cross post from linguistics since I was told this was a better place to ask my question

I am not sure if this is the right place to ask, but I am making my own char set for the programing language I am working on, and have some questions?

first is, I want to have the char's of the set be composed of horizontal lines, vertical lines, and blocks with no white space separating them and a total of 256 code points. So my fist question, is there any prior work I can look into to help me figure what symbols to use for good readability.

second is, if there is prior work I can look into, based on my conditions of 256 code points, how many H X V pixels are necessary for such a char set?

thanks in advance

  • 16*16 =256. Why pixels why not vectors?
    – joojaa
    Apr 20, 2021 at 12:29
  • (extended) ascii has 256 code points and is perhaps the prior work. so any VT terminal font or printer bitmap font would be a place to start for research. Lambda glyph is not in all ascii code-pages though.
    – Yorik
    Apr 20, 2021 at 13:59
  • ascii is (kind of) deprecated though, wondering why you don't just use unicode or UTF-8
    – Yorik
    Apr 20, 2021 at 14:00
  • Perhaps you should look into APL
    – joojaa
    Apr 20, 2021 at 14:06

1 Answer 1


I guess you know nothing of common computer fonts. User joojaa has already hinted the same.

Most of us here in GDSE do not write abstract math texts and quite few work with even practical math. But many of us know how to use font editing software. Today most of them are based on freely scalable vector shapes, not pixel patterns except recently new pixel pattern based fonts have appeared because they allow complex colors more easily than vector fonts.

My suggestion: Make a little research. You find numerous font creation and editing tutorials and many pieces of TTF and OTF font editing software. For possible shapes you can look existing fonts which support eastern languages. I guess you can find there some styles which do not resemble usual western writing but surely have got much attention to become easily recognizable. If you are lucky you'll find there a good amount of ready to use letter shapes for your purposes.

Here's a small portion of what's included in font Arial:

enter image description here

It's useful to know that computer fonts are copyrighted software and copyright laws should be respected. Often the easiest way to generate a font which has something special is to start from something existing which already contains something useful and make edits. Some font makers allow this and many others do not. If you are trying the same start from a font which has a license which explicitly allows generating modified versions. The copyright owner can legally allow and deny what he wants and set freely the price.

  • APL had a custom keyboard
    – joojaa
    Apr 20, 2021 at 14:06

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