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Good typeface for a point-of-sale receipt printer?
July 21, 2009 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have suggestions for a good typeface for a point-of-sale receipt printer? I have a project to design messages printed on the bottom of a cash register receipt. These are B&W thermal printers, about 200-250 DPI. The text is 6-12 points. We're going primarily for readability and cleanliness and we're happy to pay for quality. Before we go with what we already have (Verdana, Arial, etc.), we'd love suggestions for what might be better.
posted by herzigma to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
1) Minuscule.

2) Celeste Small Text
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:47 AM on July 21, 2009

Bell Gothic was designed as a typeface for phone books, which have tiny type, crappy paper, and low-tech printing equipment. Seems like those are the same problems you run into with a cash register receipt.
posted by letourneau at 11:13 AM on July 21, 2009

Are you sure the printers can even use arbitrary fonts? Many serial-based receipt printers just take text data and can only use a very limited selection of built-in fonts. The ones I've worked on had proprietary command sets to change between the built-in fonts and sizes, do centering, etc., very much like old mainframe line printers. I would look into this if you haven't already, to make sure you're not designing something that's impossible to implement.

Assuming you can choose anything you want, put me down as a vote for Bell Gothic; I like the cleanliness. Minuscule has faces defined down to 2 points though, so if you need some serious fine print (and your printer has sufficient resolution!) it might be the better choice.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:47 AM on July 21, 2009

Hoefler & Frere-Jones has an Agate & Micro classification. "These are fonts that flourish at sizes smaller than text. ('Newspaper agate' is type that runs at fourteen lines to the inch, usually about five point.)"
posted by Dean King at 1:54 PM on July 21, 2009

Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions!

To answer Kadin2048: we're essentially generating 450 pixel-wide images to be delivered to the individual printers (not old serial ones). So all the text will be laid out and then rendered into a BMP file to be transmitted to the client.

I'll look at all the fonts suggested. Do any of them stand out as looking particularly good at lower DPIs and w/o anti-aliasing?

Thanks again!
posted by herzigma at 7:06 AM on July 22, 2009

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