shadows and light


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

Frank Lloyd Wright

Jaisalmer, India, 2009

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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—e-ink 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 e-ink 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 e-ink 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..

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font trio revisited

saturday, 25 march 2023

Iota rapidly established itself as the default font on my e-reader. It is a very unique yet highly readable font and sported the single-storey lower case a which i am drawn to for the added openness it renders to the page—further emphasized by the “open” glyph choices of the Iota font.

articulate and typograffic fell into a bit of disuse simply because they were historical points in the progression to Iota—their differences from the font somewhat nuanced.

In this endless exploration of fonts i decided to revisit them—all of them as it would turn out with the return to the serifless lower case j. At 300PPI the serifless glyph is still quite legible and harkens back to its earlier usage, so i revisited the fonts to see what could be done to render them more distinct from each other while retaining the overall dyslexic character of the trio.

dyslexic tunings

the asymmetric glyphs common to all three typefaces remains..

lower case from hyperlegible shape to dyslexic shape
b toothed toothless-rounded
d toothed-serifless  
p eared earless-corner
q hook-tailed (mapped glyph*)  
n straight  
u toothed toothless-rounded

To achieve the “character” differences i was seeking, i decided to revisit the font heritage which influenced the glyph choices to begin with..

atkinson hyperlegible

remains the most influential font, providing the base glyph set that was tweaked for dyslexia. Along the way several of the upper case glyphs were changed, notably the crossed capital Q—my being decidedly biased against dense glyphs.

At 300PPI, however, this is not a legibility issue, so the articulate font returns to..



upper case from prior shape to hyperlegible shape
G toothed-serifless-hookless toothed-serifless-hooked
J descending-flat-hook-serifless serifless
Q straight crossing
lower case from prior shape to hyperlegible shape
j flat-hook-serifed flat-hook-serifless

This is a decidedly highly legible font very closely matching the Atkinson Hyperlegible Font.

univers grotesk

with the serifless capital I and double-storey lower case a, typograffic gets a similar face lift to complement its descending lower case f..



upper case from prior shape to grotesk shape
G toothed-serifless-hookless toothless-rounded-serifless-hooked
I serifed serifless
J descending-flat-hook-serifless flat-hooked-serifless
Q straight (unchanged)
lower case from prior shape to grotesk shape
a single-storey double-storey
f flat-hook-extended-crossbar-at-x-height (unchanged)
j flat-hook-serifed flat-hook-serifless

Save for the dyslexic tuned glyphs, typograffic now more closely resembles its Grotesk roots.


has just a minor change..



upper case from prior shape to Iota shape
B standard-interrupted-serifless (unchanged)
G toothed-serifless-hookless (unchanged)
I descending-serifless (unchanged)
J descending-flat-hook-serifless (unchanged)
P open (unchanged)
Q straight (unchanged)
R straight-open (unchanged)
lower case from prior shape to Iota shape
a single-storey-serifless (unchanged)
f flat-hook-extended-crossbar-at-x-height (unchanged)
j flat-hook-serifed flat-hook-serifless

Note: The capital I in the exhibit is the serifless glyph from the Iosevka web page—and not the glyph created for the font. Similarly, the lower case q for the three fonts is replaced by the unicode hook-tailed glyph.

All told though, typograffic differs from articulate by 5 glyphs and Iota from typograffic and articulate by 7 glyphs and 9 glyphs respectively. See if you can spot them :)
Note: iota has the descending capital I which is not represented in the screenshot.

i expect to be an outlier in my fondness for the iota typeface. But with the changes made to it’s predecessor fonts, the articulate and typograffic fonts should find a wider audience with their more familiar glyph sets.

Edit: Recently, i’ve been reading with the previous version of Iota with the serifed lower case j. It just feels more “right” with this typeface (to my eyes) despite my Grotesk leanings—aligning with my non-mirrored dyslexic rule, even though it still is a J. In this instance, the serifed separation from the dot adds stands out from its descending-serifless upper case glyph, especially at small font sizes. i am no neuroscientist but perhaps this reflects a visual cortex pattern recognition (memory expectation) of glyph shapes while reading with a specific typeface, hence, the benefit of the contrasting outline—the distinction lessening the visual effort to determine the case of the word and the context it implies.


ranking order tightens up between the articulate and typograffic fonts with these changes. Before it was distinctly articulate first and a toss between typograffic and Iota. Now articulate and typograffic are a very very close one two with Iota remaining third on the podium—still a lovely typeface.

The crossing capital Q for the articulate font returns the familiar and distinct glyph. Similarly, the serifless lower case j is restored—albeit its dot loses a bit of separation with the loss of the serif at small font sizes.

The typograffic font gains the most in the readability scale with the return of the double-storey lower case a and the rounded-hooked capital G. The serifless capital I, often a readability issue with geometric fonts, differentiates itself against typograffic’s remaining glyph set.

Iota doesn’t make any gains in readability. It’s descending capital I is highly distinct but the thrust of the font with its open hookless capital G and single-storey lower case a for a more open font loses a few points for those with impaired vision—especially at small font sizes—whilst gaining a few (imo) with its clean minimalist geometry and unique yet understated flair. i adore this font.

For everyone else, the articulate and typograffic fonts offer two highly readable fonts with slightly different grotesk flavourings. (But you still might do well to give Iota a glance—i find it enticingly seductive :)

Note: This web font is a hybrid of the font trio—augmented with vertical-crossing capital Q and serifed lower case j for better readability with the lower resolution of desktop screens in general.


The new e-reader fonts may be found on OneDrive under the font-trio folders within the Kindle and Kobo folders.

The j-serifless subfolder contains the fonts described above. The j-serifed subfolder retains the serifed lower case j for those who prefer its extra degree of legibility. The original trio of fonts remain available

As always, YMMV.


while it has been referenced multiple times in prior font articles on this site, it goes without saying that none of this font exploration would have been possible without the generosity of the creator of Iosevka—both the font generation itself and the glyph screenshot exhibits taken from its home/customization page—and those involved with the opensource FontForge project.

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