Descriptive ASCII Art – Word Play in Text

Rebus Puzzles, Wordies, Visual Puns, Pictogram Puzzles and Descriptive ASCII

I’ve seen this kind of insight puzzle several times over the years but if I knew the correct name for it I had forgotten. They are called Rebus Puzzles, also known as Wordies. In searching for more of these online I have found them called a variety of names: visual puns, pictogram puzzles and Descriptive ASCII. When people don’t know the name, they come up with something themselves. I like ‘visual pun’ it makes sense.

Some puzzles are straight forward text (like those I’ve added below). Others include pictures and symbols too. There’s probably confusion about describing these styles and labelling them all with the same name.

If you get brain strained and want a different kind of word game, try BookWorm.

Adding a New Element to ASCII Art

I like the idea of taking this a step farther as an ASCII art element. I’ve been working on ideas to create wordie puzzles (without pictures, just in text). They are a new element to add to text art. Kind of puzzling…

So far I find I am only thinking along the lines of puzzles which include directional words like “above, over, under, beside”. I think I can take the text puzzles farther once I wrap my mind around the idea of keeping them typed out rather than using graphic software which would let me move the words around the final image.

Maybe no one will understand what I’m talking about there. But, I do and it’s kind of a cool project for “someday”.

Links for More Wordie Puzzles and Puns

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


Make Your Own Font

I found FontForge which is a free and open source font editor. You can use it to make your own fonts. My favourite font for ASCII art is FixedSys, the one which comes with MS Notepad. It is thick/ bold so easy to view as I’m making something new or for capturing screenshots to share what I finish making.

I’m not quite ready to try making my own monospaced font. But, it would be an interesting project.