In this fifth part of the free font series about the various categories of typefaces, we’ll now be featuring the Monospaced Typefaces. Monospaced fonts, which are fonts whose characters have equal horizontal widths, are suitable for programming because they make source code easier to read.
A monospaced font, also called a fixed-pitch or non-proportional font, is a font whose letters and characters each occupy the same amount of horizontal space.
This contrasts to variable-width fonts, where the letters differ in size to one another. Monospaced Typefaces aren’t really a category, because there are sans-serif, serif and even slab-serifs in a monospace version. It really boils down to the fact that monospaced means a typeface where all characters have the same (more or less) fixed width.
In 1956 Howard Kettler designed the typeface Courier. It was made for IBM’s new (and revolutionary) line of electric typewriters. Originally called “Messenger”, Courier is one of the earliest fixed-pitch fonts, meaning each character takes up the same amount of space on a line; allowing for easy tabular alignment and legibility.
Monospaced fonts were widely used in early computers and computer terminals, which often had extremely limited graphical capabilities. Hardware implementation was simplified by using a text mode where the screen layout was addressed as a regular grid of tiles, each of which could be set to display a character by indexing into the hardware’s character map. Some systems allowed colored text to be displayed by varying the foreground and background color for each tile. Other effects included reverse video and blinking text. Nevertheless, these early systems were typically limited to a single console font.
Even though computers can now display a wide variety of fonts, almost every commercial IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and software text editor employs a monospaced font as the default typeface. This increases the readability of source code, which is often heavily reliant on distinctions involving individual symbols. Monospaced fonts are also used for laying out tabulated data in plain text documents. In technical manuals and resources for programming languages, a monospaced font is often used to distinguish code from natural language text.
Free Monospaced Examples and Downloads
Yep, and this is the fun-part .. FREE FONTS! A lot of these fonts are also @font-face compatible, so you can use them also as web-fonts, making some of these typefaces suitable to use in a corporate identity design. What are you waiting for, .. go frab ’em!
Bitstream Vera Sans Mono
Bitstream Inc. was founded in 1981 as the world’s first independent digital type foundry, the first company to make fonts for new industry of digital typesetting. There are four monospace faces: normal, oblique, bold, bold oblique.
Designer: Bitstream Inc.
A monospaced typeface suitable for technical texts and/or programming. BPmono and BPmono Bold are manually hinted from 9px to 16px making it appropriate for use in various advanced text and programming editors (eg. Visual Studio .net, Visual Web Developer, MS Word etc). All three fonts are available in TTF format.
designer: George Triantafyllakos
On May 9, 2007, Red Hat (major Linux distribution vendor) announced the initial public release of these fonts under the trademark LIBERATION at the Red Hat Summit. There are three sets: Sans, Serif and Mono (a substitute for Courier New, Cumberland, Courier, Nimbus Mono L, and Bitstream Vera Sans Mono).
Designer: Steve Matteson
Nu Sans Mono Demo Regular
Marty Pfeiffer started designing in 1996 and had completed the outline and bitmaps in 1997. During numerous updates of the Nu Sans family, improving the design of the letterforms with each version, the Nu Sans Monospaced was completed with a new set of outlines and polished off the character set. Nu Sans Mono is perfect for reading your e-mail! Makes ASCII art look even better than ever.
Designer: Marty P. Pfeiffer
Ralph du Carrois, born 1975, is a Berlin based type-, graphic and product designer. He graduated at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe in 2004 with his first typeface family PTL Maurea. In 2003 he founded the studio seite4 in Berlin with its main focus on type design and corporate identity design.
Designer: Ralph Oliver du Carrois
The monospaced member of the Lucida family. Designed by Bigelow & Holmes, Lucida Console is a pleasant and vertically compact typeface. Though it unfortunately lacks much distinction between zero and O, Lucida Console is great for those who wish to fit lots of text on their screen, and works great at small sizes.
Designers: Bigelow & Holmes
Verily Serif Mono
Verily Serif Mono is derived from Bitstream Vera Serif with the same proportions as Bitstream Vera Sans Mono. Only the primary ASCII characters have been modified (no bold version). Verily Serif Mono is released under the Vera license, with the exception that the name does not need to be changed from “Verily.”
Designer: Stephen G. Hartke
White Rabbit is reminiscent of the characters displayed on all those old low-res terminal screens. Smoothed out and cleaned up for the third millennium, this is the font to use for all your computing applications.
Designer: Matthew Welch
This stylish monospaced font comes from SMeltery, SMeltery is a French font factory founded in 2002 by Jack Usine to show and share his typographic investigations. Audimat Mono comes in 9 variations.
Designers: SMeltery Foundry
Lekton is a nice face inspired by olivetti typewriters created at Isia Urbino (Institute for Industrial Arts in Italy) in eight hour. The face is supplied in a regular, bold and italic version making it practical for a lot of applications. Lekton is an open-source project, with no copyright or trademark qualification in order to permit the free use of the typeface, that can be modified as well as redesigned.
Designers: Luna Castroni, Stefano Faoro, Emilio Macchia, Elena Papassissa, Michela Povoleri, Tobias Seemiller, and Luciano Perondi
Inspired by typefaces used in British license plates, CP Mono is evenly spaced horizontally and vertically (resulting in shorter ascenders and decenders).
Originally designed by Jim Lyles for Bitstream, The DejaVu fonts are a font family based on the Bitstream Vera Fonts. This monospaced variant is part of the DejaVu font family (a group of fonts released into the public domain, supplied in 21 varieties). DejaVu Mono is great for on-screen readability.
Designer: Jim Lyles
Droid Sans Mono
Droid is a font family created by Ascender Corporation for use by the Open Handset Alliance platform Android, intended for use on the small screens of mobile handsets. The fonts were designed by Steve Matteson of Ascender Corporation. Droid Sans Mono, developed for the Android platform, is a monospaced variation of Droid Sans. The font is suitable in tabular settings.
Designer: Steve Matteson
Andale Mono is a highly legible monospaced font which was originally distributed as part of the Internet Explorer 4.0 add-ons page as Monotype.com. It distinguishes well between the zero, and the O.
Telegrama is a monospaced font with futuristic aesthetics. The font was designed by Japanese designer Yamoaka Yasuhiro.
Designer: Yamoaka Yasuhiro
This font by Raph Levien is heavily based on Microsoft’s Consolas, primarily for programming use. Other influences include Avenir and Franklin Gothic. The font is freely available under SIL’s Open Font License (this is one of my favorite monospaced typefaces)
Designer: Raph Levien
Aurulent Sans Mono
Aurulent Sans is a sans serif font that’s developed for use as the primary interface font on X Windows on GNU/Linux. A monospace version is also included with this typeface.
Designer: Stephen G. Hartke
This functional monospaced font made by Kris Holmes and Charles Bigelow is part of the Luxi font family (which also includes Luxi Sans and Luxi Serif). Luxi Mono, is a family of four monospace fonts (regular, italic, bold and bold italic).
Designers: Kris Holmes and Charles Bigelow
When you’re going to be staring at code for hours at a time you want a nice clean monospaced font. I’ve listed a few demonstrating some popular ones. If you can think of any I’ve missed please let me know!