Presented by

  • Nathan Willis

    Nathan Willis

    Nathan Willis is a long-time open-source software writer and is currently a PhD candidate in typography.


Retro fonts are rich components for design, whether it's vintage video game bitmaps, 1990s grunge fonts, or classic OS fonts from computing systems past. But they can be hard to work with in modern FOSS graphics and application stacks because the formats are so different today. This session presents the techniques necessary to revive old fonts and upcycle them for use on a modern desktop Linux system, without freezing or rolling back vital system components, as well as building and installing fonts for non-desktop projects such as popular LCD and OLED displays for hardware hacking. We will look at tools and scripts used to convert vintage bitmap fonts into contemporary OpenType binaries, reviving Type 1 PostScript fonts, conversion and installation tools for using fonts on LCD/OLED miniature displays, and options for customizing stroke-line vector fonts for use with laser cutters or plotting machines. No prior experience with font engineering is required.