Nova Mono

Axiverse's picture

Nova Mono is a monospaced font designed for programmers. It takes the best of programming specific fonts as well as book fonts and attempts to bring them together. This font is heavily inspired by many of the existing monospaced fonts especially Consolas and Pragmata.

I just want to say I love this community and all the positive discussions that I've read here. This is my first post as well as my first font. I'm developing a monospaced font partly to learn what it takes to make a font and partly to make a font that I can use while programming.

- Keep the more mechanical and digital look of a font like Pragmata
- Apply some of the strengths of more natural monospace fonts like Consolas

- Primarily Anti-aliased screen reading
- Print is secondary, but should look nice blown up

This is only the first revision, but I would love some feedback on the general shapes of the glyphs. I'd also like to hear your opinions on the font in general. Thanks!

Nova Mono r001.pdf192.62 KB
SuperUltraFabulous's picture

you need more contrast where you’re joins are... namely, you need inktraps....everywhere

Axiverse's picture

So inktraps are where the line thins out where the joins are, correct?

nina's picture

You've got some nice shapes going! I like that "O". And the "g" is nice.

Some of the widths seem [unnecessarily] off (like the "o" looks wider than the "p") and such, but I think the first thing you should look at are different sorts of optical corrections, without which your font will look clumsy in terms of finish.

Like Mikey says, one of these is the thinning at joins. If you look at your "a" for instance, notice how where the «foot» branches off at the bottom-right, there is a rather large area of black. If you print it out and squint at it, that will look like a little black blob. These amassments of black need some evening out – meaning, essentially, you need to cheat to make it look correct. One way to think about it is that the strokes should get a little thinner where they join. Another approach is to look at the negative white space (like the little notch coming up from the bottom) and carefully enlarge that.

Another thing that caught my attention is that you don't seem to have any overshoots. See how in your "n", the «stem» looks like it's just a bit higher than the arch? How your "o" looks a bit shorter than your "i"? Round shapes need to be slightly taller mathematically than flat ones to look right.

The third thing is that horizontals need to be slightly thinner than verticals. If you look at your "I" or "H" you will see that the horizontal bars look slightly too heavy.

One of the most fascinating things about type design (and I'm really not such an expert either), to me, is learning to actually perceive these weird little tricks the eye plays, and work with them. For an introduction I recommend you have a look at this helpful paper by Mark Jamra on optical corrections: PDF Link

Axiverse's picture

Thanks for the helpful comments nina. I've been trying to thin the joins, but I'm having a hard time incorporating that with the squared ovals/rounded rectangle motif that I'm looking for. I've attached what's I've been working on on the bdpq group. I still feel like something's off though.

I've raised the x-height, and tried to go more towards the rounded rectangle shape.

Here's the b's in all orientations:

Axiverse's picture

I've worked a little further on the b's and departed from symmetry so that I could apply some of the optical corrections suggested in that paper. Here's a few letters:

Like always, I'd love to hear what you guys have to say about these (few) letters. Also I know there's some uneven thinning in the 'o' near the corners. I'll address that presently.


SuperUltraFabulous's picture

much better!

Axiverse's picture

I'm still kind of torn by the 'b'. I've been looking at a lot of fonts and they have much more liberal of an inside on the 'b' and 'd' with a sharp downward slope much like the b below. Progress has kind of slowed and I'm waiting to get a printer/scanner to that I can work on it by hand a little more. Open to suggestions as always. Not sure about the spacing of the 'i' either.

glyphobet's picture

Keep in mind that for any typeface to work well for programmers, they have to be able to easily distinguish similar letterforms at small sizes. The 1, l, I, |; O, Q and 0, and (), {} and [], ', `, and " and the curly quotes, even comma and period, and so on.

I like what you have going on here, but I'd want to see a fuller character set before passing judgment.

Check out these Top 10 Programming Fonts and study what those designers have done. Raph Levien's Inconsolata is the best programming font out there, IMHO.

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