O is for OCR


OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. OCR-A and OCR-B, both designed in 1968, are monospaced fonts optimised for use by OCR applications. Their design came about from a need to have a font that could be used and reproduced electronically while remaining legible. OCR-A was designed by ATF to meet the criteria set by the US Bureau of Standards; OCR-B was designed by Adrian Frutiger for Monotype to meet the European Computer Manufacturer’s Association standard. To improve recognition accuracy each character is drawn with the same stroke thickness and each character shape is distinctive. Although optical character recognition technology has advanced and no longer requires such simple fonts, OCR is still used widely. OCR-B is easier for the human eye to discern, but OCR-A has a distinctive technical appearance which makes it favoured by graphic designers.