Monday, 15th December 2003
A design is complete because you cannot take anything away. Small font numbers are a good example.

What is the smallest readable size for numbers?

3x5 SmallFonts 0123456789

Number with one colour in Small Fonts size 3x5 pixels are easy recognisable.

  • Is a smaller size possible?
  • Are there any redundant pixels to loose?
2x4 SmallFonts 0123456789

Numbers in Small Fonts size 2x4 seem well readable, but there are a few problems:

  • The 0 and the 8 look alike, are undistinguishable.
  • The same story for the 3 and the 9.
During session in the think tank with the frog I puzzle looking at eight tiles on the wall. Is it possible to make size 2x4 numbers recognizable? Are the problems with the 0, 3, 8 and 9 solvable? Or does Small Fonts offer the optimal solution already?

The 0 and 9 are fine as they are, but what to do with th 3 and the 8? It takes me weeks to squeeze their roundings into a 2x4 straightjacket.
2x4 Alternative 0123456789
  • The 3 is tricky. There is no space for the centre line. In the end I decide that a 3 with just one rounding should be still recognisable.
  • The roundings of the 8 are not cooperating either. I fail to draw two circles in 2x4. Finally I decide that the 8 is recognisable because it consists out of two circles. I do manage to draw those two parts apart.

I like this design of numbers. But... is it complete, is there any spare pixel to loose?

So, the numbers 0123456789 are small enough. You can not take anything away. The design is complete.

Till next nut,