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Today I came across a blog post on daring fireball about a new font: Courier Prime. From the font preview, I found that the : and . are a bit oversized.

Then I checked the Courier font in Mac Font Book app. The : and . also appear oversized (including the fullstop beneath the ? (question mark), comparing to the other characters.

Is it my eyes' problem or is there a story behind?

enter image description here

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Nothing to back it up, but this is my guess: Courier's dots are four pixels -- two by two dots. One of the font's historical uses was on 80s dotmatrix printers. Were the font to have single-pixel dots, they would disappear if only one of the matrix's dots would malfunction or not display well due to ink shortage. Having four-pixel dots prevents that problem, in addition to helping legibility.

Besides that, the original analog Courier typeface was made for typewriters and I suppose having a small period would have the typebars pierce the paper (and damage the machine) rather than leave ink on it.

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