Neoletters - a monospaced, hand-drawn bitmap font

I first started making this font because I wanted a font that:
- Was monospace, with correct cjk widths for all characters as per Unicode.
- Was bitmap, or pixeled, in other words, did not result in purple edges on LCD monitors because of cleartype.
- Had a high unicode range, with support of various scripts, symbols, etc.
- Was geometric with simple letter forms devoid of ornament.
I started by using "", and later figured out how to use fontforge, once I exceeded that site's limitations on size. From time to time I've added things, and lately I've been working on adding more Kanji to the font's repertoire.
The result is this:

I'm still unsure of many of the letter forms however, as many of the languages I have very little knowledge of besides comparing letter forms in various other fonts and handwritten examples. If any person can see anything wrong in this, please point it out.


  • Chris DChris D Posts: 76
    edited September 2016
    To be honest - I had to blow it up in my browser to 200% to read it properly. I wear glasses and my eyesight is not great, but at 16px I just found the overall rhythm too bouncy (maybe it's the lowercase /l/ - it feels like it's interrupting the flow of reading). Also the weight feels so heavy that the letters merge into blobby looking shapes. 

    It is good that you have such a massive set of characters designed though... I would focus your attention the most on the latin ones and get them looking 100% perfect.
  • That's quite the coverage. I can read it but it's all spaced too tightly. A pixel added to the left and right sidebearings of all glyphs would make this a lot easier to read.
  • Chris DChris D Posts: 76
    edited September 2016
    My assumption given the giant character set is this font is designed primarily for programmers to use - this kind of audience is very particular with legibility, and they spend many hours squinting at a terminal screen, so their tolerance for stylized characters is fairly low. If a character looks odd, it's only because it serves to distinguish it from any other character. Fixedsys is a classic example of bitmap terminal fonts, as are many of the system fonts of the 70's/80's.

    You mention that you are aiming for a 16px optimal size which is fine, but coders like adjusting the size of their terminal screen (I often do as my eyes get more tired throughout the day). That will result in your font looking suboptimal as it is artificially scaled / distorted (unless you design new sets for 12px, 14px, 18px, 20px etc.) So you may want to consider a smooth vector design that scales well at any size, and let ClearType do its thing. You should look into hinting to help you out with this.

    Coming back to my earlier comment about weight, remember that text inside terminals can be displayed in bold as well as regular. If your font is too heavy all the text will appear bold and this won't be easy to distinguish. So you may want to consider creating a lighter version to accomodate this.

    Have a read of which might provide you with some more info and tips.
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