Impact is a realist sans-serif typeface designed by Geoffrey Lee in 1965 and released by the Stephenson Blake foundry. It is well known for having been included in the core fonts for the Web package and distributed with Microsoft Windows since Windows 98. More recently, it has been used extensively in image macros.
Its ultra-thick strokes, compressed letterspacing, and minimal interior counterform are specifically aimed, as its name suggests, to "impact". Impact has a high x-height, reaching nearly to three-quarters the capital line. Ascenders are short, and descenders even shorter. Apertures are thin, with the letterforms folded up. The face is intended for headlines and has only limited use in text applications. The face bears comparison with the similarly designed, but narrower, typeface Haettenschweiler, the Letraset face Compacta, and the Linotype face Helvetica Inserat.
Writing in 2004, the year before his death, Lee explained that the design goal was "to get as much ink on paper as possible in a given size with the maximum possible x-height" and to provide a home-grown alternative to these designs, which were complicated for British businesses to licence and use. Released at the end of the age of hot metal typesetting as phototypesetting gained popularity, it would be Stephenson Blake's penultimate typeface released in metal.
As a display type, it is normally not released with a specific italic design: any slanted text will normally be an oblique version created automatically by the computer. The original design contained a number of stylistic alternates for the letters J and r, intended for letter positions at the start and end of words, which have generally not been included in digitisations.
In July 2010, Ascender Corp introduced an enhanced version of Impact. It included extensive OpenType typographic features designed by Terrance Weinzierl and Steve Matteson. Lee himself also digitised the variant Impact Wide from his original drawings in 2002, and self-released it. This release includes the stylistic alternates.
The font is well known as the typeface is frequently used in memes with white text and a thin black border.
- Lee, Geoffrey. "Comments on Typophile thread". Typophile (archived). Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Impact poster". Stephenson Blake. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- "Ascender Releases New OpenType Font Pack for Microsoft Office 2010". Prweb.com. 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2011-05-26.
- Lee, Geoffrey. "Impact Wide". MyFonts. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
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