I was under the impression that a monospaced font is always the same width/height in pixels, even when bold, italic, or bold+italic (of the same point size). But I've just found one which is one pixel wider when bold+italic.

Is this just not possible, or have some fonts managed to pull this off while still looking decent in all styles?

  • How would glyphs occupy the same pixels and be bolder???
    – Scott
    May 24, 2018 at 4:53
  • 1
    Margins on the side? Fractional-pixel rendering "magic"? Like I said, I'm looking at one which is calculated as the same pixel width (as reported via a programming API) when normal, bold, and italic. It's definitely possible for at least those styles, just maybe not bold+italic. Programming editors (which require characters to line up in columns) which have bold or italic characters wouldn't work if this weren't possible.
    – Manius
    May 24, 2018 at 5:02
  • @Manius your ocomment actually contains an model error. The font can line up even if they have different witdth as a result if they are designed to overlap like italic is.
    – joojaa
    May 24, 2018 at 8:56
  • Yeah allowance for overlap is something that occurred to me later on.
    – Manius
    May 24, 2018 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


Making a good font is extremely complicated. Its not that any of the individual parts of the font is hard as such. In fact all the steps you do are sort of incredibly simple. There is just lot of them. When you expand this to a font family you get more and more things to consider. When you include the rasterisation of the font even more things to consider.

The quality and usability of the font is highly emergent property. This means that a lot of the features of a font happen, they are not made as such. Sometimes you can anticipate or even control some of the factors but emergence is a bit tricky.

Now as for the italic font. Well the italic font is supposed to interleave with the negbouring character. Otherwise it should probably tecnically just called be called oblique. If you subscrie to this naming then the answer is No, however you may have a bit more flexible view of the world. Then it can be yes.

But please note.

  1. the width difference may also be caused by your rendering engine. So even if the font was same. It may still note come out same. Any, no matter how small detail, in the entire pipline may account for one pixel difference.

  2. Not very many font makers have this as their main priority.

  3. Alignment is not actually affected by width this since the fonts can interleave.

    enter image description here

    Image: Wdth of string can vary without vialoating the need to be aligned.

  • 1
    Yeah, I'm not an expert but I know enough to know it's complex. :) This is what I was missing: "italic font is supposed to interleave".
    – Manius
    May 24, 2018 at 20:43

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