Monday, August 28, 2006

Fonts

Dafont.com is a large, free-font repository (6932 fonts and counting).

My question is, "Why aren't there fixed-width fonts with variable-thickness letters?"

Fixed-width fonts, in case you didn't follow Rathergate, and never looked at CBS's forged, Bush Air National Guard documents, are fonts that you can use for programming: the letters line up under one another, as they do on a typewriter.

What you get in print, or out of word processors, is called "proportionally spaced" fonts -- fonts where a line of 50 m's is wider than a line of 50 l's.

Typewriter fonts are ugly. Some of this is proportional spacing. Some of it is that the characters themselves have fixed line width.

To see what I'm talking about, look at the difference between the left and right vertical bars on this letter: M.

The letter 'M' above also has serifs -- little things that stick out of the basic letter shape, like the horizontal feet on both those verticals -- but there are sans-serif fonts that also have variable-width letters. The best-known is probably Hermann Zapf's "Optima."

Variable line-width is also why fountain pens with broad nibs make your writing look nicer: as you move the pen in different directions, the letter line-width changes.

So, when is someone going to make a monospaced font that has variable line width -- something easier on the eyes?


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