Each glyph in a monospace font occupies the same amount of space, regardless of its width. A wider glyph, like an m will be designed to be narrower. A narrow glyph like an i is designed to be wide. If you put each glyph in a square, including its surrounding space, each square would be the same width.
Monospace typefaces originated on typewriters. Each time one typed a letter, the carriage would move forward by the same distance, whether you typed the letter i or the letter w. Courier is the definitive monospaced face. It was commissioned by IBM in the 1950’s for its typewriters.
Monospace faces are often perceived as low-tech, related to typewriters or computer programming. They are used there, but they can also be useful when you want your design to look un-designed. 😬
They’re ideal for setting tabular figures in financial documents or anything with columns of numbers.
Adobe Fonts has a whole search category dedicated to them.
The American Typewriter family was designed to mimmic monotype faces while actually being a proportional type design.
The family is reminiscent of an old typewriter font. It’s just beautifully designed.
What to Avoid
It’s really not a good idea to set monospace type for long amounts of text. It takes up a lot of space on the page. It’s hard to read. Use proportional faces instead.
What to Shop For
If you’re scrolling Adobe Fonts for a monospace family, you’ll want to search for:
- Proper glyph spacing for your design.
- Distinct glyphs, like the 0 and the O.
- The degree of the vintage look for your project.