Space Mono is, as it says in the name, is a mono typeface. A mono typeface is a fixed-width - meaning each letter takes up the same amount of space. Think typewriter, but digital! In comparison, other types like non-mono sans serif or serif will have varying spacing each letter takes up to help with kerning and overall design. Mono’s do not!
Who makes this typeface?
Mono Typeface, Open Type available
Weights and Styles
Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic
Why are we obsessed with Space Mono?
It’s easy to be obsessed with Space Mono because it combines lively character and sterile tech-minded exactness. There are little things like the dot in the 0 that do it for us. The other aspect that helps with the obsession is the italic cut. It’s so whimsical and playful yet keeps that sterile nature to not deviate from the original form too much. The italic can add a fabulous flair to a type lockup if used sparingly. Another plus for this font is that it is free and distributed through Google Fonts (link). It is adding an empowering and solid type option that we can all easily use.
Monos are good with numbers and bits of small data. Some are better than others, but Space Mono excels at these. The reason I say that is because of the character Space Mono adds with its letterforms. A typeface can add a small punch of joy if you let it, and that is what Space Mono does.
Space Mono could also be used as a headline - if you want to be daring. Mono’s are not typically used for headlines, but Space Mono can be. When you see the font blown up at bigger sizes, you can see the character shine through in its serif uses on the l,j,r,i,t,B. You can also see the extreme bends found in the g or y and other letters as nice nods to exactness and eliminating a natural curve. It feels super techy and blocky, which is an excellent character for some applications. Space Mono is also perfect for supporting a serif or sans serif by taking care of small numbers or small type use cases. It adds a nice touch while being super legible.
You can use Space Mono for anything from print, branding to excellent websites. It can be a workhorse.
Alternates and Open Type Options
I love the alternates available for this typeface. One of the reasons is some of the alternates feel almost like neo-grotesques in nature. If you were to look at the alternate for a lowercase ‘a’ it goes from geometric to a robotic Helvetica ‘a’. It’s sexy. There is sometimes a superscript letter available. That can be nice if you want to do something creative with your type or have clinical uses for superscript. Not every letter has an alternate, but the ones that do are super cool.
There are a ton of glyph options as well, along with the typical Open Type options. The fractional use is excellent, and Space Mono has a great cut of fractions. You are adding another tool to your tech data communication toolbox!
The glyph options are pretty plentiful, and you have a lot to choose from, along with some lovely ligatures in case you get your fl or fi on. I like how they did ligatures. Didn’t sacrifice much in the spacing and maintained that mono feel.
These are, of course, my personal opinions. Space mono is great for small bits of data - small as in type size. Great for subheads when paired with a good sans-serif / serif. Space Mono immediately adds tech and a beautifully sterile touch to your designs. The italic use will really up the style factor of your design if used sparingly. A strength that can also be a weakness is the distinctness of some of Space Mono’s curves. In letters like the j or y, a 90 degree rounded corner is used in the ascender curve, while most other letterforms will use a round curvature. This can be ultra-cool at larger sizes and help communicate your design with impact. So, using Space Mono at larger sizes will be a unique choice with tons of possible upsides!
Another strength is that Space Mono has true italics. Not just slanted letterforms or better known as obliques. The fact that the italics are distinct gives you another tool to work with when setting your type.
In my opinion, there are not many. Some of the strengths that make Space Mono unique can be weaknesses. Another weakness is the lowercase ‘w.’ Because there is much contrast in the apex, which can break the legibility down at small sizes. It looks cool large but is rough small when in a word. The same can be said for the ‘v,’ but the v only has one instance and is a bit more spread out. Another possible weakness is that the serifs sometimes get lost, like in the lowercase ‘r.’ These are minor points of contention, if I am honest, but aspects I think about before using this typeface.
Here are a few font pairings to spark your design synapses!
1. Space Grotesk + Space Mono
2. Helvetica Now Display + Space Mono
3. Neue Haas Grotesk Display + Space Mono
4. Bookmania + Space Mono
5. Founders Grotesk + Space Mono
6. Adobe Caslon Pro + Space Mono
Typewolf Visit the font pairing site ⤍
Colophon Foundry Visit the write up of Space Mono from the foundry who made it ⤍