2 Pixel Type Experiment

antiphrasis's picture

This is not a real typeface, per say, but something I drew in Photoshop. It's an experiment to see if you can create anything legible in a really small scale. So if people can read my name, I guess it was somewhat successful. I'm not sure if I could create a whole uppercase alphabet, many of the letters would be indistinguishable. Let me know if you're able to read what it says. Thanks!

2 Pixel Type Experiment

tyleryoung's picture

lauri,

i'm all about experimentation with pixel letter forms. kudos on the willingness to share yours with the rest of us. i think it's pretty cool.

as for readability: it's tough. in situations like this, word recognition is the fall back for a reader, but unfortunately (at least in my case), not enough of the individual characters are recognizable to make assumptions on what each word is supposed to be.

in your example, my first guess was "launi johansen".

you might be able to make something of the 200% mag version though. the 400 and 800 too for that matter. each character looks like a puzzle piece to me, and could turn out to be a pretty cool stylistic or decorative font for titling if you were to put in the time to work out the kinks.

hrant's picture

This is great stuff.
Using grays to convey a higher resolution of shape is both useful and entirely possible - although it seems to me you'll have to go to 3 pixels. In fact something like that has already been done: there's a font, an outline font, called "Alien:Gray3" by Joshua Distler of Shiftype (featured in the book Face2Face*, I believe) which uses a 3x3 grid, where each "pixel" is a circle of one of three different sizes. It works.

* A tall-format silvery book which came out around 1999 I think. And it was overpriced.

hhp

antiphrasis's picture

Tyler: Thanks for the comments! That's a cool idea about having a bigger version as decorative font. Not sure if it's possible to do the grayscales in an actual typeface at such a large scale though.

hrant's picture

You can do grayscale fonts at any size.

hhp

antiphrasis's picture

Hrant: Thanks! I was just going to reply to your previous comment. I'm doing some cathing up on the forum. How would that work to have a big gray area? Would you have the create some halftone pattern, or some other kind of pattern to make a program render it gray?

That 3x3 circle font is brilliant! It could probably be done with other shapes as well, maybe squares or diamonds, or maybe some sort of pattern. I haven't tried this pattern idea in practice, so I'm not sure it would work in reality.

There's only one use I can really think of for an illegible 2-pixel font, thumbnails or small previews of page layouts, where you might want to see what text looks like instead of having grey boxes. But since the original document wouldn't use this font, it wouldn't really work...

hrant's picture

To get a great-than-one-pixel gray patch, you simply need to make each component "pixel" contain a pattern that renders out that gray.

> an illegible 2-pixel font

If you go to 3 it'll cross over to sufficient -if strained- legibility.
If you want it to be illegible, you can use as many or as few pixels as you want! :-)

hhp

antiphrasis's picture

Hrant,

Please have a look at the attached pdf. Is this what you had in mind for the pattern?

At smaller sizes vector-based programs render the patterns as pure black. And at larger sizes you will see the pattern they consist of. (I can't get a nice smooth grey at all.) When viewing the PDF at 75% you can see the pixel pattern clearly since one unit of the letter will correspond to one pixel. The "A" is 1000 units tall.

To get a nice even grey color I need to take the vector shape (the "A") to Photoshop and render it at a height of 250 pixels with anti-alias on.

Maybe there's a different method that solves this better that I don't know off. To be honest I haven't done any research on this because I wanted to see how I would solve this first.

This is an interesting problem indeed. :-)


application/pdf 4 Different Greyscale Patterns
greyscale.pdf (424.6 k)

hrant's picture

Lauri, sorry it took so long for me to get back to this.

So I guess you're saying that you can't get any pattern to come out as any gray at any size in PDF? My guess is that it's due to the different way vectors and fonts are rendered; this is basically due to different rendering engines for each task. Like I know that when I put Mana in a PDF, and it's viewed at 100%, I do get what I want. So try making a font (a TT one - PS is probably different, and less predictable) and embed that in a PDF.

As for the patterns you're using, I'm actually not an expert on that (Chris at Ultrafonts is), although it seems to me what you have should work. Don't know about those thick borders though.

hhp

antiphrasis's picture

Hrant,

The amount of postings and research you do I'm surprised that you have time to get back at all. So thank you! =)

I'll try making a truetype font instead of just using vector shapes. The reason I used the heavy black border was to show that the font actually has two different "colors", if I wanted the whole thing grey I could have adjusted the opacity or typed in grey.

Thanks!


Lauri

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