...On Monospaced Fonts
Lately, I've been in a monospaced mood.
There are about a million monospaced fonts out there.* I don't know if entry level type designers just think it's easy to make one due to the fact that spacing is super easy or what, but everyone and their mom seems to be releasing monospaced fonts.
We've compiled a list of five monospaced fonts we've found to be either incredibly reliable, a fresh addition to the font database, robust and clear, just flat out fun, great for a specific design style, or innovative for the genre. There are a few well known font families here, as well as a few newcomers you may not have heard of yet. We've included links to the foundries that made them and ways to discover more.
There are lots of font reviews and recommendations for monospaced fonts out there, but these are ours.
Range Mono is the girl standing in the corner at the party perhaps too shy to shake new hands, but is remarkably interesting and a total surprise once you can say hi. With its softer curves and paired down features, range Mono is a clean and tidy monospace. It comes offered in four weights, and a "code mode" so it's perfect for projects where you're looking for the monospaced style but not making it the main feature of the design. The font has a pretty clean trial site to try it out to boost.
Founders GrotesK Mono
Founders Grotesk Mono, hailing from the now wonderfully known Founders Grotesk Family by Klim Type Foundry, is an absolutely perfect workhorse monospace. Since it springs from the Founders Grot Family, it is rooted firmly in a more traditional typographic tradition and bucks the default 'computer-y' feel most monospaced fonts usually have.
As a display font, FGM is striking; especially in the bolder weights. Its quirks really come out in the most pleasant ways. In a typesetting role, it has a fantastic consistency in color and weight that's just so easy to use and to read. One of my favorite considerations taken in this font is the set of monospaced fractions. A top notch use of Open Type Features.
Overall, if you're looking for a fresh modern update for a clean and reliable workhorse mono, look no further than Founders Grotesk Mono. I suggest going to the source at purchasing the full family of weights on Klim's site, or buying a license over at Village, where you can try it out, download an extensive PDF Specimen, and learn more about it.
Isonorm Monospaced makes the list not necessarily for its charming design quirks, robust functionality, or supreme originality, but because it gets to the core of what a fun and basic monospaced font can be.We also love it for it's oblique italic. Here's how FontFont describes the origins of Isonorm Monospaced:
"The “Isonorm” letters were developed by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in 1980. Their design is simply geometric. All of the strokes have rounded endings. These “Isonorm” letters have always been primarily used for drafting purposes by architects and engineers." I personally like these simply constructed letterforms for the airy color they leave on the page while remaining strong for longer readings. It comes with an italic is not a true italic but an oblique version of the upright fonts. Not many monospaced fonts dare to include an 'italic' version, so we put Isonorm Monospaced on this list for it's daring to go for it.
Head over to FontFont to discover both weights and the fun oblique.
Martha Martha Martha!
Many monospaced fonts adhere to the cold, digital roots monospaced fonts came from. Martha however, breaks out of that mold with truly energetic style. Martha comes from Type Media grads Alexandre Saumier Demers and Étienne Aubert Bonn and their new foundry enterprise, Coppers and Brasses.
Martha does a good job balancing out the structure a monospaced font requires and the dynamism in weight and style to make it unique. The lighter weight has a great color on the page which helps it break out of sole 'code-y' uses and would make for a fresh type choice in any other project. They describe the design as grotesque monospaced letterforms. My favorite part? ...the "ridiculously complete" character set including small caps. This font family has legs.
Always save the best for last, right?
Input has proven to be one of the most extensive, most well thought out, most versatile, and best marketed monospaced fonts I've seen so far. Crafted by David Jonathan Ross (@djrrb) at Font Bureau, Input is a font family designed specifically for coding. He describes the catalyst for his monospaced opus as taking "its aesthetic cues from monospaced fonts and pixel fonts designed for consoles and screens, but casts off the technical limitations that constrained them."
DJR's commitment to process in the creation of this family is evident. It comes in "both monospaced and proportional fonts, all with a large range of widths, weights, and styles for richer code formatting." Input deploys some pretty fantastic marketing strategies to help you really get an idea of what is involved and what it can do for you including this specially devoted site and tutorials on how to replace your system font in Yosemite with Input — a move I highly suggest. Input Monospaced makes a climactic appearance on this list, but the monospace is only half of the full Input picture. The Input site has so so much more on all of the ins and outs of the rest of the family.
You can pick up the font for personal use for free, and what I think is a VERY good price for publishing and web uses over on the mini site here.
*Note, a million is an estimation and a pretty terrible one at that.