Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Where did the Cool Computer Font Go?

A NY Times article about IBM's Watson computer on the game show Jeopardy gives this image:

Ken Jennings, left, Brad Rutter and a computer named Watson competed on “Jeopardy” at I.B.M.’s campus in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

The computer's name is, what, Times New Roman?

OK. But whatever happened to this font?

As a kid I loved this font. I used to try and draw it all the time in Junior high school when I was bored. It was the font at the time for any SF movie that came out, like Rollerball or Colussus: The Forbin Project.

So where did this font go? And why did computers stop using it? Too easy to make "normal" fonts? Then how did this font originate? Where did it come from? Where did it go?


MikeM said...

That font was designed to be read by automatic optical character (OCR) readers of the 1970s. It was similar to the mainly numeric MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) font used by cheques and other bank transaction paper.

The MICR font was successful and is still in use to the limited extent that cheques and similar instruments are still used by banks, but the OCR font never swept the commercial universe, mainly because it was expensive to implement in its much broader scope, and was overtaken by electronic forms of payment.

Anonymous said...

Anybody have a clue where a version of that font can be found?