For computer programmers, it can be hard to find the right type.
With this in mind, Hoefler & Co created a new font inspired by typewriters called Operator with coders in mind. The typeface comes in two options. The first is “monospaced” like your typical Roman font, which is constrained by a common width. The second is more relaxed, and doesn’t restrict all of the letters and numbers in a fixed space. Jonathan Hoefler, the founder of Hoefler & Co, said that since this typeface doesn’t stick to one particular style, it allows for greater personal expression as well as novel design solutions.
“I imagine it as a typeface that a designer might reach for to evoke this mood that is more about authorship,” said Hoefler. “It feels more about correspondence than the anonymity of text.”
Some design solutions the typeface aims to solve are issues that arise for programmers who want to articulate different kinds of code. The italics were designed to tackle problems such the indistinguishability between a lower case “l,” an upper case “i,” and the number one.
“It’s troublesome enough as a reader, but as a programmer the difference between these things syntactically is the difference of code running and not running,” said Hoefler.
When letters and numbers get “pressed into service” in unexpected ways, said Hoefler, such as the numbers on bank checks or on credit cards, the mechanical restrictions produce an aesthetic that is distinct and memorable.
“It can be alien sometimes,” said Hoefler, “but it’s often that alien quality that makes it recognizable to people."
Call out to coders: Let us know what you think of the Operator typeface. Is using it helpful, or just too alien? Tweet us @MarketplaceTech.
Additional production by Levi Sharpe.