Novel ideas for tiny fonts

The largest computer monitor we have in our lab is a Dell Ultrasharp U3011 30″ LCD Monitor, which has a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. I realized today that with my tiny font, one could comfortably fit an entire novel, say “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, on a single screen (I did the math, and indeed Jekyll and Hyde would totally fit on that screen).

So today I started to do just that, until at some pint I realized that nobody would actually ever read it in that form. While it is intriguing to contemplate a novel that can be taken in all at once on one computer screen, such a thing would exist only as a kind of conceptual artifact, to show what is possible, not what is practical.

Not that I’m against conceptual art. Sometimes such projects are so utterly crazy, they attain a kind of grace. Like if a nation were to spend countless billions of dollars just so a few people could take a stroll on the Moon. What could be cooler than that?

But I think a tiny font novel-as-screenshot would be worth doing if it were visually overlaid with the movie version of Stevenson’s classic allegory, using the variable font-boldness technique I showed yesterday. Since this story has so many film adaptations (a few of which are quite good), it might be interesting to switch between them. But in every case, the theme is clear: Like Jekyll and Hyde, a novel and a film are as different as two media can be, yet they are actually two aspects of the same entity (cue scary music).

More generally, the tiny font technique could be used to display the entire screenplay of a film you are watching, directly on the screen. The scale of the font is so much smaller than the scale of the film imagery that they would not visually interfere with one another. It could even be a kind of hypertext — as the film progresses, resonances and parallels between different places in the film could be subtlely highlighted in the screenplay itself.

3 Responses to “Novel ideas for tiny fonts”

  1. Sharon says:

    Your explorations with tiny fonts remind me a little of shape poetry, and also photo mosaics, but with a different twist.

  2. Andras says:

    Perhaps it could be used in concert with filament paper? 😉

  3. dpla says:

    Interesting ideas.

    Now back to the concept, in an extreme way, and almost unreadable without a magnifying glass, I could display and read 512’000 chrs of your choice on your display, with my 2×3 font (which is not full ASCII of course, and not Braille at all b.t.w.), i.e. (2560/2)*(1600/4) signs, and I’d use the blue component to display a 1-bit background picture or video just for the fun :-))

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