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 FakoĆ³

  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.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.