FatFonts : Combining the Symbolic and Visual Aspects of Numbers

  • Nacenta M
  • Hinrichs U
  • Carpendale S
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In this paper we explore numeric typeface design for visualization purposes. We introduce FatFonts, a technique for visualizing quantitative data that bridges the gap between numeric and visual representations. FatFonts are based on Arabic numerals but, unlike regular numeric typefaces, the amount of ink (dark pixels) used for each digit is proportional to its quantitative value. This enables accurate reading of the numerical data while preserving an overall visual context. We discuss the challenges of this approach that we identified through our design process and propose a set of design goals that include legibility, familiarity, readability, spatial precision, dynamic range, and resolution. We contribute four FatFont typefaces that are derived from our exploration of the design space that these goals introduce. Finally, we discuss three example scenarios that show how FatFonts can be used for visualization purposes as valuable representation alternatives.

Author-supplied keywords

  • a
  • and
  • b
  • babylonian
  • figure 1
  • hindu-arabic numerals
  • information visualization
  • numerals
  • roman
  • s
  • the unary
  • top to bottom
  • typography
  • u

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  • Miguel Nacenta

  • Uta Hinrichs

  • Sheelagh Carpendale

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