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I prefer serif to sans serif fonts for body text, and I want distinct ell, one, capital eye, vertical, zero, and capital oh characters (l, 1 ,I, |, 0, O).

Distinct parentheses, curly braces, and angle brackets ({<>}) are a bonus.

The display will always be conventional middle-end 1280 x 1024 monitors.

Commercial solutions are acceptable.

Suggestions on how to search for such fonts are welcome.

Any problem-domain-specific vocabulary would be useful. Is there a name for fonts that have distinct glyphs?

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Where will you use such a font? – Daniel H Sep 14 '09 at 19:14
I will use a font in an environment where there are many non-dictionary character strings, such as system names and automatically-generated unique identifiers, and where parentheses and curly braces are nearly equally distributed, have distinct semantics, and where lOad(name1), lOad<namel>, and l0ad{name} are all valid syntaxes which must be reproduced exactly without copy-paste. – Thomas L Holaday Jul 22 '10 at 3:40
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Would recommend heartily one of my favorite font - Adobe Garamond Pro. :) Lovely, absolutely lovely booktype font that is bound to inspire old-school confidence in anyone.

alt text

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Er... pardonnez-moi, for showing your spelling and grammar mistakes. – caliban Sep 14 '09 at 18:43
Parentheses, yes. Parens, no. :) – caliban Sep 14 '09 at 18:53
But then again, what's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. – caliban Sep 14 '09 at 18:54
... or parentheses, by any other name, just as curly. – caliban Sep 14 '09 at 19:01
+1 for the excellent example, and excellent comments to match :) – EvilChookie Sep 14 '09 at 19:17

There must be hundreds of fonts that fit your requirements, selecting just one is down to your personal preferences.

Just listing from the ones I have installed:

  1. Baskersville
  2. Chaparral Pro
  3. Cochin (l and 1 are pretty close...)
  4. DejaVu Serif
  5. Didot
  6. Georgia (super distinct, digits are smaller)
  7. Hoefler Text (same distinction)
  8. LYNN (l and 1 are close again)
  9. Minion Pro
  10. Palatino (pretty wide but legible)
  11. Times and Times New Roman (l and 1 are the closest yet... so probably not good)
  12. Adobe Caslon Pro
  13. Adobe Garamond Pro

Of these I'd only rule out Times and Times New Roman.

There's a chance that looking at's serif section with the sample text "1Il| ()<>{} nm uvw UVW S5 gq9 oO0" set to fit to width could help you. But after a while they all look the same. You could go with the super distinct OCR-A type font if you didn't want something pretty.

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I think I read the phrase "proofreading font" somewhere today while I was Google-searching. Is that a term-of-art for "font where the glyphs are distinct"? Is there a a Knuth value I can set to maximum? – Thomas L Holaday Sep 14 '09 at 21:18
I am unable to address your second and third question; I do not know how to search for fonts, nor do I know the term for clear distinctions between glyphs. I can only mildly recommend – dlamblin Sep 14 '09 at 23:24

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