Font Friday

JetBrains Mono (free font)

The monospace typeface JetBrains Mono on a mobile phone in a headline, body text, a pull quote and the labels of a button and navigation

Monospace Typeface

by JetBrains, Philipp Nurullin, Konstantin Bulenkov

14 Styles

from Light to Extra Bold with matching italics

License

Free and open source, even for commercial projects

Best for

  • Coding
  • Headings (display text)
  • Long reading text (body text)
  • User Interfaces (functional text)

Specialty

Made for code editors

My thoughts on JetBrains Mono

This typeface is clearly tailored towards developers, providing them with highly distinctive, and tall letter shapes for coding. Traditionally monospace fonts were mainly used on typewriters. On early computers they were used due to their limited graphical processors. For coding and text editing monospaced fonts are still popular, since they make it easy to compare characters and see errors easier. Or it’s just something we are used to see in these applications.

The vibe JetBrains Mono creates is more technical with its squarish shapes. Since every character has the same width, monospaced fonts don’t create the compact word shapes like other fonts. This also limits their usage. Like every monospaced typeface, it works best set in one, maybe two sizes (one for body text, one for headings). However, they work for reading text, but I’d suggest not using them on very text heavy sites and definitely not in large sizes where they might fall apart.

What I like is, that JetBrains Mono has a true italic style. These means it’s not only an angled version of the upright, the shapes change (e.g. the upright two-story a turns into a one-story version). The beautiful landing page highlights this and other features. If you’re interested about the history of monospace fonts, check out Episode #37 of The Weekly Typographic Podcast (stating at minute 24).

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