Skip to Content Skip to Search Go to Top Navigation Go to Side Menu

"typewriter" Tag


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Monospaced Fonts.

The horizontal space that a letter occupies in a monospaced font is the same for every letter.

Meaning that wider letters are cramped into a smaller space, and thinner letters have more white space around them, so they will all fit in the same box.

Monospacing first occurred when the typewriter was invented, because the typewriter had to use the same space for every letter, a good example can be found  in WordPad on Windows the standard font is still monospaced.

When looking at the shapes of letters it’s not hard to see that some letters need more horizontal space because they are more complicated  in their shape, compare for instance the letter ‘m’ to the ‘i’ it seems obvious that the letter ‘m’ needs more space because it has  3 vertical lines opposed to one  in the ‘i’, when these two letters need to be fitted  into the same width then the ’m’ has to be cramped  and the ‘I’ stretched, or the white space around it needs to be wider.

Is monospacing more easy and clear then variable-width fonts?

When seeing a monospaced font it immediately reminds me of old fashioned computers or typewriters, and it does not have any ‘flow’.

Most people will assume that the subject of the text corresponds with the typeface, making a text that is written monospaced  unattractive for many people. Writing monospaced does give a certain structure to a text , although I doubt if it would become more clear, because it does more justice to the personality of a letter to give it the space that it needs and deserves, then to force it into a pre-defined  space.

Using a monospaced font can serve some particular purposes, for instance when a text on a  sign needs to be changed it is easier to work with when it’s possible to predict if a sentence fits when all letters have the same width, the same goes for some type of documents and other formal writings.

Concerning monospaced fonts it seems that technological reasons are more important than readability, although in bringing across a quick message they could work well.

Monospaced fonts can be  strong when communicating short messages, but because it doesn’t ‘flow’ as nice as variable spaced fonts it can be more tiring to read long tekst written in monospace, because the words don’t become words but remain more separate letters.

What is important for readability of text is how letters form words when they are combined and here the white space in between is as crucial as the individual letter, monospaced fonts eliminate these characteristics and therefore it can take more effort to read  a long text in a monospaced font.

In a monospaced font the letters have equal space, but why would an I or J or L need the same space as letters like W and M ?

If letters get the amount of space that they need instead of the amount that a technology allows them to have they can function more strong because they keep their own

characteristics, this way words can function as words instead of a combination of letters.

Why use monospaced fonts? I found out is mainly because of technological limitations, and in some cases to make it easier to know whether a text fits into a frame, although it seems there are more reasons to not use monospaced fonts but instead variable width fonts, because the main reason of text is communication and readability and  they are stronger in variable width fonts.

Bob Vos


list of monospaced fonts and a description.

this website contains many examples of monospaced fonts.

text explanation  about why monospaced fonts are used.

XX- ,The Book

Saturday, January 9, 2010

XX- is based on a research-approach that focuses on the intensive examination of typography and writing in all its social, societal and aesthetic ways of application. In the 2006 ‘typography class’ at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts, we (Elisabeth Hinrichs, Aileen Ittner and Daniel Rother) developed our project on the visual implementation of “symbols of power” in writing systems under the conditions of a totalitarian regime. In particular, we examined the way in which the SS (Nazi SS 1925-45) presented and visually legitimated itself by means of a constructed sign . A collection of sources was created on the basis of intensive research in libraries, state archives and the Internet as well as of interviews with contemporary witnesses. This collection was the starting point and the foundation of that book XX-, The SS-Rune as a special Character on Typewriters.

In its three chapters FEMALE (FRAU), SIGN (ZEICHEN), MACHINE (MASCHINE) the book XX examines the way in which administration, communication and technology were an elementary condition of the functioning of the annihilation apparatus in the Third Reich.

The book’s content consists in visual (advertising and propaganda images, files) and textual fragments (contemporary, philosophical, sociological statements as well as statements related to cultural studies and encyclopedic entries).In it, history is interpreted, displayed and arranged. In this sophisticated way of dealing with history which makes its documents visible and discloses them for use the book XX- questions its sources and their perception. In its hybrid composition as a file as well as a book its design employs filing techniques such as a registry, catchwords, numeration and categorisation and embeds these into a book format.

The book XX- is composed as a symbiosis of a file and a book cover and thus refers to its sources: The archive and literature. Constructed solely of visual and textual fragments, it uses available literature (contemporary statements, encyclopedic entries, philosophical, sociological, political and linguistical standpoints as well as statements related to cultural studies) and images (advertising- and propaganda images of the 30s and 40s, files).

In the book, fragments are juxtaposed without them being commented in way resembling an archive. Thus, they demand an independent analysis and an autonomous evaluation of the different opinions by the reader. The selective constellation of the sources takes on the book’s structures: Their succession and compilation are fixedand thus generate a new content. The resulting hybrid presents history and questions its alleged absoluteness and unambiguousness at the same time.

The book XX- questions its sources and their perception In a sophisticated way of dealing with history that makes its documents visible and discloses them for use. Thus the closeness of the book as a medium is abrogated in favour of a new perception of historiography. History is interpreted,  displayed and arranged in a reflection of the medium.

by Elisabeth Hinrichs, Aileen Ittner, Daniel Rother

Title: XX- (The SS-Rune as a special Character on Typewriters)
Series: orange files. Studies on Grammatology # 1 [orange files. Studien zur Grammatologie]
Editors: Julia Blume, Prof. Günter Karl Bose, Institute for Book Design at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts [Institut für Buchkunst der Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig] Leipzig 2009
324 pages, 198 images, 420 citations, hard cover, cost €49
ISBN: 978-3-932865-55-8

Log in