ASCII Art: Super Low Bandwidth

Copy of an orginal post by Heather Champ. This is reposted from which is no longer online.

For those online whose Internet experience precedes the World-Wide Web, a first brush with ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange–a 7-bit character code capable of representing 128 characters) art might have been a computer print-out on the perforated feed paper with a representation of George Washington, the Mona Lisa smiling her mysterious smile, or perhaps even the somewhat silly grin of Alfred E. Neuman.

For the most part ASCII art lives on in thousand of signature files, representing three-dimensional letters, animals, and recently a stick figure doing the Macarena. And while the rest of the world may snickger and grin at these overly large “business cards” attached to each and every e-mail, ASCII art is coming into its own on a variety of different Web sites.

Why allow those chubby graphics to clog up a users bandwidth. Pixels are not the only element that can be used to create images online. Granted, ASCII art will never replace GIFs, but it can offer a very stylized look and feel that might be an appropriate design solution for a specific project. On the other hand, given that ASCII is generated in HTML, it’s easy to play with the font color without going through the bother of making changes in Photoshop and then retransparentizing GIFs.

äda’web has just launched their 4.0 interface–“Why äda’web interface 4.0? Because things go better with ASCII, the original Web art, the other white meat . . . and it is still best viewed with Netscape 3.n.” It’s wonderfully refreshing. Be sure to find Elvis! It’s a very smart and refreshing take on information delivery.

How to ASCII
ASCII art will only work with monospace fonts. Monospace fonts (e.g., Courier) allow the same letter spacing for each letter. For example, an “i” will take up the same room as the fatter “o.” Proportional fonts allow for smaller letter spacing; an “i” will have enough space so that the text flows more freely without looking as “gap toothed” as the monospace fonts. An HTML document must be coded using the
< pre > </ pre >
tag to ensure that arrangement of the characters will display properly with monospace fonts.

Online ASCII Resources

ASCII World–“You give us 26 characters, we’ll give you the world”–has a great online Transformation section that enables a user to generate Figlets, or ASCII headers. Gifscii is a utility that turns GIFs and JPGs into ASCII art. Enter the URL of an image and ASCII World checks the URL, fetches the image, and then converts it to an ASCII version. The process can take a minute or two, which is longer than the almost instantaneous Figlet generator.
Sophomore Colin Cross created a Figlet Input Form that generates a very impressive variety of output “fonts” more than ASCII World. It’s great for headers!
ASCII Art: Figlet Factory, Title Maker, Banner Generator
Past installments of Design Diary

Did Emojis Really Descend from Wingdings and not Emoticons?

I’ve assumed emojis came from emoticons, the ASCII text smileys. But, I’ve got a new theory now.

Did emojis really start as wingding/ webding fonts and evolve into their current versions, dragging along the yellow smiley along the way?

I don’t see how emojis have much in common with the emoticons. An emoji is far more an image than a smiley.

What do you think?

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.

Trapped in Your Monitor

_ _ _ ___ ___. . ___. . .
|\ /| \ | | / | | __| |___|
| \/ | | | \___| | | | |
| | _|_ . | ___| ___| | |

__ ___. ___. ___. _ ___. _____
/ | __| / | / | / \ / | |
| | | \___| \___| /___\ \___| |
\__| ___| | | / \ / | |

___. . . ___ . . . . ___
/ | | | / \ \ / | /| |
\___| | | | | \ | / | |
/ | \__/ \___/ \ |/ | _|_

___. ___ _____ _____ . . ___ _ _
/ | / \ | | | /| / \ |\ /|
\___| | | | | | / | | | | \/ |
/ | \___/ | __|__ |/ | \___/ | |


Found at The Sunny Spot.

Posting ASCII Art as a Web Gallery

Which image shows the ASCII art better? One is a screen capture of ASCII art I posted as text to a blog. To display it as text rather than an image file (png, jpg or gif) I have to be satisfied with those lines running through it and the gaps too. I don’t like it, but so far it’s the best solution I have found to the problem of displaying text in an HTML world. I prefer using screen capture to display the ASCII art so it can show as I created it, in the text file.

Likely this is getting confusing for anyone who has not had the problem of making ASCII art work to be shown on the Internet.

I used to post ASCII art to HubPages and other online sites. I seldom do now because several people were leaving comments about the images being posted as an image file instead of as a text file (which they could grab with cut and paste – using without permission or assuming ASCII art is all free to take).

Well, I had set it up to display as an image gallery, just like photos, paintings and so on. The artist does not bring paint cans to the gallery and try to recreate all his or her work for the display. I see the ASCII art the same way.

Mainly, it is very difficult to get the ASCII art to display in plain text. Each site uses different software, HTML code and fonts. Every time I want to post ASCII art as text I would have to figure out how it will work on each individual site and sections on the site itself could be different. I did find some things which worked, sort of.

For blogs I found a plugin which displays the text in the right format but, it leaves it choppy looking, with bare lines between. I don’t like the look of it – but it is the best I have found so far.  I’m still using it on this blog and my other blogs if I post a few ASCII art pictures I find on the web.

At this point I am done with trying to post text files anywhere online but in an actual text file which can be a clickable link from the HTML web page. Keep it simple.

If people want to complain they can go ahead and do so. But, no one should complain without offering me a solution to the problem of posting text in an HTML environment. If you don’t have a real solution, you should not complain about the solution I have found.