shadows and light


“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

Jaisalmer, India, 2009

»»  about


saturday, 4 march 2023

it’s rare to have an entry here. But 2023 appears to be a year of changes.

This all started innocently in 2022 with the acquisition of a Supernote A5X.. the intent, to delve deeper into digital journaling—eink reading being a primary driver for that thought. After a lifetime in technology i find myself gravitating towards the analogue despite my involvement with keyboards and optimizing their layouts for typing. And strangely, digital handwriting has rekindled my love of using fountain pens—i’ve never strayed from them for note taking, but journaling feels more complete with a “real” pen and paper or note book (as amazing as the eink technology of the Supernote represents—more on that later and how it will integrate into this site’s workflow.)

Recent software updates reminded me of the need to upgrade the VPS this site rests on.. an so a migration from a long unsupported Debian Linux release to Alpine Linux—here as well as the home base where Void Linux had previously served me well. Finally one distro to rule them all—the computers i dally with. More on that radical switch later.

Then there is the reorganization of a lot of the material posted that originally resided in colophon—it must have been strange for people perusing this site for information on keyboards and typography to be situated in that corner of the site normally reserved for a basic description of a site’s construction (even if fonts have played an important role in this site’s evolution). But honestly, the road traveled was never planned—these interests just morphed into deeper explorations at the time.

colophon articles were becoming a substantial portion of the site and with the slow personal transition to all things analogue, it feels appropriate to move the interest in eink usage of which the past years have been focused on dyslexic fonts to this corner of the site. So colophon will remain more hardware and technically oriented.

The changes are exciting.. though, in all honesty, they may result in even more diminished activity on this site! Reading and writing are satisfyingly complete activities. A sign perhaps of my age..

comment ?

grote font

tuesday, 3 october 2023

The asymmetrical lower case t of the groot and related fonts is, quite possibly, the final glyph substitution (available from the Iosevka project) to aid dyslexic readability. groot IMO is both a beautiful and highly legible font with its dyslexic glyph choices (though, some may prefer earlier glyph choice combinations that have been created :).

Up until now, all the fonts described here have all been derived from the Atkinson Hyperlegible font, with problematic glyph shapes tweaked for dyslexia. Ever passionate about the early Bauhaus period of font design, in particular, with the Futura font and its contemporary, the Jost font, i decided to create the grote font which edges ever more towards these sans serif fonts with maximal openness and geometric simplicity. Notably, the character cell filling “hook” of the lower case l and t are replaced with serifless glyph shapes to reflect a more grotesque heritage..

grote font

Similarly, the straight-turn of the lower case y simply becomes straight—aligning with the Bauhaus flavor of the font, further distancing from its Atkinson Hyperlegible origins. The lower case q does continue to retain its hook as part of the b d p q dyslexic glyph set—dyslexic readability still a focus of the font.

The serifless lower case l which is indistinguishable with the serifless capital I of the Futura font is clearly avoided by the grote font’s unique descending capital I. Strikingly, the familiar serifless crossed lower case t (of Futura) is replaced with the asymmetrical hookless glyph—which is less “dense” than the traditional crossed t, creating an even more open typeface (when combined with the serifless lower case l)—albeit, at the expense of familiarity (though, arguably more distinct).

It is stark with its geometric emphasis and has a completely different feel to the groot font. The added air emphasizes the sans serif sensation (even if the lower case i j are not—these remain serifed for maximum readability at small font sizes, the serif distinguishing their dot)..

Kobo with grote font

The hookless asymmetric t takes a bit of reading time to get used to, being an uncommon glyph shape. But the increased openness produced with its utter geometric simplicity and the visual motion of its shape impart a heightened sans serif look. The loss of the glyph hooks, turns and crossing strokes which are present in the Atkinson Hyperlegible font—the capital G, lower case l t y and 4—open up the grote font significantly (even compared to the groot font), strengthening its geometric cast—this does come with a somewhat reduced legibility for the visually impaired. The open capitals B P R and 4 complete the modern flair of the typeface.

It is not a typeface for everyone, unlike groot or stria—which is a lovely complement to the grote—which i am certain will have broader appeal. Before these font explorations, Futura was my go to typeface on my ereader. Now it feels like i have come full circle and then some. i’ve been reading with it for several days now nonstop and find it completely interchangeable with groot for ease on the eyes—it is a serendipitous geometric complement to the fonts created to date. If you’ve ever loved Futura and similar open geometric fonts, then this monospaced dyslexia tweaked font may appeal :)


The current ereader fonts—including the asymmetric t variants—may be found on OneDrive.

comment ?