A note for type designers and others who care about letterforms
In general it can be said that the design of a monowidth font, being as it is constrained more by the single parameter of a uniform width than by any other consideration, presents a unique challenge. The designer finds, not surprisingly, that most of the characters behave themselves well enough if the basic relationship of x-height and em-square are sufficiently well defined – but the narrow characters (i, j, l, ι (iota), י (yod), ו (vav), and լ (liwn), for instance) never seem quite satisfactory, and in addition to the ordinary wide characters like m, w, Cyrillic щ (šča), the ligatures fi, fl, ffi, ffl, dz, DZ, etc., are problematic.
In the case of Everson Mono, I have been for the most part content to let serifs bear responsibility for the continuity necessary for easy reading for narrow characters. Hebrew and Arabic in particular are a bit unsuited to the uniform width – Hebrew more so than Arabic, as the ligating tatweels provide a great support in the latter (the downloadable versions of Everson Mono do not yet support Arabic). With the ligatures, I have had to choose between squeezing the characters together, conscious of the unfortunate crowded look, and breaking the single-width rule and making a double-wide character. I chose to squeeze the characters to fit, taking the monowidth parameter seriously. Non-spacing diacritic marks have, naturally, a width of zero. Those few space characters in the punctuation table which are defined by their width are also represented with variant widths (so the font isn’t entirely monowidth).
I hope that Everson Mono will enjoy a long life. In July 2010 I added support for an italic face. It is my intention to support with bold and bold italic variants, and to update the glyphs as Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 are revised.
I welcome feedback from other designers who have dealt with the peculiar challenge of monowidth, or indeed from any user who would like to share an opinion on monowidth or the Everson Mono glyphs. I'd welcome feedback on the public Everson Mono discussion list.
Some have asked me why I would bother making more than 6,000 characters in glorious monowidth? I'm not sure, but I think it was because nobody else wanted to....
HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, Cnoc Sceichín, Leac an Anfa, Cathair na Mart, Co. Mhaigh Eo, Éire, 2012-01-09
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