First Look

Hack: A free open source font for all reasons (but mainly for rendering source code)

Hack is a clean, modern, and highly readable font that you'll actually use

hack c mockup
Chris Simpkins

Fonts are weirdly addictive. Most of us see a new, free font and within seconds it’s downloaded and in our font library but how often do you get to use each one? I have loads of fonts I have acquired over the years that I thought would come in handy at some point but they never have usually because they’re either too fancy and or too eccentric for anything but very specialized uses. If this has been your experience I have a font you’ll love which is different mainly because it’s one you’re very likely to use.

The Hack font Chris Simpkins

The Hack font

Called Hack, it’s free and open source. Here's the author, Chris Simpkins', description:

[Hack] has deep roots in the libre, open source typeface community and expands upon the contributions of the Bitstream Vera & DejaVu projects. The face has been re-designed with a larger glyph set, modifications of the original glyph shapes (including distinct point styles and semi-bold punctuation weight in the regular set to make analphabetic characters less transparent), and meticulous attention to metrics (including numerous spacing adjustments to improve the rhythm of the face and the legibility of code at small text sizes). The large x-height + wide aperture + low contrast design combined with PostScript hinting/hint replacement programs and a TrueType instruction set make it highly legible at commonly used source code text sizes with a sweet spot that runs in the 8px - 12px range on modern desktop and laptop monitors. Combine it with an HD monitor and you can comfortably work at 6 or 7px sizes.  

Designed for rendering source code, Hack is clean, modern, and highly readable. It’s a family of four faces: Monospaced regular, bold, oblique, and bold oblique, which should cover most of your source code formatting needs, and includes more than 1,500 glyphs including expanded Latin, modern Greek, and Cyrillic character sets as well as Powerline glyphs. Hack is available for desktop use as well as online as a web font.

The font is, indeed, very elegant and readable and while it was designed primarily for rendering source code I think it’s got a great future for smartphone displays (anything that helps my deteriorating eyesight read those tiny screens is something I want to see widely used).

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