VMLY&R: Intel’s The Font That Saves Eyes

Intel One Mono font saying AaB in a fake computer screen

VMLY&R: Intel’s The Font That Saves Eyes

Improving the coding experience for all developers, particularly those with vision impairments

Research illuminated that, while a variety of typeface design projects have tackled issues of accessibility and legibility for general readers, none have explicitly attempted to improve legibility and tackle eyestrain for those who spend hours intensely focused on screen text and need it most, the developer community.

Intel is one of the largest employers of developers and has a large developer audience, and to serve them it wanted to expand the Intel One family of fonts with the goal of designing a more accessible font with improved legibility to reduce eyestrain and improve the coding experience for all developers, particularly those with vision impairments.

VMLY&R and Intel designed the Intel One Mono typeface along with a panel of low-vision developers who were asked to use the typeface as their default coding tool and provide feedback at each round of design. It is an original fixed-width monospace typeface.

There are several design characteristics at play in Intel One Mono. To increase legibility, characters were designed that can less easily be confused for others, increased the distinctiveness of individual word shapes, and increased default tracking and leading. Character differentiation: The lowercase ‘e’ and uppercase ‘G’ are good examples, where both shapes are prone to being confused with others and need extra clarification. These treatments reduce the need to skip back and confirm what’s been read. More legible word shapes: the heights of the uppercase and lowercase letters are as different as possible. In the same vein, the ascenders (tall parts of b, d, h, k, etc.) and descenders (long parts of j, g, p, q, y) are more prominent to make more legible word shapes on the screen.

The typeface is both free and open source, and it was released on the most visited developer site, GitHub. This enables Intel to gather input and feedback on the typeface for future improvements and expansion of the typeface family. The typeface is also available for download on Intel.com and Google fonts.