Jason Kottke emailed me today to let me know he opened up his Silkscreen Font under the Open Font License today, and also uploaded it to the Open Font Library.

The font only has Latin characters, but it’s a cool font because it’s usable in extremely small applications where other fonts aren’t legible at that size. From the Silkscreen website:

Silkscreen is best used in places where extremely small graphical display type is needed (duh!). The primary use is for navigational items (nav bars, menus, etc.). However, you can also use it for image captions and the like…wherever small type is needed. Silkscreen also works very well at large point sizes if you’re looking for that chunky, old school computer look so popular with the kids today.

In order to preserve the proper spacing and letterforms, Silkscreen should be used at 8pt. multiples (8pt., 16pt., 24pt., etc.) with anti-aliasing turned off. For larger text (larger than 64pt.), you can use whatever size you want without too much of a problem.

Anyhow, thanks Jason for opening up this cool font. 🙂 Hopefully we can get it packaged for Fedorasrc=

About Máirín Duffy

Máirín is a principal interaction designer at Red Hat. She is passionate about software freedom and free & open source tools, particularly in the creative domain: her favorite application is Inkscape. You can read more from Máirín on her blog at blog.linuxgrrl.com.


15 thoughts on “Silkscreen

  1. It is a lovely font, I’ve often thought. Hurrah.

    Posted by marnanel | December 11, 2007, 6:46 pm
  2. Sweet!

    Cool stuff!
    – Andreas Nilsson

    Posted by Anonymous | December 11, 2007, 7:22 pm
  3. Cool

    Could you ask him why the OFL version only contains two fonts while the other one contains 4?

    I think it is time for the Open Font Library folks to do some releases like openclipart.org do.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 12, 2007, 1:03 am
  4. This is wonderful news! For a couple of months I wanted to write (and I believe even promised to do so) to him trying to convince to open the font, but other priorities came in front and I never got to write (maybe I waited for some movement on the Art Studio spin as a kick in the pants for me? anyway, it ended well).

    Posted by nicubunulj | December 12, 2007, 6:35 am
  5. LiteStep

    Thanks for blogging about this. Back in my LiteStep days I remember this being one of the most popular fonts to use. When you want a graphically intense interface sometimes the text has to shrink right down, and Silkscren did that best.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 12, 2007, 11:17 pm
  6. Confusing licensing should be clarified first

    The website claims this font is licensed under the OFL, a free software font license. However, depending on what files you get it is anything but clear that this is the license for these fonts.

    The readme.txt inside the tar.gz archive distributed from his site says “This font is free for personal and corporate use and may be redistributed in this unmodified form on your Web site. I would ask that you not modify and then redistribute this font…although you may modify it for your own personal use.” and this is not a free software license (distributed derivatives and commercial distribution must be explicitly allowed).

    The comment inside the font files says either “send bread and water to jason@kottke.org” or “Copyright (c) Jason Kottke, 2001. All rights reserved.” depending on what files you’re using. Neither of these describe a free software font license.

    So before Fedora GNU/Linux distributes this, Fedora should get an appropriately licensed copy of the font preferably with the license described in the font files.

    —J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2007, 2:02 pm
    • Re: Confusing licensing should be clarified first

      Hi JB,

      I have an email from Jason stating that the font is licensed under the OFL and I believe he and I both were under the impression that his adding it to the open font library was explicit enough to show the font was licensed OFL.

      I noticed you’re talking about files distributed with the fonts from his site, however, what about the files distributed with the fonts on the open font library site? Fedora will get a copy from the open font library site…

      Posted by mairin | December 13, 2007, 3:01 pm
      • Re: Confusing licensing should be clarified first

        The file I got from the Open Font Library was a ZIP archive of two TTF files (this archive was missing the Expanded and Expanded Bold variants found in the file distributed from his site) and a “__MACOSX” directory with a couple of small files in it which look to be automatically generated by some MacOS X (perhaps the Finder). I’ll disregard the __MACOSX directory and its contents because I don’t see how they figure into anything being discussed here.

        Here’s the MD5sum output for the two TTF files:

        c6520c15c87e56c76ad6375e7c79f61a  slkscrb.ttf
        58752ca951bb7b1e5093dcb9c25a26c6  slkscr.ttf

        Neither file’s copyright field (according to GNOME Font Viewer) mentions any license for these files. Both files have the same data in the copyright field:

        Copyright (c) Jason Kottke, 2001. All rights reserved.

        Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2007, 12:04 am
      • Re: Confusing licensing should be clarified first

        The OFLB engine allows you to tag the license for your upload but the copyright/licensing chosen by the designer should also be in the .zip/tarball itself so that other users/designers know about it when it is distributed.

        There are metadata fields in the .ttf to hold copyright license and there’s also a description field. Especially useful when the fonts are not distributed with text files like a README or a FONTLOG as they currently are on OFLB.

        See the corresponding fontforge dialog (not the latest version though): http://fontforge.sourceforge.net/fontinfo.html#TTF-Names

        This font looks good and it’s great to have it more widely available. Thanks for help advocate open fonts. And thanks to Jason for releasing under a free software license 🙂

        Extremely helpful for everyone 🙂


        Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2007, 10:47 am
  7. Offtopic: Someone on #gnome pointed out this — see the words “2 in 1 Pack” and look a short way down. (licensing@ have apparently been informed).

    Posted by marnanel | December 13, 2007, 6:18 pm
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