Minikin Font

minikin.medium.character-map-1

Minikin is a caption font, made for display at extremely small sizes.

I call it a semi-serif font because it only has serifs on ascenders and descenders. By making the ascenders and descenders so wide, I was able to shrink their height. It’s fairly common for descenders to take up about 20% of a font’s height. In Minikin, the descenders only take up 15% of the height. The ascenders are also compressed to take only 15% (measuring between x-height and cap-height). A few characters—(,|, {,},l, and)— extend beyond the cap-height by a further 3%. This leaves a full 67% of the height for main body of most letters. Some other things that make it legible at small sizes are:
(1) It has low stroke contrast. The thickest strokes are about 13% of the height. The thinnest are about 8%.
(2) It has thick strokes, which prevents it from looking washed-out at small sizes. (At larger sizes, its thick strokes and vertical emphasis make it look a bit like a blackletter.)
(3) Its counters are very open. Rather than anchoring curves with one point, I often anchored them with two, making the circular areas bulge toward becoming rectangles.
(4) Where whitespace points in toward the letter, a little additional whitespace has been hollowed out to prevent that corner from filling with ink when printed. For an example of these hollows, view the ampersand around size 72.
(5) The letters are spaced generously: usually each of the bearings (the margins on each letter’s edges) is about as wide as a stroke, which means that the space between each letter pair is almost two strokes wide.

You can use this font under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/). Attribute to Graham Herrli.

If you do use it, please send an email to herrli <dot> ch [at] hotmail <dot> com to let me know. (No obligation to email, but it’ll give me a warm fuzzy feeling if you do.)

 

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