FatFonts: Combining the Symbolic and Visual Aspects of Numbers

Miguel Nacenta, Uta Hinrichs, Sheelagh Carpendale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

In this paper we explore numeric typeface design for visualization purposes. We introduce FatFonts, a technique for visualizing quantitative data that bridges the gap between numeric and visual representations. FatFonts are based on Arabic numerals but, unlike regular numeric typefaces, the amount of ink (dark pixels) used for each digit is proportional to its quantitative value. This enables accurate reading of the numerical data while preserving an overall visual context. We discuss the challenges of this approach that we identified through our design process and propose a set of design goals that include legibility, familiarity, readability, spatial precision, dynamic range, and resolution. We contribute four FatFont typefaces that are derived from our exploration of the design space that these goals introduce. Finally, we discuss three example scenarios that show how FatFonts can be used for visualization purposes as valuable representation alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherACM Association for Computing Machinery
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450312875
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2012
EventInternational Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces - Capri Island, Italy
Duration: 22 May 201226 May 2012


ConferenceInternational Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces
Abbreviated titleAVI'12
CityCapri Island

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • information visualization
  • numerals
  • typography


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