With more appearances of "AI" in text, I wonder about /I with crossbars

Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 225
edited May 4 in Technique and Theory
I've noticed as I'm seeing these abbreviated /A /I letters for Artificial Intelligence popping up more frequently in sans fonts that have just a standard vertical stroke for the /I (unlike this sites font), that even in context of a sentence, I still seem to get a little sticking point when reading it. Wrestling with is it saying "Al" (lowercase /l, as in a person's name), even though I know it's not, especially just seeing a headline at a glance.

So it makes me wonder about font choices that do or don't have a clearer distinction between those glyphs, and more specifically if sans fonts would benefit from more crossbar /I (capital /i) glyph options.

I've seen text using "A.I." and even just "ai" when talking about it. Not as punchy, but perhaps easier to read(?)

Just kind of thinking aloud here, and maybe nothing of real substance, but curious.

(Screenshots from various sites)


  • Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 225
    I suppose part of what I'm inquiring about is: what is your experience reading these letters? Do you have a preference (crossbars or not)? Do you typically design your sans fonts with the default /I as bar-less or with bars (this can be dependent on the design and how you treat the /l and /1)? Do you often include an alt /I with the option? Should type designers include both options more?

    Personally, I like the readability of the crossbar /I to help me quicker distinguish it's intent in the word. But visually, I find them a little clunky at times and tend to prefer the bar-less standard /I. (There have been a few fonts where I do include an alt option, but that requires a savvy user to decide to use it.)
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,327
    Does kinda seem like some guy named Al is suddenly the center of attention!
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,568
    edited May 4
    Also, I keep catching myself reading it as the abbreviation for Adobe Illustrator.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,307
    Weird Al Writes Song About Weird AI
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    New words create new problems—the Japan Times newspaper uses a font with a long tail Q. In articles about LGBTQ issues, it's fascinating to see what that tail will smash into.
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