Bito Typeface


 

During the '90s, I was a Graphic Design student at the Universidad de las Americas-Puebla. It was a time when Desktop Publishing was still new and pre-Adobe Pagemaker running on a Macintosh Quadra and printing to an Apple LaserWriter was state of the art. Photoshop was only at version 2.5 and it was frustrating as hell. The History Palette didn't exist, which meant only one undo; layers were unheard of; and worst of all, text wasn't editable. The moment you added text to a document it was instantly rasterised and any changes required you to start again. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time with pen and paper before even going near a Mac. It was a fun time to be a designer.

During that time I discovered typography and quickly fell in love. At the university, I attended talks from renowned type designers like Neville Brody and Tobias Frere-Jones, amongst others, from whom I learned to appreciate the nuances of type.

Soon, I was designing a typeface of my own. It was the main deliverable of a typography course and I called it Bito.

 
bito-font.png
 

The process

Many months of intensive work went into designing this typeface. I drew them all by hand. First as outlines with pencil on paper based on a loose grid. Then I filled them in with black ink and stuck them to the wall to scrutinise them from a distance. I tried different combinations of lettes to see how they worked together. After a lot of refining, I finally traced each letter on 5x7 art board.

Those individual pieces of art board were the final assignment. That's what we were graded on. Back then, turning that into a computer font wasn't an easy task, so work on Bito typeface stopped sometime in 1995.

 
 

The history

I did the work for Bito during a semester course and unfortunately I ran out of time and could only design the lowercase alphabet. I had the intention of finishing it, but never got around to it.

Then I graduated and life took over. I stored the 26 pieces of art board and went about my life. Several years later I found them again and made high resolution scans with the intent of continuing work. I didn't.

Fast forward to 2008. By pure luck, I stumbled onto a website that let you upload scans of glyphs and it returned a functioning True Type font. I can't remember the site, but it worked. I got a ttf version of Bito that I could use in Photoshop. It was exciting to have my own typeface as a font.

Unfortunately, it was terrible. The sizes of the glyphs were inconsistent, some were too thick or too thin, and it irritated me that it didn't have any punctuation marks.

Then in early 2013, while having a chat with a colleague at work, I mentioned Bito. He encouraged me to put it up on Dafont even if it was unfinished. It gave me the motivation to spend some time finishing the glyphs that I already had and designing a few basic punctuation marks. So, for the last 6 months I've slowly refined Bito and I'm now happy with where it's at.

 
bito-font-quote.png
 

Bito is by no means finished and it certainly isn't complete. As mentioned, it includes only the lowercase glyphs and a few basic punctuation marks. Below you can see what's included and some additional samples.

The name "Bito"

When I was a kid and my brother was just starting to speak he called me Bito. I don't know why, but I think it was just the way he pronounced "Gabrielito" which is what people called me then. In Spanish, Gabrielito means something like "little Gabriel" or "small Gabriel". And for whatever reason it stuck and to this day my family and close friends call me Bito.

I couldn't think of a name for this typeface and Bito seemed like a good idea at the time. That's all there is to it.

 
 

Bito is, in it's current state, free to download and use.

If you use it, and it's appropriate, I'd be grateful if you gave me credit and linked back to this page. If you use it for commercial purposes I'd appreciate if you let me know, but there are no restrictions.

These fonts can not, however, be included in any compilation products, either commercial or shareware unless prior permission granted.

I do intend to complete Bito, including uppercase and more punctuation marks, and design a thinner version. When I do so, I might change the license but it will apply to the new version only.

You might have noticed I'm using it myself as the logotype of this site.

I hope you enjoy it, and let me know if you have any feedback.

For now, you can download Bito directly from here by clicking on the download button below or from Dafont.