Hershey fonts

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This text is drawn using Roman Complex (top) and Roman Simplex (bottom) fonts of the collection

The Hershey fonts are a collection of vector fonts developed c. 1967 by Dr. Allen Vincent Hershey at the Naval Weapons Laboratory,[1][2][3] originally designed to be rendered using vectors on early cathode ray tube displays. Decomposing curves to connected straight lines allowed Hershey to produce complex typographic designs. In their original form the font data consists simply of a series of coordinates, meant to be connected by straight lines on the screen. The fonts are publicly available and have few usage restrictions.[4] Vector fonts are easily scaled and rotated in two or three dimensions; consequently the Hershey fonts have been widely used in computer graphics, computer-aided design programs, and more recently also in computer-aided manufacturing applications like laser engraving.


Some glyphs were developed in four different versions, dubbed Simplex, Duplex, Complex and Triplex, which used different numbers of strokes to compose their contours.[4]


The fonts include Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Japanese (kanji, hiragana and katakana). Symbolic glyphs support mathematics, musical notation, map markers, as well as meteorological symbols. The fonts also exist in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format to support HTML 5.[5] Over 2,000 original plottings are defined. The font data for 1,377 (Occidental) characters was published by NIST in 1976.[6]


The Hershey fonts were a major influence on the design of Minotaur, a typeface produced by the Parisian type foundry Production Type in 2014.[3] In 2015, German graphic designer Frank Grießhammer announced that he created an outline version that can be used in contemporary applications and it is released under an open source license.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hershey, A. V. (August 1967), Calligraphy for Computers, Dahlgren, VA: U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, ASIN B0007EVKFI, OCLC 654265615, NWL Report No. 2101. NTIS AD662398
  2. ^ About Hershey Vector Fonts, archived from the original on November 16, 2011, retrieved November 15, 2011
  3. ^ a b Grießhammer, Frank (2017). "History of the Hershey fonts". In Litherland, Caren (ed.). Béziers, Hershey & Lombardics – Minotaur type specimen. Paris: Production Type. pp. 25–57. ISBN 9791093578057. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  4. ^ a b http://www.ghostscript.com/doc/current/Hershey.htm Archived 2017-07-16 at the Wayback Machine states that the fonts may not be distributed in the format provided by National Technical Information Service. The fonts were distributed via Usenet in a character encoding.
  5. ^ Nagy, Randall (2014), The Hershey Font Explorer, Sourceforge.net
  6. ^ Wolcott, Norman M.; Hilsenrath, Joseph (April 1976). A Contribution to Computer Typesetting Techniques: Tables of Coordinates for Hershey's Repertory of Occidental Type Fonts and Graphic Symbols. National Bureau of Standards Special Publication. Vol. 424. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards. hdl:2027/uiug.30112101554969. ISSN 0083-1883. LCCN 75619219. OCLC 1583546. OL 22001434M. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  7. ^ "Hershey Fonts in use". Fonts in Use. Retrieved 2022-10-22.

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