Posts in category typography - page 7

Windows font evolution

Vista and Office 2007 are interesting as they provide major user interface work that also includes new sets of fonts. I thought it would be interesting to show the evolution of the various styles.


Times New Roman has been the default typeface in Microsoft Word since version 1 and was originally designed for printing newspapers on high speed printing machines whilst still retaining legibility.

Curiously enough whilst Office 2007 provides a couple of new serif typefaces the default has switched to the sans-serif font Calibri although a number of the the themes within Office 2007 utilize these typefaces.

Serif font evolution in Windows


The infamous Helvetica clone Arial primarily used for on-screen document-type work and even used in some applications user-interfaces throughout the years gives way to two new lighter fonts that like most of the new ‘C’ named typefaces rely on ClearType to look legible at small sizes.

Calibri is now the default font of choice for Word documents and will therefore probably become a familiar typeface in a short space of time.

Sans-serif font evolution in Windows


Primarily used for programming and other environments that require it. At least all those programmers too lazy to try something else will enjoy Consolas as standard in Visual Studio 2007.

Monospace font evolution in Windows

User interface

The Windows user-interface switches to a new font once again despite large chunks of the Windows UI never making it past Microsoft Sans Serif (the scalable version of MS Sans Serif pictured below).

Interface font evolution in Windows


Programming fonts you might not have tried

If you’re tired of the ugly-as-sin Courier New and have tried the popular well-known scalable TrueType/OpenType mono-spaced/fixed-width replacements:

And you’re still not feeling it then why not give these potentials a quick spin.


Anonymous is typographer Mark Simonson’s reworking of a bit-mapped Mac font from the mid-90’s into scalable TrueType form.

Anonymous font in Visual Studio

Rather unusually some of the characters have serifs and others do not – most likely due to the space restrictions of the original bitmap font but carried through to the design.

The overall feel is one that is less cluttered than Courier whilst also hanging onto the past – strangely enough anything written in Anonymous immediately makes me think it could be SQL syntax.

Character similarity does exist a little between the 1 and the l and the backwards slash through the zero might not be your cup-of-tea but it’s certainly worth a look.

Available: free from Mark Simonson Studio.


A geometric styled mono-spaced font with distinguishable 0 and O, 1 and l, 5 and S that looks best at 15pt and above so maybe one for the programmer who prefers large fonts.

Crystal font in Visual Studio

Available: free from Urban Fonts.


Another geometric design that works best at larger sizes. It has a slashed 0 and distinguishable glyphs.

Onuava font in Visual Studio

Available: free from Urban Fonts.

Share Technical Monospaced

For those that like very square fonts this one could be a contender – providing the author can fix the problem where an f and an l placed together causes both to disappear – an unexpected empty ligature perhaps?

ShareTech font in Visual Studio

Available: free from Typo3.

Feel free to comment on any other great finds but please, no more references to bit mapped pixel fonts!

If you’re wondering what the state of Envy Code R is… I’m trying to solve the various issues with the heights at certain levels. I think the solution to the problems is delta-hinting but it is a bit of a black art and I don’t have the right tools for the job.

Envy Code R has been updated since this post.


Envy Code R programming font – preview available for download

Envy Code R has been updated since this post.

Here is the Envy Code R programming font I’ve been working on as it currently stands:

Envy Code R preview 3 at 10pt illustrating ClearType, standard and no smoothing.

As you can see it looks great at 10pt regardless of what smoothing (or not) you are using. Whilst you can use it at other sizes and it will scale without turning into big pixels there are plenty of other fonts around that will look better at larger sizes/in print.

It is missing a number of foreign symbols and characters, there is no width-preserving bold version to accompany it just yet and there are still issues with the full-widths of @©® symbols as the Windows ClearType renderer insists on squashing them rather than let them potentially touch another character.

I will attempt to address these as best I can as time goes by as well as trying to shave a pixel off the vertical height. It also doesn’t look too great on the Mac but if you want to try anyway use 13pt and be prepared to set the height in terminal to just above 1.0 to stop the letters being cut-off.

Comments are welcome but please bear in mind that Envy Code R is designed to look very close to Envy Code B so deviating from that further is unlikely right now.

Finally please bear in mind that whilst Envy Code R is free-for-use it is copyrighted and as such it must not be redistributed, bundled or modified without permission at this time. Once all the issues are addressed I’ll likely release the whole thing under a free/open license.

This is simply because I do not wish people looking for this font in the future to be downloading older preview versions.

A newer version is available

If you were wondering what it does look like large:

Envy Code R at 36 point


I have updated the preview font to fix vertical problems on the capital E as well as add a bunch of symbols not yet done (e.g. fractions) and also stuck in a bit-mapped 9pt version for those not using smoothing.


Envy Code R work continues

Envy Code R has been updated since this post.

I’ve been back less than 36 hours but have managed to spend a little more time working on Envy Code R.

I made the decision to keep it as close as Envy Code B as possible for the initial release except where compromises were made in Code B.

Changes include “hnruc” getting stronger curve, “0MN#!~,;:.” being brought in line with Code B, the “%” symbol redrawn. Most of the foreign accented characters for the Windows Latin 1252 code-page are done. Here’s how that Visual Studio sample now looks (again with ClearType)

Envy Code R preview #2 in VS at 10pt

The font is also looking very similar with standard (non-ClearType) font smoothing switched on. CRT users rejoice ;-)

There are still some problems – it appears that ClearType likes to squash characters up rather than let two touch each other hence the messed-up @ symbol and spacing issues with { and } right now. Also while the font is usable at other sizes it’s not as pretty and if you like your fonts large Inconsolata or Consolas will look much better.

I’m hoping to get an initial version out before Christmas which won’t include bold or any characters/symbols outside the standard 1252 character set. Bold is technically a whole second font and there are enough characters in Unicode to spend a lifetime drawing…