Posts tagged with narrow

Hourglass

Up to this point all my sans fonts - well most of my fonts at all really - have used at most 6 vertical pixels for the x-height and typically only 5 pixels. This is because you need a row for the space and then another row for the dot on the i and then another for descenders.

Well what if we sacrifice the ‘i’ so we can make the x height one pixel taller? The ascenders start to suffer but we can always help that out by curving the join back down before it meets the ascender (and descender) to give it a longer appearance.

This was my first go at tackling that in making a sans that is very clear. I decided to just remove the dots from the i and j and give them a small serif instead. The end result looks a little like Geneva on classic MacOS on comparison and I couldn’t resist borrowing the lower-case w design.

An extra line of vertical space can help it breathe a little and the proportional FZX also looks smart.

Yaroze

A 2021 font constrained to 5-pixels wide with angles, attitude and overhanging curves and 26 of those dashing small-caps.

The name is courtesy of Sony’s PlayStation 1 hobbyist dev kit Net Yaroze although, it draws no inspiration for the style from that.

It works well for titles and lists and, you can use it for shorter runs of text too. The small-caps are easy to read but still a little jarring to read in large quantities.

Ultimatum

A hot-off-the-press 2021 production intended as a caps-only typeface based around the idea of a narrow oblique with very tight curves at the corners. A lower-case was added to complete the set, but it’s the capitals and numerics that shine on this typeface, and a proportional renderer like FZX kicks it into gear.

It works well for title pages, although the oblique angle can cause problems for tables and rows of data as they don’t line up as nicely.

Short runs of prose work well, and with a proportional renderer and some care can work well for longer expanses of text.

Area51

A 2021 effort that started from a discussion on Twitter about 51 column text on the Spectrum. While 64 column is quite common (3 pixels + space), 42 also quite common (5 pixels + space) and of course the default of 32 (8 pixels + space) a few people have created 51 column routines such as Micro Print 85 and Handywide.

The challenge with a 51 column routine is that each character is 4 pixels wide. Now you might be thinking, “well, three works,” and you’d be half right (it’s an unreadable mess), but the other part of the challenge is that 4 pixels wide is an even number which means we have to get creative with the centres of characters. I and T, you can choose left or right, but what about Y or X? You can see the choices I made here.

It doesn’t look too bad, and if you want a bit of a unique look, you could do worse. It works for large amounts of text in all sorts of scenarios, especially when you want to squeeze some extra text on the screen without crunching down to 3 pixel wide fonts.