To the uninitiated — you can include me there — fonts are just fonts, right? Some look nicer than others, some have been mercilessly ridiculed. However, if you are obsessive designers making one of the best minimalist writing experiences you will find anywhere, the story is much more complex.
iA Writer has made me reconsider the relevance of font design to the writing process. Here there are adding more texture with a painfully deliberate font choice. I see their point, it looks amazing. linked to the recent update of iA Writer a couple of weeks ago, it seems the developers have clicked into a new gear. The app is looking better all the time.
Regarding their new duo spaced font, they write:
This year, again, we set out exploring our own writing font. We started from scratch, moved from proportional to monospace to three spaces (50% for i and j) and ended up with duospace for MWmw. Progressively, we came to realize that the right question is how to make a proportional font look like a monospace, but how many exceptions you allow until you lose the benefits of a sturdy monospace.
With Latin characters you need to free the m’s from their obsolete mechanical straight jacket. What about the w’s then? And if you give room to lower case letters, what about their parents? The M and the w look alright in mono, no? They almost look better, even… Well, not next to a free m. In Cyrillic, there are a couple of characters more that need breathing room. If you give 150% to the letters w, W, m, and M, you get a text image that has almost all benefits of a monospace font, but the text flows nicely. And born was the duospace concept.
Like I said, obsessive.