Input is a new extensive type series designed for code and other texts less ordinary. David Jonathan Ross was looking for fonts better-suited to his programming needs: unambiguous letterforms, clear punctuation, large word spaces for fast skimming, and more options to highlight code syntax. What started as an explorations into possibilities resulted in a comprehensive system with sans-serif, serif and monospaced families in four widths and seven weights.
Input Sans and Input Serif might look monospaced at first sight, but they are not. Critical characters like m and W are given more room while letters like I, i or l are not forced to stretch. The two families make a great pair in texts and headlines, or provide slightly different flavors on their own. Numerals and punctuation are still designed on the same set-width so they easily line up in tables and strings of numbers. And of course there’s a monospaced variant of Input for when you want one, e.g. terminal commands or just the pure look of code and correspondence.
All variants of Input are available in normal, narrow, condensed and compressed widths to best meet your preferences and space constraints: normal and narrow styles are dependable choices for small copy, the Compressed and Condensed work well in headlines, narrow columns or lists. For example, short lines of text in portrait mode on mobile devices benefit from rather condensed styles while wider styles suit longer lines — a great feature to experiment with in responsive design.
Input’s seven weights take into account that text on screen isn’t always set black on white. The Thin to Regular styles act like grades, meaning they share the same spacing and show a rather subtle weight difference from one weight to the next. This can be utilized to compensate for lighter and heavier rendering on high- vs. low-res screens, or the halo effect of backlit reversed type. Similarly, Medium and Bold make two grades with identical spacing, and complement the Light and Regular respectively.
Input is ruggedized for the roughest conditions and smallest sizes as reflected in the wide proportions, the extremely high x-height and the generous spacing. Ross began by designing a bitmap font and then drew Input’s letterforms on top of it to ensure excellent rendering on screen. The Light, Regular, Medium, and Bold were manually hinted for font-sizes down to 9px in all browsers and platforms. The Thin, Extra Light and Black styles are meant for medium sizes and display applications. When used large, you might want to set Input with a bit of negative letter-spacing for more vigor.
All these different variants, widths and weights make Input versatile far beyond just code editors. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of styles (168), they’re only there to give you maximum flexibility. A handful might already be enough, depending on scope and complexity of your work: responsiveness, space, line-length, font-size, positive or reversed text, etc.
Input is all about options, also within the character set. Alternate glyphs for often ambiguous letterforms let you choose via stylistic sets which form of i or l you prefer. All fonts cover the WGL character set (Western and Eastern Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts) and include a full set of Unicode box drawing characters, as well as fractions, arrows and ornaments (accessible via HTML entities in the style of &#xUNICODE;). We put together a dedicated Input brochure site to show all features of Input in detail and tell the full story behind the design.
And the best: Input is available free of charge for private / unpublished usage. This includes things like use in your personal coding app or composing plain text documents. Customize and download your preferred set on the Input brochure site. On Webtype, we offer all styles under an inexpensive publishing license, starting from $5 per style. As with all fonts on Webtype, you can try any style of Input free of charge for 30 days. For more info see the Input family pages.