the tiniest font

by dawn.blairr

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With most glyphs just 3px high, this might just be the tiniest font you ever use. I find the caps are especially fantastic :P
Info: Created on 20th November 2010 . Last edited on 20th November 2010.
License Creative Commons
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What are the ones at the bottom?
Comment by Bismuth 29th December 2010
Your numbers are terrific. But my absolute favorite in this ultra tiny pixel field remains the font "emp_pix" by designer designer Peter Zharnov. You can find it at
Comment by Abneurone Fluid Types 29th December 2010
I recommend you change the viewing size to the smallest possible,, thats what its suppossed to be like, and you should be able to see every character.
Comment by dawn.blairr 29th December 2010
@neurone error
I checked it out and it looks great! A little hard to read for me cause its a little more stylized. But very nice looking, uniform.
Comment by dawn.blairr 29th December 2010
I still can't figure out the last one.
Comment by Bismuth 1st January 2011
@Bismuth: I think it's a Euro sign.
Good job on the font, by the way. I've got my own minimalist font, but it's not as simple as this.
Comment by Logan Thomason (xenophilius) 1st January 2011
« With most glyphs just 3px high » : does not mean 6x7 in the end… What a pity your punctuations are this tall !
« the tiniest font » : is from you could see or experiment maybe, definitely not what the best digital micro font designers can and could get.
Strict 3x3, no more, no less. Every font beyond this limit are either deceiptive (too easy), or unfeasible (too small).
« this might just be the tiniest font you ever use » : never say '(n)ever' ;-) E.g. I use my own complete ASCII 3x3 font, and it works pretty well after practising (a rather short learning curve thanks to its uniformity).
Duplicates : c,l,x,z,0,1 (punctuations omitted) ; Mistakes : R,4,8 (large lowercase omitted).

From what I could only see on, Peter Zharnov's Emp_Pix has another deceiptive description : « 3x3 pixels »… actually 3x4 (because of 'Q'), even 3x5 (in punctuations). Besides, it has : dupes in E=B, N=H, P=F, 5=S, 8=B, 0=O, not counting the ones in the punctuations ; several illegible / ambiguous glyphs ; no lowercase… therefore it's a very incomplete font (so much so that it does not deserve this wording IMO : « micro pixel font »… yes, a sample of it, on a large grid), with so many errors (not only from the style - I guess a lack of deep knowledge in the Latin fonts) that it cannot but have been designed by another very beginning *** micro *** font author, unfortunately. This said, Emp_Pix may be useful to e.g. the ones that are satisfied with the feeling of a micro font, without the need of its practical extent.
Comment by dpla 8th March 2013
@dpla : Peter Zharnov's Emp_Pix is one of my favorite font ever whatever category, and it surely was a great reference when i was building my own baroque approach in the hardcore minimal field...
Comment by Abneurone Fluid Types 8th March 2013
Hi !
I understood that you loved Emp_Pix, but not all the reasons… I guess that once more you favor the style over the usability. It's quite an acceptable viewpoint. For practical reasons (computing etc.), I prefer the fonts that are 'real' ones = strictly defined, and not just a succession / easy patchwork of merged pieces of letters of any size, esp. if they are not unique in the set itself (which is lame, if you know / remember this meaning in the early demo scene). Now, this stated, Emp_Pix appeals to me as well, in the same way as you described, though a bit less than you, I'm sure, because I know how terrible it is to avoid all the dupes, while adding all the legible lowercase letters in a size no larger than the grid that a keypad is made of (3x3 + right & bottom blanks if you follow me)… Perhaps too, the date of release of Emp_Pix (end of 2006) took its role in this kind of relative fascination. My best memories are from 1. the first 'PCs' (you know : 80 columns of text at best in a word processor, via 4x? raster fonts, like the 3x5 fonts we can still see on FS today) ; 2. all my micro font attempts (and successes) starting with the budding demo scene (the real, old and dead one, that had all to do with limitations, like the one I'm talking about here). OK, I got a tad wordy once more ; here's the link to the font in question, so that every micro font designer (or candidate) can estimate the look vs the usability, or praise the the hard work vs the instant fun of the creation. CYA.
Comment by dpla 8th March 2013
@dpla : Yes, I'm an artist, not a designer, so my quest is not on universality but to elaborate a highly personal and coherent esthetic world. And you're wrong, to have such an approach is not about the "instant fun of creation". Several of my fonts needed years of search, tryout, redesigning, refining, and hard work at each of those steps. The angle is different but it is not less serious nor difficult than a designer approach.
Comment by Abneurone Fluid Types 9th March 2013
Found it !
(the link to your pasted reply).

