I am looking for a font to use on a small (75x55mm) LCD display. The display supports 5 bit grey scale, so anti-aliasing is possible. Unfortunately it is only about 80ppi and standard anti-aliasing like below doesn't look very good:

enter image description here

I am using Paint.NET, perhaps another app would give me greater control over the anti-aliasing. There are some limitations to the font rendering I can do because it is an embedded system, so for example no per-character kerning or on-the-fly rendering/anti-aliasing.

I was hoping to find an anti-aliased bitmap font suited to industrial LCD displays. Something that is designed to look good at around 10-12 pixels high. Serif or sans-serif, either is fine. Back in the day when most operating systems used bitmap fonts there were some nice ones for the Amiga and Mac OS, but I can't find them now.

Just to clarify, the font sample above looks bad because it doesn't stick the pixel grid of the LCD. It is probably fine on an RGB LCD seem from a greater distance, but on industrial LCDs you can see that the vertical lines of the letters are blurred. The C looks okay, but the H, I, J, K, L, M and N all look a bit blurred.


You probably just need a font with decent hinting.

For example, here's a sample using DejaVu Sans (a decent basic free font) in GIMP, using the font's built-in hinting, at 10, 11 and 12 pixels:

    Sample of DejaVu Sans at 10px, 11px and 12px

(I even went and posterized the sample to use 32 gray levels, just like you say your display supports.)

Here's a piece of the same sample, magnified × 4 to show the pixels:

Sample of DejaVu Sans at 10px, 11px and 12px, magnified

You can see that, while the curved lines are nicely anti-aliased, the straight horizontal and vertical lines are snapped to exact pixels using the hinting information embedded in the font.

If you just want a bitmap to embed in some code, you can always type out the alphabet (and any other characters you need) at the size you want and extract the bitmap images from there. Note that, if you do that, your text rendering code will need to take care of kerning the letters.

Ps. Just for comparison, here's what the same sample looks like with hinting disabled:

    Sample of DejaVu Sans at 10px, 11px and 12px, no hinting

Sample of DejaVu Sans at 10px, 11px and 12px, no hinting, magnified

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