Best fonts for programming: JetBrains Mono typeface is easy on the eyes
What typeface do you program with? JetBrains released a new open source typeface that is designed with coding in mind. JetBrains Mono aims to minimize eye strain, improve code readability, reduce noise, and balance whitespace with ligatures. Besides its practical usage, it’s also just plain beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. See what it looks and add it to your IDE.
Long hours staring at a screen is a recipe for eyestrain. Dark mode and display-altering software such as f.lux help take some of the strain away.
What typeface is best for coding? When designing a typeface with the intention of coding, the distinction between characters, spacing, height, and line thickness are all components that need consideration.
JetBrains, known best for Kotlin, and IntelliJ-based IDEs, introduced a new creation. This time, they are dipping their toes into typography design. JetBrains Mono is an open-source, monospaced font specifically designed for developers.
JetBrains Mono features
Some of the notable coding-focused elements of this typeface include:
- “Code-specific eye movement”: According to the announcement blog, when we code, our eyes move differently than when we read. We scan code vertically as often as we do horizontally. JetBrains Mono takes this into consideration and ensures that character spacing and shape is still legible when glancing up-and-down, as well as left-to-right.
- Easy to read: Compared to other commonly-used programming typefaces, its letters are taller, but retain the same standard width. This makes it easier to read and render and prevents pixelation and blur on low-resolution screens, or when changing font sizes.
- 138 ligatures: In order to reduce visual noise and balance out white space, JetBrains Mono merges symbols and shifts certain glyphs.
- Distinct characters: Never confuse 0 and O or I and l ever again. The zero has a dot inside of it for an immediately noticeable distinction.
- Contrasting italics: When switching to italics, JetBrains Mono uses a 9° angle.
- Supports 145 languages
- Install and use anywhere: Use the typeface when coding in JetBrains IDEs or any other IDE.
From v2019.3 onward, JetBrains IDEs will ship with JetBrains Mono as a selectable font.
Introducing JetBrains Mono – the free and open-source typeface for developers. Simple forms and attention to every detail make code easier to read, no matter what IDE you use. Take a look at what makes it unique, your eyes will thank you. https://t.co/Au2Nf5DZDJ #JetBrainsMono pic.twitter.com/ddgxgch4rn
— JetBrains (@jetbrains) January 15, 2020
JetBrains recommends using font size 13 with a line spacing of 1.2 for best results.
As it is open source and available under the Apache 2.0 license, lovers of the typeface can also use it in print posters, in applications, or on their websites.
So far, alongside all of the love, some users have raised a few issues regarding the typeface. For instance, curly braces do not align at certain font sizes in PyCharm.
According to an issue comment on GitHub, a v1.0.1 update will fix some of the current issues.
Perfect programming fonts
What other typefaces are top-tier when it comes to long hours in front of the screen?
Here’s a selection:
- Source Code Pro
- Ubuntu Monospace
- Victor Mono
- Input Mono
- Hack (or Hæck, a forked project with added programming ligatures)
- Monospace Comic Sans (No, really. Check out Comic Code.)
This is just scratching the surface, so if you have a favorite not mentioned here, drop a comment!
Will you add JetBrains Mono to your IDE?
Follow the installation instructions on GitHub.