the development of a pixel typeface

Paul van der Laan, June 2000

This project started as an attempt to design a ‘correspondence typeface’. Courier, originally designed for typewriters, is an example of such a typeface and so is Erik Spiekerman’s Officina. But, instead of looking at paper correspondence, I focused on electronic correspondence instead: e-mail.

Unfortunately, the technology behind e-mail is still very primitive. Contrary to ‘analogue’ correspondence, it’s not the sender but the receiver who controls the appearance of the message. The standard preferences of e-mail software specify fonts as Courier, Arial and Verdana. These typefaces have a very neutral appearance, mainly because they are designed for use in office environments.

I wanted to do something different. My aim was to create a typeface which would fit when writing a personal e-mail to a friend or relative. My own handwriting served as a starting point, but to make it work in pixels proved to be quite a challenge. I did some sketching in Photoshop first before making this version in Altsys Fontastic.

Big word set in Outbox Sample text set in Outbox