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Niche typefaces

My handwriting is horrible — and even though my teachers back in school insisted on the fact that the quality of handwriting didn’t play any role in grading whatsoever, I can’t help but think that it probably would’ve mattered to me if I’d been my teacher.

Ironically — probably to compensate for my subpar analog handwriting — I care a lot about typefaces used in digital tools. As strange as it sounds, this is probably one of the reasons I prefer using macOS over Linux or Windows. I find its font rendering to be vastly superior by comparison. This and this subreddit indicate that I’m not alone in this.

In a further testament to Apple taking digital typography seriously, they introduced the San Francisco font family as a default on their platforms, almost ten years ago. What stuck with me from the introduction back then is how they’ve specifically mentioned designing San Francisco with a focus on screen legibility across their different platforms.

Since the introduction of San Francisco improved my user experience with macOS considerably, I figured that it’d make sense to look around for other purpose-built typefaces to use in some of the applications I interact with regularly.

After some sampling & experimentation, here are the ones that stuck:

Fern Micro — For eInk Devices & Reading Long Texts

Amazon’s Bookerly typeface on the Kindle is great, but I like this one even more for reading. Its creator mentions that it’s specifically optimized for reading long texts on a screen, and I couldn’t agree more.

MonoLisa — For Code Editors & the Terminal

Yes, it’s kinda expensive — but if you read & write code for a living, investing in a monospaced typeface that is this beautiful and has code ligature support also kinda pays off.

Combine it with Hyper Terminal and in a heartbeat CLI apps will look more visually appealing than the majority of GUI applications.

Sans Forgetica — For Spaced Repetition & Generally Memorizing Information

Science doesn’t confirm it — but the idea nonetheless is neat: a typeface that’s supposed to improve your text recall by deliberately disjointing part of characters and thus, increasing your mental focus while reading.