This week we’re talking to Rasmus Andersson about his journey as a software creator. We talk about the work he’s doing right now on Playbit, a computing environment which encourages playful learning, building, and sharing of software. We also talk about his work on the Inter typeface, as well as the reasons why this font family needed to be free and open source.
This is not the most popular view among designers, but I’m totally in favor of using free fonts, especially as a beginning designer.
But free fonts get a bad wrap. Mention them to many experienced designers, and they’ll complain that free fonts have poor quality, bad kerning, and missing features.
You know what? Those stereotypes are a little out of date. The truth is: you can find extremely high-quality free fonts. But sometimes you need to do a lot of research to find them.
Here’s a fun/ridiculous link for your weekend. Since it’s literally just a font, you can download the font and play it in any application you like. Or if you just want to try it without the hassle, there’s a web demo as well.
Continued use of icon fonts is a detriment to your visitors and a time-sink for you. By replacing your existing icon font implementation with SVG icons, you’re helping people utilizing assistive technologies, improving the quality, clarity, and reliability of your icons, and reducing your time to maintain legacy assets.
He makes a compelling case.
This font is derived from the x3270 font, which, in turn, was translated from the one in Georgia Tech’s 3270tool, which was itself hand-copied from a 3270 series terminal. I built it because I felt terminals deserve to be pretty.
Have you seen or used JetBrains Mono yet?
A 6-step guide to pairing fonts in all sorts of sites, covering brand, legibility, common mistakes, and more.
A listener request led us to Nikita Prokopov and FiraCode, and we’re sure glad they did. When we think of open source software, fonts aren’t usually high on the list of things that need maintaining. That’s not true when your font also supports hundreds of programming ligatures like FiraCode does. Nikita has his hands full!
Turns out everyone’s favorite macOS package manager has an official cask for managing fonts. Who knew?!
Nikita Prokopov is next up on our maintainer spotlight series, so I thought it’d be good to introduce you to his awesome programming font. Here’s the problem he’s trying to solve with Fira Code:
Programmers use a lot of symbols, often encoded with several characters. For the human brain, sequences like ->, <= or := are single logical tokens, even if they take two or three characters on the screen. Your eye spends a non-zero amount of energy to scan, parse and join multiple characters into a single logical one. Ideally, all programming languages should be designed with full-fledged Unicode symbols for operators, but that’s not the case yet.
Cascadia Code is designed “to enhance the modern look and feel of the Windows Terminal”, but it also looks quite nice in VS Code or your text editor of choice.
Zach Leatherman joins the party with Divya and Nick to talk about fonts and static site generators! Zach shares his knowledge about font loading, what can go wrong, and how we can avoid issues. Then we discuss Zach’s newest project, Eleventy, a simple static site generator, and the panelists share things they are excited about.
We literally now have an open-source typeface created by the people, for the people — contributions are welcome.
Public Sans is a strong, neutral, principles-driven, open-source typeface for text or display.
Koen Lageveen has a project on GitHub that let’s you test drive a handful of programming fonts which is pretty awesome if you’re on the hunt for a better font or want to see what other fonts are out there.
Here’s the full list of fonts. Did your favorite not make the list yet? Send a PR.
I love a good, minimal “use me at all sizes” typeface — especially when it’s open source and community focused like Inter UI is. Looks good at large and small sizes and is perfect for that minimal UI look.
From Rasmus Andersson, Designer/Engineer at Figma…
Provide this tool the Google API url for a web font and it will download it for offline use and self-hosting. Why might you want to do that?
It’s not clear yet if Google Fonts are EU GDPR compliant (see this issue). This may be a good reason to download the Google Fonts you use on your server.