THE OCR TYPEFACE
🔻 Graphotype 🔻
Date: 1966 - 1968
Client: Monotype corporation, France
Designer: Adrian Frutiger
The OCR typeface was developed to meet specifications set by American National Standard institute for processing documents by banks, credit card companies and other companies and businesses. It was designed specifically to be read by scanning devices- hence OCR (optical character Recognition) - and could be used to process large quantities of forms by machine. The font is by letters uniform width (known as monospacing) and the use of simple thick strokes.
OCR - A was deemed inappropriate for use in Europe, and in 1968 monotype commissioned Adrian Fruiger to design a variation of the typeface to meet the standards of European computer manu devices, as well as those read by people. Combining strict mathematical criteria with typographic tradition, Frutiger resolved both technical and aesthetic issue to create letterforms that are legible to the human eye than most other OCR fonts. The resulting OCR-B typeface was made a world standard in 1973.
Monospaced and grid-based fonts have long been popular with graphic designers, and OCR has proved to be a source of inspiration for such fonts. As Data 70 (1979), Fiber Eno, Carbon C6 (2006) and Tephra (2008).
Although optical character recognition technology has now advanced to the point where simple fonts are no longer necessary both OCR-A and OCR-B fonts have remained in use, particularly on cheques and credit cards.