 1968 as a more human-friendly alternative to OCR-A now that machines were getting better at optical character recognition. It can still be found today on the bottom of bar codes and the machine-readable part of passports.

I created this liberal adaptation on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3 using the Artist II in the late 1980s. Given the lack of strong visual cues, it could be easily mistaken for a sans-serif, although the numeric glyphs still shine through.

It is suitable for any scenario where a clean machine-influenced look is desirable.

ZX SEMI

SEMI is an OCR font designed by SEMI.ORG for use in character recognition on printed circuit boards in 2006.

I made this liberal bitmap-only 8x8 adaptation after somebody requested it on one of the Spectrum forums. It takes more than a few cues from OCR-A but goes off in its own direction.

The actual font is upper-case only, so I’ve had to imagine what the lower-case would be like in-order to provide a full usable set.

This font works surprisingly well for most use cases.

ZX OCR-A

American Type Founders designed the OCR-A font in 1968 to aid machines in recognizing the characters optically long before advanced OCR technologies were available. The goal was to be both machine and human-readable, and it was a great success and is still used today in a variety of places despite being followed by the more human-friendly OCR-B.

I created this liberal adaptation on the Sinclair Spectrum +3 using Artist II in the late 1980s. The distinctive style shines through even at this tiny size.

This font works well if you want a dated view of technological progress.