Now that my - shorter - PM is just sent to you
(and I'd love to work more in-depth with you),
I just need to add a couple of words publicly,
about the usefulness of complete(*) fonts,
without boring you too much hopefully…
(* ASCII is enough to start with.)

Quick reply : “the instant fun of the creation”…
I meant : “in Emp_Pix” (and similar unfinished works).
I never mixed it with your normal sized FontStructions.
These ones required a lot of knowledge and effort,
it's just i.n.d.i.s.p.u.t.a.b.l.e.
Who said the opposite ?

Long and new answer at present.

I can be called an artist too, from my old releases at least.
Thus I can get what you say, but being “an artist, not a designer”,
is a complicated notion for me, if not a flimsy statement(**)…
I'll try to be logical. There's no arrogance or I went wrong.


Since your reference as an artist is (some set of) characters,
and since they're (a matter of) communication (stop me if I'm wrong),
your reference as an artist rests on means of communication
(stop me again if I'm completely wrong again, we never know).
This stated, what is communication without at least two references :
the source and the target ? Nonsense. My explanation follows.

The status of an artist, how elevated as it could be, IMHO,
does not functionally allow to get rid of either references.
If you ignore the source, or/and the target, nothing happens. E.g.
your work will be based on real characters (cf. 1'000s of years ago ;
of course you can name this a writing if you disapprove my example) ;
or a 'Z' would stand for 'A' for yourself with this so-called freedom
(yes, why not? just rotate it 90° ccw and move the bar, you get /_|),
even every character would become a unique cross in this world of autism.

** : Before I put an end to my little demonstration, let's stay on-topic.
In the process of any micro font *** creation ***
(sorry if I employed 'design' ; I thought it was a plain synonym…),
the references are : legible chrs (source) ; readers/'puters (target).
Why should the characters be legible, and how ? Here's a tautology.

The artistic shape does not matter, the crux is its linked information.
Duplicates link to a false info, hence to nowhere (so, 'puters unfriendly).
We know one can predict whether a chr is a dupe or not from the context,
but in 0-error tolerant systems, the ambiguous trick does not work
(it's important e.g. in IT, where texts are not basically human-targeted).
Non formal 'characters' (e.g. equations, riddles, and any association)
suffer from their distance to the linked information : you know this well,
and any extreme attempt disconnects totally the character from its meaning.
The artists are able to restore or add new links, individually or not
(but real fonts cannot be mixed with incomplete ones in a complete language,
which Art has no need of - aethetics being a pseudo language in itself).

For the rest (I omitted here a lot of essential typographic notions),
there's my private message.

Résumé :
Imitations are used as micro fonts nowaydays.
If the state of art allows almost everything,
this trend is pointless in writing seriously.
Besides Google gets deluged with bad matches,
since everybody claims it's a font, not bits.
Comment by dpla 10th March 2013
To be 100 %, Peter Zharnov's Emp_Pix is a 100 % n00b work (i.e. very lame… I mean about the Latin chrs (since I think ASCII basically, not Cyrillic).
Comment by dpla 9th May 2013
Typo : 100 % frank/honest
Comment by dpla 9th May 2013
Any newcomer/kid can draw his set in a few minutes !
• No lowercase !! (shy trial)
• Manu dupes !! (e.g. 'B' == 'E' == '8' ; 'H' == 'N' ; 'I' == '|' etc.)
• Many 3x4 !! (lazy cheater)
That makes one of the worst unusable 3x3 Latin set I saw on the web, I must confirm, whatever style you enjoyed in in, Abneurone.
Comment by dpla 9th May 2013
Sorry dawn.blairr for being so long about Peter Zharnov.
Your 3x3 work is incomparably better.
Comment by dpla 9th May 2013

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