Wednesday, May 15, 2013

114: 7 - Segment Display

I love elegant, thrifty letters that can be made with a minimum number of parts--like reimagnining Gothic for the end of the analog age.  7-Segment Display is made almost entirely of one basic stroke, arranged along a 7-piece grid.    

2 to the seventh power [=64] ought to let you make all the letters you need, but like all simplistic alphabet formulas, it doesn't actually work for our alphabet.*  You have to make compromises, especially if you plan to use letters and numerals together.  (Writing numerals without letters is easy, and even writing letters without numerals can make life a lot simpler.)  

Once you get past the first 10 letters, this alphabet won't fit the grid.  You have to compromise in order to construct M, T, and W.  U is difficult and there's just no good way to make K or X (I've given you the scaffolding to try). The extra stroke for J and R are given just help make them a little readable.    
Tomorrow we will add diagonal strokes, and see how that helps solve the problem.  
*Those Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans didn't anticipate electronic displays!  
Note that, just like Gothic, the vertical stroke starts a little shy of the top and bottom line.      

The fun in this alphabet is the precision it demands wherever two or three strokes meet each other.  It gives you a chance to really get acquainted with the square Speedball A nib.  

You can heighten the effect by writing with neon orange or lime green on a black background. 

☞ For left-handers.  


  1. Can I introduce my 7-segment alphabet Siekoo for an alphanumeric 7-segment display without ambiguity - look on for the english version. I made it in 2012 for German - Alexander Fakoó

  2. Hmm. I like some of the very ingenious solutions such as I, J, S, Z, but I think that this is one of those alphabets that has to train the reader. In this character set, all the "good" characters--unequivocal and robust-- have been hogged by the numerals already so the letters kind of have to make do. In particular, while I admire your solutions to M, V, W, X, you're going to need a strong context to help the reader read them. Are they easier in German because of different letter frequency?

  3. To read a text in Siekoo is easier than you think, I guess. I have added a example of a poem, find on and you can try to read in english. Important was the uniqueness of codes for every single letter. And no confusion with numbers.

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