Good Font, Bad Font


I have been an occasional student of fonts ever since 2010 when I designed a font for an organisation. I have also watched with interest fonts aimed at dyslexic people. All these fonts are aimed at improving the visual readability of “printed” text, and we have come to take for granted the efforts of font designers. To put their efforts into some relief, I thought to make a font that sets out to be very difficult to read.

Some Design Ideas

We have grown used to having a number of features common to any particular family of fonts. For example,

  • curves are common
  • the visual bulk of lower case letters tends to avoid the top edge
  • upper case letter usually have a stronger presence on the top edge
  • each occurrence of a letter looks exactly the same every time

The task was to design a font that turned as many of these features as possible on their head.

The Result

The result was built around using straight lines that went from point to point on a rectangular matrix. The lines themselves came in two different thicknesses. The thickness of each line was chosen at random. The result looked like this:ugly_font_1People of a masochistic nature will notice that the text in the image above are the words at the start of this post.

Enough of this foolishness. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Good Font, Bad Font

  1. Not so foolish – I think this is a great idea! Your font makes a great reference for visually explaining how importance of readability, which most readers will overlook. All too often I read (or attempt to) awful email signatures which sign off with unreadable cursive fonts that add nothing of value to the content. Choosing showy fonts over readable alternatives often adds nothing of value for the reader. I think you could illustrate the point further if you were to plug the font into a speed reader interface like Spritz ( and compare reading speed with something more conventional.

  2. I think it’s your dabbling that defines you, Phil. Your brain is always looking for puzzles and patterns. Have you named the new font?

  3. Hello Chris,

    Thanks for you observations, and thanks also for the link. I will try it!

    I have just tried it – Spritzlet doesn’t process the image. 🙁

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