Fonts For The Mobile Environment
By Julie Strawson, Director of Marketing, Europe, Monotype Imaging
From advertising campaigns and user interfaces that build brand to content that tickles the imagination, type is fundamental to the communication process. Type is also pervasive. Its power has been put to use on everything from PCs to cinema screens and pharmaceutical labels to billboards. It seems that its power has been harnessed for virtually every communications device — except, perhaps, the mobile phone.
Fonts on Phones
If you look at the screen on your mobile phone, you probably have crude bitmap fonts staring back at you — unless you’re viewing an...
...AppleŽ iPhoneŽ device or other “smartphone”. The good news is that, whereas mobile devices were once limited to bitmap fonts, now all the capability of scalable fonts can be brought to many mobile devices.
Designers of interfaces on mobile devices understand the value of fonts, have a traditional graphic or Web design background and are simply not satisfied with simple bitmap fonts. The same is true for a growing number of companies that develop products and services for the mobile space.
Both parties appreciate that hierarchy can be brought to user interfaces; typefaces can bring drama and emotion to games and theme-based applications. For example, type can complement multimedia effects and take the mobile experience to a new level. It is for this reason that designers, device manufacturers and others in the mobile space want to harness the power of fonts.
Why Fonts Now
For years, application engineers were responsible for many of the fonts on mobile devices and bitmap fonts were often developed in house. Later, even when graphic designers were called upon to create branded and theme-based interfaces, they, too, were limited mostly to using bitmapped fonts. This situation is changing due to the... continued on page two >