Bitmap Garamond

Bitmap Garamond is a set of simple text fonts designed for use in Web browsers. They are supplied in Bitmap Distribution Format for installation on machines running the X window system. You can't use them under Windows, nor on a Mac.

See an example, using text from the wm2 homepage.

I've only drawn these fonts in one size, more or less 14-pixel height, which is the size I like to use in my browser. I have no immediate plans to draw any other sizes, though you never know. The distribution includes a roman, a bold and an italic, but no bold-italic; all three of these are provided in both ISO-8859-1 Latin-1 and ISO-8859-2 Latin-2 encodings, with diacritics for most European languages (see details of the two encodings).

The letter shapes were drawn with half an eye to Tiro Typeworks' beautiful 1530 Garamond, although I fear they're terribly insulting to that typeface. (If I was a wealthier man with a pressing need for a good quality and not too modern Type-1 Garamond, Tiro would definitely be the first place I'd look.) It's debatable exactly how much of the feel of a Garamond can be conveyed in fonts of this small pixel size, and I'm certainly not a great designer; but they do at least have a bit more character than your average computer-age screen font. And they seem to be quite clear to read. And, well, in the world of X there isn't all that much competition.

If you want to try Bitmap Garamond, download the package. It's free. The distribution is a gzipped tarfile containing roman, bold and italic BDF files, in both encodings, plus a fonts.dir file for your font path and a fonts.alias file. The latter I use to redirect requests for the nonexistent larger- and smaller-sized fonts to a tasteful alternative, in this case B&H Lucida Sans which is generally good for titles and small-print. (I actually use the scalable Adobe Garamond, but you'd normally have to pay for that.) If you're using Netscape with an X server that likes to scale bitmap fonts, you'll probably also need to explicitly disable the `Allow Scaling' options in the browser's Preferences panel.

If you don't know how to install BDF fonts on your system, please go and find out before you download these ones.

These fonts were drawn with Mark Leisher's excellent xmbdfed Motif-based BDF editor.

(See also Codec, another BDF font available at this site.)

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