Big Numbers Mean Big Sizes in 'FatFonts'
Computer scientists have designed a new class of fonts that aims to represent numerical data in an easy to grasp visual manner.
Unlike other typefaces, the so-called FatFonts uses more ink – or pixels – for larger digits than for smaller ones. For example, the digit "3" uses three times the amount of ink as the digit "1".
"When you put FatFonts in a grid, they work like a table where you can read the numbers but also as an image that you can interpret visually," said Uta Hinrichs, a PhD student specializing in Computational Media Design at the Canada's University of Calgary.
In one example, the FatFonts creators used their typeface to represent the relative topographic heights on Mount Etna. The same information could be represented using colors – with darker hues representing higher regions – but FatFonts allows you to make calculations on what you see.
For instance, "you can trace the lowest path across the mountain range in the North of the island, or calculate exactly which ones are the second and third highest points in the area," the researchers write.
Click here to see more examples of how FatFonts can be used.