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Can anyone confirm that OCR-A is a sans-serif font? Are the OCR-A capital letters considered to be block-form? Thank you.

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4 Answers 4

OCR-A is not a sans serif face.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with the group here. The i, j, l, T, 1, and 7 all use serif elements that can not be present in a sans serif (6 and 9 too, in a weird sort of way).

This is a superb example of why we break out monospace as it's own category. Strange deformations become necessary to fill the gaps.

Monospace [mostly] without the serifs

OCR-B was designed to be much closer to a true sans serif and I would reluctantly classify it as such.

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Block what?

I have no idea what "block-form" means. Kinda makes me think of Egyptian type (like Clarendon) but I'm guessing that's not what you mean.

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Monospace isn't a category independent of serif vs. sans-serif. While some characters have cross-bars (which, IMHO, is a better term than serif in this case) I don't think that that would classify the entire typeface as being serif. Also note that wikipedia classifies it as sans-serif. (But, in the end, there is no hard-and-fast rule here...it'll always be somewhat subjective) –  DA01 Apr 10 at 6:37
    
Because monospace invites such heavy distortion it is often treated independently. Some faces manage to pull it off with a pretty good imitation of true sans or serif, but not here. Those are slab serifs, BTW, not to be confused with cross bars seen on t and f. –  plainclothes Apr 10 at 16:14
    
@plaincolthes this is the inevitable problem with typography. While we have terminology for it all, no one has every codified the definitions in a way that is universally agreed upon. :) For the record, I'd call OCR-A a sans-serif monospace face. Courier would be a serif monospace face (debatable if it's serif vs. slab-serif). The bar on the I isn't a serif, IMHO. And it's not a crossbar in your opinion. So I guess we need to come up with a better term for it. Maybe "a monospace appendage"? :) –  DA01 Apr 10 at 16:44
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Let's just call it OCR-A and move one ;) –  plainclothes Apr 10 at 16:56

In that OCR-A does not have serifs, yes, I can confirm that it is a sans-serif font. In that the letters are not a connected script face, yes, they are considered block letters (block letters being letterforms that aren't connected to others--though the term is a bit fuzzy and may be used in different ways).

OCR-A is a rather unique font in that it was designed for something incredibly specific (early computer character recognition) so, in a way, stands by itself in terms of classification. In general, however, most would consider it a mono-spaced sans-serif face.

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Aren't the i's and l's serif'd? –  Meaningful Username Apr 9 at 18:26
    
@MeaningfulUsername depends on your definition and threshold tolerances of what a serif is. :) –  DA01 Apr 9 at 18:37
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I don't know, I want the experts here to tell me! ;) –  Meaningful Username Apr 9 at 18:41
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@MeaningfulUsername welcome to the world of type and fonts--where expert opinions are plenty, but rarely agree 100%. :) –  DA01 Apr 9 at 18:42
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But to provide a bit more serious comment...OCR-A is a rather unique font in that it was designed for something incredibly specific (early computer character recognition) so, in a way, stands by itself in terms of classification. In general, however, most would consider it a mono-spaced sans-serif face. –  DA01 Apr 9 at 18:43

While I agree with the others that this font could be considered sans-serif, I would classify it as a monospaced font first and a sans-serif font second.

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100% sans serif. Serifs are those little "feet" at the ends of certain lines. Serif means "with serifs" and sans serif "without serifs". Serif fonts are for example Times New Roman or Cambria. Sans serif fonts are for example Arial, Helvetica or Calibri. You will spot the difference easily.

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I think the point here is that the OP sees that some of the letters have serifs, and would like to know where it lies between serif and sans. –  Random O'Reilly Apr 9 at 23:06
    
There is not a single serifed letter in OCR-A font. –  Delltar Apr 15 at 16:01
    
I am sorry; I was being vague: to some people it might seem as if some of them have serifs. –  Random O'Reilly Apr 15 at 18:22

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