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The Principles of Beautiful Typography » SitePoint

The Principles of Beautiful Typography » SitePoint | ASCII Art |

Another interesting, albeit obsolete, use of fixed-width fonts is in the creation of ASCII art. ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) was one of the original English character encodings for communications equipment, and for several years the 95 printable characters in this seven-bit system were the only graphics that ever showed up on a display. Before the Internet existed outside of the military and academia, there were networks of dial-up bulletin board systems (BBSs), many of which displayed menus and game graphics in ASCII characters. Having grown up during the peak of the BBS era, I loved to see the "underground" graphics people could create using only fixed-width type.


Although much more intricate ASCII art can be created from images using computer programs, the ASCII art created during the late 1980s and early 1990s was composed character by character, and really pushed the limits of the medium. This type of artwork is an often-overlooked link in the history of computer graphics.

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Text art pictures created with basic keyboard characters in fixed width fonts.
Curated by Laura Brown