ZX Origins

Here is my collection of 8x8 bitmap fonts available in a variety of formats! Each page includes one or more variants with back-story on the inspiration, alternative suggestions, and a download link that includes the original ZX Spectrum raw byte dump (ch8), PC Screen Font (psf), BDF (common bitmap format), PNG (preview) and TTF (TrueType).

You are free to use any of these in a game you create - just drop me an email to let me know so I can add something to the page about where it is used. I do ask that you do not just go and host or package the font files themselves up.

More fonts are being uploaded sometimes daily so check back for more! (I have about 100 left to upload!)

Back-story

I started designing fonts in the 80s on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum and haven’t stopped since. In 2005 I was asked to provide some fonts for the BASIN Sinclair BASIC for Windows which rekindled my interest in 8x8 monospaced fonts and I ended up delivering over 60.

For a while I wanted to put them online but the raw files are only of use to Spectrum users. In 2019 I was approached by two different people if they could bundle a few of my fonts with their game tools so I spent some time cleaning them up, producing new variants and a whole bunch more new fonts entirely.

With advice from fellow typographer and Spectrum fan Paul van der Laan I got a TrueType working that was pixel-perfect as specific multiples and put together an automated pipeline using a modified version of John Elliot’s psftools to go from ZX to BDF via PSF and then into TTF via FontLab 5 Studio and some Python scripting.

All that was left was to put these pages together but as we all know unless you can see the font in real world examples it’s hard to get a true feel for it and so I created a simulated preview mechanism that re-rendered some hand-picked screens from Sinclair, Commodore, Amiga, Atari and BBC computers to showcase each one.

My thanks to Paul van der Laan for his TTF assistance, John Elliott for his PSFtools and Paul Dunn for the BASIN editor that is my 8x8 bitmap editor of choice.

[)amien