Announcing Missink – a new ink saving font

Ruudi van der Loon's picture

Hallo Font Freaks!

Ruudi van der Loon here, hallo from Amsterdam!

Wanted to share with fellow font freaks the amazing results of an project I’ve been working on at my studio, Studio RvdL. This expands on the work of researcher Frederic Gosselin who presented his findings at ATypI in Iceland…

This cropped illustration (data) from the linked paper shows the parts of individual letters that are most important to letter recognition (left most column).

Using this research data it was possible to create a perfectly legible ink saving font. So today I unveil for you “Missink”

Thanks, RvdL!

data.jpg20.42 KB
missink.jpg172.1 KB
Ruudi van der Loon's picture



brianskywalker's picture

You're crazy. I like the idea, but I can't read it very well. Maybe tone it down a bit? I think tapering into the missing areas would help.

riccard0's picture

Are we sure this shouldn’t be dated April first?
To me it could well be cuneiform.
Where’s the relationship between shapes? And spaces?

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

you might look up Miniscule Deux for some ideas.

kentlew's picture

Riccardo — I’m pretty sure it was already April 1st when/where Rudi posted this. Just not at the Typophile server location in Pacific Standard Time.

JamesM's picture

> To me it could well be cuneiform.

Exactly, and we all know that the Sumerians used very little ink. Great work, Ruudi!

riccard0's picture

But then the figures are wrong: they should be sexagesimal! (which would be very cool, by the way)

hrant's picture

What does the date have to do with this? It's brilliant
on any day. I'm especially struck by the numerals: they
are the epitome of Good Design, reminding me of the "d"
in Peignot, which was wisely left in its original sorry state.


Theunis de Jong's picture

"Missing K" -- the kook that's religiously opposed to the letter K is going to be so very happy. If only you could take that morally offensive glyph out of the font name as well ...

Si_Daniels's picture

I don't think Gosselin analyzed numbers in his study, so there would be no scientific basis for redrawing the numbers.

George Thomas's picture

Perhaps if you added serifs?

William Berkson's picture

At last, a true breakthrough in reading science!

Ruudi van der Loon's picture

Thank you all for your comments - I agree the font can get better with more science! I await the feedback of Microsoft Kevin Larson, and as Missink, based on Arial, I ask for review by Professor Allan Haley and Sir Rob Nicholas of Monotype LTD.

hrant's picture

Don't forget to ask Eric Gill as well.
I can vouch for his accessibility via séance:


quadibloc's picture

The initial image at the top, labelled "Data", shows in its first column a set of letters where the areas omitted from the typeface are more strongly blurred than the rest of the letter.

If I knew where that first image came from, and how it was generated, I could more seriously critique the specifics of this typeface.

Of course, the date of original posting is relevant, as the actual typeface is totally unreadable, thus wasting ink instead of saving it. (Although texts consisting solely of numbers would be readable, but then no savings in ink would be realized over unmodified Helvetica or Univers.)

But even if it's an April Fool's joke, one could perhaps produce something useful out of it. An ink-saving typeface made of dots was recently proposed. If, indeed, the areas left in this typeface are those most crucial to legibility according to some legitimate source, then one could just put the rest of the letter back in, but screened to a light grey - and, presto, the typeface isn't a joke any more.

Ruudi van der Loon's picture

>If I knew where that first image came from, and how it was generated, I could more seriously critique the specifics of this typeface.

Sorry Ms Quadly, I included the link in my original post here...

Kevin Larson's picture

Ruddi, a message to you Ruudi,
I’m a fan of the Gosselin work on which this is based, and I think this is a very promising first attempt on using that data. Your font is missing the low frequency information that is adding the location of the letters, but I think exclusively preserving the high spatial frequency is surprisingly successful. I’m looking forward to hearing about how well it reads. Since Missink is based on Arial, it would be interesting to compare it against Arial in a performance test, but since the peanut gallery will roast you for that, I recommend comparing it against a REfont.

brianskywalker's picture

I wonder if the Gosselin data works the same for serif fonts.

Frank U. Finkelstein's picture

This work is brilliant, but about 500 years too late.

— Frank U.

mars0i's picture

A couple of days ago, I was working on the ultimate ink-saving typeface. I call it "Intuit". Characters are all counter--there is no ink used at all. All that's necessary is for the reader to use his or her psychic abilities to intuit the writer's meaning.

(Oddly enough, my utter lack of experience at typeface design seemed to be no hindrance to this project.)

brianskywalker's picture

Mars: I wonder how that experiment would do on letterpress.

hrant's picture

> Characters are all counter

Would you consider bundling that font with one of
my own products? It's a DVD of whitespace clip art.


quadibloc's picture

It's a DVD of whitespace clip art.

As long as you avoid audio files, I suppose you don't have to worry about John Cage's estate suing for copyright infringement...

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