I like big fonts and I cannot lie

Profile image of Mattias Geniar

Mattias Geniar, August 20, 2020

Follow me on Twitter as @mattiasgeniar

Over the last few years, I’ve gradually been increasing my font size in my terminal, editor and wherever possible.

With it, the line spacing & letter spacing has also been increased every step of the way. Not that it’s so terribly interesting, but here’s why I did this.

(I came up with the blogpost title and now I feel compelled to write a few words, to justify it.)

My size

… of fonts, you dirty mind. Here’s my current default:

  • Font family: Roboto Mono, Menlo, Monaco, ‘Courier New’, monospace
  • Font size: 16px
  • Letter spacing: 0.2
  • Line height: 30

In my editor, it looks like this:

Font size in editor

In my terminal, I still like the black background (even though my editor is mainly white). But here as well, plenty of line & letter spacing.

Font size in editor

And it comes with all sorts of advantages!

Easier on the eyes

This makes sense, right? I used to have a very small font size. Like 10-11px.

It felt very productive. So much info on a single screen! I can have huge functions and methods in my code and still see it everything!

But the thing is, I spend 8+ hours each day in front of a screen. Sure, that 10px font gives me lots of content. But I have to spend quite a bit of time focussing on such small letters. I didn’t actually notice it until I tried a bigger font size.

This feels much more relaxed and comfortable by the evening, as my eyes are no longer tired or exhausted after a day of coding.

Forcing smaller functions & methods

By increasing my font size, I can now see less on my screen. Fewer words, lesser lines.

This is a good thing!

It’s forcing me to split functions & methods faster, once I find the need to scroll. It’s become my visible code limiter.

This applies to both horizontal and vertical scrolling. Overly long variables or too many conditions in a single if statement? It’ll quickly overflow your screen and you’ll have to scroll, that’s your queue to rewrite some of your code.

The power of whitespace

By increasing both font size, letter spacing & line height, I’m giving my code some room to breath. It feels less dense or crowded.

This also bleeds into my web development work, where I’m using more & more whitespace as well. Give your content - whether that’s code, a terminal or a website - some room!

What’s your size?

I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours?

How do you like your font-size and line heights?

Let me know on Twitter!

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