Is Inconsolata for screen or print? 02.12.2009

Multiple people have told me in the last couple hours that Inconsolata, the font I mentioned in the previous post, is meant for print, and not for the screen.

And yes, I know that. It says so right on the font’s page: “It is a monospace font, designed for code listings and the like, in print.”

But at a large point size, and with proper antialiasing, there’s a noticeable difference between Inconsolata and something like Consolas. To me, at that size and resolution, Inconsolata looks more open, more inviting — warmer. It’s a monotype font that has a little bit of the soul of a proportional font; not completely cold and uniform, but with hints of humanistic touches.

Obviously, some people might not prefer that. And honestly, I also very much enjoy Consolas. It’s an awesome font, despite my preference for Inconsolata.

But really, what it came down to was my specific annoyances with each font and the avenues I had available to address those annoyances.

Consolas has a (retardedly) short hyphen or dash (the - character). It looks cut off. It looks hurried. It looks like a misplaced scratch rather than an actual character.

Inconsolata had the single and double quote annoyance.

So why did I choose to fix Inconsolata rather than Consolas?

From a purely practical point of view, it was the one that let me. The Font Forge source for Inconsolata is available, and readily lets anyone change the font glyphs to suit their purposes. Whereas Consolas is a Microsoft font, and doesn’t really have easy ways to slightly modify glyphs like extending its hyphen out by a bit.

That said, I hardly think of myself a font connoisseur of any ability. So maybe it is meant for print and not for screen. All I can really say is it looks quite okay to me.