Categories / Inspiration

What is a Monospaced Font?

Liam McKay August 6, 2021 · 4 min read

Fonts come in all shapes and sizes, and pretty much every font can be classified into different font groups based on certain shared characteristics. Every classification of font serves a different purpose and is built with a different goal or vision in mind, and today we are going to explore the unique world of monospaced fonts and find out what makes them so interesting and useful to use for many.

What is a Monospaced Font?

In short, monospaced fonts are unique in that all of the characters take up the same amount of horizontal space. Usually, fonts feature some variety in individual character width and spacing, but a monospaced font ensures that each character’s width never varies, and as a result, they often look a little more spaced out or separated than the proportional fonts that we are more used to seeing. Essentially you could draw the same rectangle box around each character, and the spacing for each would be the same throughout.
Calling Code by Dharma Type

Visually speaking, monospaced fonts still feature varieties within the group; for example, there are still both serif and sans-serif versions of monospaced fonts. They can deviate in their individual flair and form, but they are easily identified as monospaced fonts due to their fixed, consistent character widths and spacing.
Even if you are not familiar with the term ‘monospaced’ — you have almost certainly used or seen monospaced fonts regularly. One popular example that many people may know is the popular ‘Courier’ typeface (?), which I’m sure many of you may recognize.

Why do Monospaced Fonts Exist?

Certainly, in modern times the reason for using or creating a monospaced font could be purely a visual one — but traditionally speaking, monospaced fonts existed because of more physical, mechanical limitations associated with typewriters. Characters on a typewriter needed to take up the same amount of width as each-other so that with each keypress, the ribbon would move the same amount each time. While monospaced fonts certainly popped up out of necessity, they still have their advantages in modern times.
Merchant Ledger – Typewriter Family by Twinbrush Image Forge

Advantages of Monospaced Fonts

Most fonts focus on using proportional spacing or kerning to ensure that the shape of entire words is more recognizable, making it easier to read and scan large portions of text. However, monospaced fonts aim to do something very different as they put the focus solely on the individual characters themselves.
Code & Terminals
Because of this focus on individual characters, monospaced fonts have become the default font choice in products aimed at developers working with code. Many code editors and terminals use monospaced fonts quite exclusively. This is often because scrolling through hundreds of code lines to look for a specific character or symbol becomes significantly easier when a monospaced font is used.
Code Saver by Dharma Type

Numbers and finance
Another advantage of monospaced fonts can be seen when working with numbers. If you think about a spreadsheet or financial statement where there is a need for clear and easy to read numbers, you will often see monospaced fonts used — this is because it becomes easier to distinguish numbers at a glance, and fixed-width numbers tend to sit more neatly in a column-style layout.
TG Frekuent Mono by Tegamitype

Code Saver by Dharma Type

Explore Monospaced Fonts

All that said, monospaced fonts don’t always have to be used with a specific job in mind; sometimes, they might just fit a certain visual style you are trying to achieve. So while they may have been created for a specific purpose and still have useful applications today, they can certainly still be used purely as a stylistic choice. There are some great creative interpretations of monospaced fonts that can add their unique style to any project. Let’s quickly explore some handpicked monospaced fonts that I discovered on the marketplace.
Aux Mono by ATK® Studio

Gopher Mono Font Family by Adam Ladd

Cygnito Mono by ATK® Studio

Qirate Mono | A Monospaced Font by Fateh.Lab

Loma – A Vintage-Style Stamp Font by Loren Klein

Ellograph CF by Connary Fagen

Cartograph CF by Connary Fagen

Digerati Mono Font Family by Haäfe & Haph

Antikor Font Family by Taner Ardali

Monospaced Collection

If you are looking for more products in this style, you’ll be glad to know I put together a growing collection of monospaced fonts that features some of the very best monospaced fonts that I came across on the Creative Market store. If you have any suggestions that you think I should add to the collection, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Products Seen In This Post:

Typography Basics Cheatsheet
Remember key typography concepts
Typography terms made simple.

Grab this handy cheatsheet summarizing some of the most important typography terms.

Download the PDF
About the Author
Liam McKay

Try some of my FREE goods: Designer with a love for beautiful Icons, Textures, Brushes and WordPress Themes.

View More Posts
Go to My Shop
Related Articles