ASCII Font Fights

Before I read the post I thought it was going to be about trying different fonts for ASCII art. I still like my version. I can imagine making the same one line text art using endless varieties of fonts and then picking the best from them. It would make an interesting project, maybe just a bit too time consuming.

Input: Fonts for Code

Input is a typeface for code, designed by David Jonathan Ross and released by Font Bureau.

Source: Input: Fonts for Code

Why do we use fonts not designed for readers? Fancy fonts are nice for creating images with text or using as titles and headers. Think about the fonts book publishers have been using for generations of books and people.

It seems a better reading font is required.

Mashable: Why your Email Font is Ruining your Life

Fast Co: There’s Finally a Modern Typeface for Programmers

I’m hoping this brings back the ASCII art fonts, or better versions of them. My favourite is still FixedSys partly because I know how it will work and partly because it shows up bold rather than thin and faded.

Japanese ASCII Text Art: Shift JIS

I used to label all the Japanese ASCII art as ANSI art and just click on by. It was a snobby attitude, but I was trying to keep the standards of ASCII art – which is so often confused or cheated on with ANSI art and assorted other versions of text art which don’t stick to the standard keyboard characters, no frills.Since my early days as an ASCII artist I have learned the Japanese ASCII art is not ANSI art, it really is in a category of it’s own. But, there is an element of ANSI (using every and any keyboard character) thrown in.

SJIS is Japanese ASCII Art

Japanese ASCII art images are created from characters within the Shift JIS character set, intended for Japanese usage. So, Japanese ASCII art is usually called Shift JIS, abbreviated to SJIS or AA, meaning ASCII art. However, it’s not typical/ standard ASCII art because it uses characters outside of those standard for ASCII text art.

Shift JIS uses not only the ASCII character set, but also Japanese characters such as Kanji. Since there are thousands of Japanese characters, the images have more variety to them. However, they need to be viewed in the right font.

Unlike traditional ASCII art (which works best with a monospaced font) Shift JIS art is designed around the proportional-width MS PGothic font supplied with Microsoft Windows. However, many characters used in Shift JIS art are the same width. This led to the development of the free Mona Font where each character is the same width as its counterpart in MS PGothic.

SIJS art, like ANSI art and sometimes ASCII art, can be used to create animated text images using Adobe Flash files and animated GIFs. Shift_JIS has become popular and has even made its way into mainstream media and commercial advertising in Japan.

Sources for Japanese ASCII Art

The Mona Font

Mona Font is the  Japanese proportional font used to view Japanese text art.

 

Fonts that Work with ASCII Text Art

Making ASCII Art with Fixed Width, Sans-Serif Fonts.

I’ve been making ASCII art since 1998. I’m a great fan of the FixedSys font. It is a monospace font which works very well for illustrating with text. The individual characters are plain and straight up and down, without many flourishes. (Plain fonts, without flourishes are called sans-serif). FixedSys is also a text which displays on the dark side. This is nice compared to some monospace fonts which give a very light, thin display.

However, Windows Vista was the first new computer I bought where I noticed the FixedSys font is missing. I looked for it, tried other font options, but was not really happy. So I went online to see what people were writing about it.

I now know that FixedSys has been given an upgrade of sorts and is now known as Consolas. I found Consolas and gave it a try. It is nice, smoother than the old FixedSys. But, I am a bit of a traditionalist, loyal to whatever I liked first.

While searching I found the font called FixedSys Excelsior. It is like the old fashioned FixedSys but it is less smooth than the new Consolas font. You can see a pretty drastic difference in the two fonts when I show them in an ASCII art illustration of the Canadian flag.

Monospaced Fonts to Try