I like fonts.
June 14, 2020 5:02 PM   Subscribe

I wish to recreate an '80s era IBM typeball font for personal use since I like it.

The Dual Gothic fontball in the second image in the above link interests my druthers. There doesn't seem to be a modern font file that replicates it; even if it did exist, I would want to dink around with keming and add Unicode complete characters and otherwise mess with it to my personal preference for general web use.

I consider myself an advanced amateur in image manipulation, but with little experience in vector work. What open/free/shareware software would I need to use to make this happen?
posted by Evilspork to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
FontForge Open Source Font Editor will probably be a part of it.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:07 PM on June 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Definitely fontforge. The Letter Gothic is almost exactly the same as "lucida sans typewriter" which was the default font in Open Look (Sun's X Windows) in the early 90s. It's so good you can still find it on Unix-like machines today, in the original bitmaps and also vectorized. It might be a good starting point for you. (I still use it every day on my desktop computer, and I have the ball for my Selectric too.)
posted by fritley at 5:24 PM on June 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Not to dissuade you from learning to create your own fonts, but you might be interested to know that Dual Gothic was already digitized by Jonathan Hares as Superstudio in 2003.
Superstudio is a digital version of the IBM Selectric Typewriter font, 12 Dual Gothic. An unusual monospace sans serif, 12 Dual Gothic was one of the less successful fonts introduced for IBM’s seminal product line of golf ball typewriters, which dominated the US market in the 1960s and 70s.
posted by bcwinters at 7:34 PM on June 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

IBM recently released a monospace font inspired by some of their old typewriter fonts. Even if you're more interested in making your own than in using something pre-made, the website they made for the font is really interesting from a type design perspective, and had some fun interactive visualizations of the letterforms.
posted by duien at 3:47 PM on June 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

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