Are you ever looking for a font that is super-duper condensed? A font so tall, that you can barely read it? A skyscraper of a font—even more than a skyscraper—I want a font that is a 1,450-foot tall stick.
Is there such an ultra-compressed font?
And is it free? My search for such a beast resulted in a treasure trove!
First I googled: vertical tight compressed font
I used all the adjectives I could find! That got me to: Colophon, which costs £50.00 for just one weight (the entire family of 28 weights is £280.00). Whoa. Um. Ok. Let’s try something free.
Ok, Google wasn’t going to give me the direction of free fonts, so I went straight to the free font source, my favorite font site, dafont.com. However, the search isn’t so great on this site. I tried compressed and condensed. But the results weren’t really anything super-duper tall and condensed.
What other free font websites are there?
Oh! I know! I have a list of free font websites! Four years ago I drew a webcomic about the most unpopular free fonts from 8 different font websites. In that webcomic, I list the total number of fonts for each of the eight websites.
- Google fonts: 708 fonts
- Font Squirrel: 976 fonts
- Be Fonts: 2,915 fonts
- Search Free Fonts: 3,312 fonts
- Urban Fonts: 7,755 fonts
- 1001 Free Fonts: 17,074 fonts
- FontSpace: 28,493 fonts
- DaFont: 29,304 fonts
- (These are 2016 numbers. It would be fun to go back and redo the counts.)
DaFont has the most fonts, but we already tried them with no success. Next in line is FontSpace. Let’s give them a try!
Fontspace.com is incredible
Wow. FontSpace is really nice. When you do a search on their site, they give you suggestions on what to search.
Search font space for: compressed, and you’ll get a suggestion to look in the categories condensed and ultra compressed.
Well, yeah, let’s go with “ultra compressed“, thank you! However, that suggestion didn’t really give me any results. It literally gave two results. Two.
Back to searching in the fontspace search bar. I tried “vertical”. 95 results. Ok, but heh. “Compressed” 31 results. Sheesh.
The jackpot of tall fonts
I hit the jackpot keyword—TALL—392 results!!!! These are the fonts I’m looking for. My oh my. I ended up downloading 61 fonts that could work.
Here’s a quick screenshot of my selected 61 fonts (from the 392 options).
I ended up using Taller by Zetafonts. (you can see it in the header graphic of this blog post). Within this font family, they also have a taller style called appropriately named “Tallest“. But that was TOO tall for me—If you can believe it! The regular style of Taller worked just fine for me.
I’m using these fonts in a daily exercise where I hand-write Psalm 100 every day.
How I used the Taller font
Yesterday I wrote Psalm 100 using Martin Luther’s handwriting. His handwriting is very wide and loose. With today’s writing, I wanted to contrast that with something very tall and tight—hence the search for this font. Here’s how that looks:
The larger verses are set large in Taller. The smaller verses serve as a contrast to underline the large verses. Since Taller is such a geometric font, I figured the smaller verses would use a square bitmap font. Bitdust Two works nicely.
Here’s a progress couple shots of the fonts being traced.
My style of writing and drawing is a very fluid motion. I tend to not make things straight (in fact, I don’t even see straight). I go with the flow with my drawing lines. This typeface is very straight with lots of parallel lines. Even the angle lines are very subtle. No dramatic angles here.
Tracing this precise typography took some good concentration to get the lines in Taller to be straight. This sort of concentration is sort of the point of me writing Psalm 100 every day. To slow down and meditate. With every letter I wrote, I was looking at the words, thinking about them.
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