font without spacing for ascendents and descendents

WoJ's picture


I am looking for a sans serif font without spacing for ascendents and descendents. I tried all caps fonts but the ones I found still have some vertical space.

I will be using this font for its digits (so it could be a digit-only font) which will need to be readable (similar to, say, Droid Sans). they will be large and I do not want them to take more vertical space than needed. The problem I am having is visible on this screenshot: -- there is space wasted above and below the numbers.

Would you have a recommendation for such a "tightly fit" font?

Thank you for any suggestions,

bojev's picture

Could that wasted space be coming from the leading setting (space between lines) of the program displaying the numbers. Leading can be set to 0 in some programs.

WoJ's picture

@bojev: no, I removed all widget-induced padding. If you look at the horizontal fitting you will see that it is tight. The vertical space really seems to be reserved for ascendents and descendents.

hrant's picture

Virtually all fonts have some "internal leading", so you might need to customize.

There's something else: some shapes (like the top and bottom of the zero) are supposed to overshoot the nominal bounds. How would you see that handled?


Michel Boyer's picture

What is the font that gives you this output?

WoJ's picture

The font is 'Muli'. This is an example, I also tried with all caps fonts but they still have this extra spacing.

WoJ's picture

@hrant: I imagine having no space above and below the limit of the hightest (lowerst) glyph. A tightly bound font, so to speak.

Michel Boyer's picture

Good, I downloaded the font. What I get is that the ascender corresponds to the upper blue line and the descender to the lower blue line in this figure which is part of your grab.


The Ascent is 1638, the descent is 410 (the em is 2048). The top of the green rectangle corresponds to the OS/2 Win Ascent (equal to 1960, also Type Ascent and HHead Ascent) and the bottom to the OS/2 Win Descent (Win Descent is 625, Typo Descent is -625 and HHead Descent is -625).

Cuboctaedro's picture

Couldn't you solve the problem by using negative leading? A line height smaller than your type size?

nina's picture

Could this be a job for Irma?

quadibloc's picture

The technical term in the days of hot metal for a font that had no extra space for descenders (they tended to be all-caps fonts; since some lower-case letters have ascenders, I'm not sure how one could have just the x-height on the type slug unless the font was specialized) is 'titling' as in Times Titling.

But with the flexibility of digital typography, separate titling fonts, as far as I know, wouldn't make sense, and thus are not offered as such. Since Times Titling is stylistically different from the upper-case of regular Times, it could be available as a font, but the baseline would not move - digital font standards handle type alignment differently from hot metal, so you don't have to tell your word processor to move text in an 'art line' face down and text in a 'titling face' up. That would be imposing extra work for no reason.

What I think the word processors do is this - different faces do still have the baseline in different places on the body, because some faces have shorter descenders than others - so if you mix such faces on the line, the line is forced to take up more space than your point size, even if you have specified no extra space. Fancier DTP programs may give you more control.

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