Lai looks into the design and variations
of a familiar sight
any kind often like to extend the theme
of their passion to other areas of
their hobby or life, this could be as simple
as creating or modifying non-official things to look
official, keeping with the house style. So you
might have an Atari fanzine using the Atari
font on its cover, for example.
will always call the Atari font as such, even
if I see it used in other places, and it's these
other sightings that form the basis of this
article. By the end, you should be able to easily
differentiate the original from ones that look
used to wonder if Atari had this font specially
designed, whether it existed pre-Atari, or if
it was modified from an existing font. MyAtari's
graphic design expert, Christoph Brincken says:
In my opinion the Atari font - as used in the Atari logo - is a
modified "lengthened" VAG Rounded with some roundings being removed.
When I scanned the Atari logo
from an original Atari package and vectorized it in 1995 (with glorious
Avant Vektor) it helped me a lot having VAG Rounded.
you don't see a complete font for a particular
typeface (that is, all the letters and digits
0-9) then chances are that the font you're looking
at is completely one-off. An example is the
Atari Jaguar logo - according to several sources
on the internet, no other letters were created
in that "ripped" style, this explains
the wild variations on various JagFest logos
as different people create their own interpretation
(see the JagFest logos originating from
the UK alone below). I think the letters
"C" and "D" for Jaguar CD
were created later as well, because to my eye
they look like an afterthought, sitting rather
LinkoVitch (Graeme Hinchliffe).
Stone (Nick Bamji).
are many instances of fonts that look very close
to the Atari font but they differ in a
few key areas, as follows:
and letter "O"
The Atari zero character
is vertically elongated whereas the letter "O"
is a circle. A perfect example to illustrate
this is the genuine Atari Falcon030 logo, where
both appear in the same line. This is the first thing you should
look for when evaluating what seems to
be the Atari font.
various font sites on the internet there is
a popular freeware font from the now-defunct
ShyFonts, called SF Atarian. This is the one
I'm sure is used in most enthusiast web
sites and even one commercial publication -
more of that later.
sample of SF Atarian appears next - note how
there is no distinction at all between the zero
character and letter "O" - furthermore,
the letters "C" and "G"
are, like the authentic Atari font, sections
of the letter "O" except of course
the letter "O" here is the same as
the zero character, with predictable results!
a little closer and you'll see another tell-tale
sign that an Atari logo has been created
from a font rather than scanned or vectorized
from an original: concentrate on the "ATARI" section
of the sentence in the sample and you can see
the font kerning (horizontal inter-font spacing) is
uneven. It is quite possible to create an authentic-looking
Atari logo with this and any other font but you have to adjust
the kerning, specifically with respect to the
letters "A" and "T" - they
are simply too far apart. The letter
"S" is also very different, looking
more like a perfect figure of eight constructed
of two circles and sections cut out.
fairness, ShyFonts never claimed this to be
a complete replica of the Atari font, it just
has similarities that are good enough for the
casual user and to warrant the name.
Perhaps the second most
common sign I see is an Atari font that is perfect
in all other ways but the "R". The
next photo shows a couple of intersting points,
firstly, it has the correct Atari "S",
where the two ends are pointing at angles left
and right compared to pointing straight up and
down on SF Atarian. Secondly, the "R"
is the non-Atari version, differing in the final
stroke, which is an L-shaped protrusion rather
than the diagonally slanted straight line of
the Atari version. I think Atari's version looks
cleaner and more modern.
interesting is that on Servernside's current
web site as of the time of writing, the Atari
version of the letter "R" is used!
Considering the Atari "O"
is a circle, and the Atari "C" is
a section of this, It would seem sensible that
an Atari "G" would also be a section
of an Atari "O". The following photograph
of a burglar alarm control unit suggests this
more closely at the navigation pane of Severnside's
web site, however, and you see an equally eligible
version that is basically an extension of the
Atari "C" - adding a vertical stroke.
Compare the two:
one is the Atari version? Actually, both!
On the Mega series of the ST computers, both
pizza-box Mega ST and the later Mega STE, the
narrow "G" is used.
on the owner's manual of the Mega ST, there
is the wide, circular version, notice how the
word "MEGA" here is very heavy, matching
the letters "ST" (thanks to Steve
Sweet for the manual scan).
Mega STE's manual is even less consistent, instead,
the word Mega STE is in a generic Arial-style
font, which I found somewhat disappointing right
the first day of ownership.
a youth centre converted from a former public
toilet. The sign shows an Atari "O"
but the non-Atari "R". Now look at
the numbers. They are the correct Atari style,
where the curved section of the "5"
joins the vertical stroke at a right angle (not
so on SF Atarian, see sample above), the "1"
has a "beak" at the top-left and the top of the
"4" is closed as opposed to open -
although on a real Atari, such as the 1040 ST,
it's only slightly open.