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The number 8 character in most fonts has a slightly larger bottom circle than top circle. Why is it designed that way?

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  1. It appears properly balanced that way, not top heavy.

  2. Handwriting tends to make a smaller loop at top, look at an ampersand, a cursive capital E or B.

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    Reason #3: It gets harder to confuse which side is facing up in case it can be rotated (like an actual printout), similar to 6/9 or 0. – hoffmale Jul 31 '18 at 2:11
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Fonts are a variation on a theme. There are simply more possibilities for exploration if you let go of perfect symmetry. When you start exploring you will find that being asymmetric has some benefits. To take an arbitrary example, say that you're designing a readable font and you expect the print when worn out so that the middle is not visible. Then being asymmetric can help.

But mostly I would say that the shape is asymmetric for a similar reason B or say the & symbol's loops have a different size. A human hand has a hard time doing them exactly the same. Fonts have are heavily influenced by how handwriting has evolved.

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Unless the typeface is designed to be geometric most typefaces will not have a numeral 8 that is symmetrical top-to-bottom. This is because the numeral would then appear to be extremely top-heavy.

There are actually a lot of fonts that have a symmetrical numeral 8. They are usually found under Geometric Sans or Modular fonts.

Some examples include:

Futura

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Avenir

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ICT Bauhaus

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ICT Kabel

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ICT Serif Gothic

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Faricy

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Transfer Superset

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    I think op means symmetrical across the horisontal divider so that top part is symmetric with bottom. That is much rarer than being symmetric left right, which is common. – joojaa Jul 30 '18 at 22:34
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    Some of those need zooming to check but all have a smaller top – Chris H Jul 31 '18 at 8:36
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    ICT Bauhaus, Transfer Superset and especially ICT Serif Gothic very clearly have smaller top loops even without zooming. – David Richerby Jul 31 '18 at 17:38
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    Although "Transfer Superset" does not not have a symmetric eight, symmetric eights often look good on fonts which--like Transfer Superset--have somewhat squared-off corners and strong vertical components on the sides of the eight. – supercat Jul 31 '18 at 22:13

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