Today I became curious to know whether the tiny font I made a while back could support different font styles. It’s a useful thing to determine, because as far as I know this font is the smallest readable screen font.
By the way, if you’ve been a grownup for a while (he said oh so diplomatically), you might want to wear reading glasses for what follows.
As a base comparison for the following discussion, here is my standard benchmark test — the first 515 words of the U.S. Declaration of Independence on a 320×240 screen, with enough room left over for a comfortable margin all around:
As a test I added bold and italic styles. In the following screen shot, all of the characters on the right half of the screen are in bold, and all of the characters on the bottom half of the screen are in italic (so the bottom right quadrant is all in bold-italic):
It seems to work just great! Nicely enough, I didn’t even need to make the bold characters take up more room than the non-bold characters. As you can see, the words all remain at their original locations on the screen.
I also realized that with a font this small, it might be interesting to embed visual messages — or even animations — within the relative boldness of each character on the page. This could lead to a new kind of art form.
For example, in the below version of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, a shadowy figure appears to loom mysteriously over the document, perhaps subtlely shifting its significance into directions unforeseen by our Nation’s founders:
In a way this image is sort of funny. As long as you don’t, um, think about it too much.