Sunday, April 08, 2007

Soapbox Blog #3

Learning to accept Pixel Fonts

I used to avoid using pixel fonts altogether. I saw their function–pixel fonts load almost instantly and claim increased readability onscreen–but their jagged edges, caused by bitmaps, were fugly. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, they seemed too harsh to accompany anything other than techy postmodern design.

Miniml foundry: how is this more readable?

Recently, when asked to use a pixel font in a web gallery, I discovered some very stylish advancements. The super-pixel font maintains the same strict construction rules as the relular ol’ pixel font; each letter edge must align on the pixel to avoid blurring. The change? Refined 1/4 pixel edges add high definition clarity and sleekness that just didn't exist before in screen-based fonts. Now we can have our speed with style!

Fonts For Flash: I like my tequila 8 pt

“Fonts for Flash's super pixel fonts are made up of single pixels, but with an addition. Where they want to smooth the shape with a curve etc. they add an additional 1/4 pixel square (If you enlarged a super pixel font to 400% you'll see the 1/4 pixel as a whole pixel). The net result of that is that when rendered on a screen at the correct size the screen tries to colour the pixel accordingly, in the same way that normal fonts blur at a smaller size. FFF's super pixel fonts are just controlled blurring.” - Poab from Glasgow, Flashgroup forums

For another fresh look, peruse Orgdot, a media lab based in Oslo, Norway. “Orgdot is continuously running several self initiated research projects developing the summit and skills required for the effective realization of any project...” Including these fine specimens:

Create your own bitmap fonts with Font Lab's Bitfonter. Learn more about pixel fonts at WPDFD.