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AnyOCR – The new and free OCR Font!

AnyOCR - OCR Font Crossword

DESIGNING A NEW OCR FONT – ANYOCR

Some of you might ask yourself “why?”. You might say the technology nowadays is good enough to read non-OCR-optimized fonts as well. You might also think that there have already been two OCR fonts for the past 50 years and the world is overloaded with fonts in general. But that was before you’ve seen our new OCR font. There was some optimization needed to make the technology and the font a perfect team. That’s exactly what we – together with the design team around the Multigenre Bureau laut aber leise – did. Please welcome AnyOCR!

HISTORY OF OCR-A and OCR-B

Everyone who works in the field of Optical Character Recognition, especially in the field of text recognition, is confronted with the traditional fonts OCR-A and OCR-B. Back in 1968 when the fonts were introduced two important requirements had to be accomplished. Of course the font had to be perfectly readable by machines and computers, but it also had to be readable by the human eye.


The OCR-A

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) hired the highly esteemed American Type Founders (e.g. Franklin Gothic, Bank Gothic) to design the OCR-A font. Because of the special character of each letter and the resulting distinction, the font is optimized for machine readability. However, the second requirement was a bit neglected – the OCR-A is readable by a human being but the shape of the letters and numbers is not natural for the human eye and, therefore, not comfortable to read. And this brings us to OCR-B.

OCR-A
The OCR-B

Adrian Frutiger was one of the most important typographers. He was best known for the design of the fonts Univers, Frutiger and Avenir. The OCR-A didn’t enjoy great popularity in Europe and therefore Frutiger designed a new version for the  European Computer Manufacturer’s Association (ECMA). If you compare the fonts you will immediately recognize the better readability of the OCR-B.
Both fonts follow the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

OCR-B

THE ANYOCR

AnyOCR font

Why

After 58 years we thought it was time for a new and better looking OCR font. That is why we simply designed one ourselves. Even if you think that OCR fonts are outdated because almost every computer written font is readable, there are still quite some advantages about it. And through our experience a lot of sectors still use OCR-A/B for their product specifications.

So what were our requirements for AnyOCR?

Design

First of all we really think Frutiger was one of the best typographers. But the design awareness changed over the last 60 years. We wanted a state-of-the-art design, which meant lighter and softer shape. Because even if it’s just a number placed on a product it has the right to look good. Within this change the readability improved – for the machine as well as for the human eye.

The most important goal to achieve was to improve the accuracy and speed of scanning for all existing software solutions. This was indeed the most difficult part because it depended on more than one aspect.

Accuracy and Speed

In order to minimize the possible errors, numbers and letters differ from each other in the best way attainable. As OCR experts, we know that if the characters are aligned in a grid it’s much easier to detect and scan them. Consequently kerning of the AnyOCR is aligned in a perfect grid to optimize the process. The kerning of AnyOCR is not optimized for continuous text. But as you know we are not focused on scanning long texts and therefore it’s the perfect solution.

font grid

To sum it up

We, as a tech-startup, love to support developers and our community in the best possible way. By offering a free OCR font we enable a lot more people – from the community as well as from the mass market – to work with Optical Text Recognition without spending money in contrast to OCR-A and OCR-B.

The Anyline SDK focuses on Mobile OCR and, therefore, the font has to be readable under poor lighting conditions and has to deal with reflections etc. With the SDK it doesn’t matter where you are and what you are scanning as long as you use our OCR font. The usage of AnyOCR would improve the scan results of other softwares as well but it’s only allowed to use the font in combination with our Anyline SDK.  But as you may assume –  Anyline is the best SDK for OCR especially in combination with the AnyOCR. For more information visit AnyOCR.

So let’s scan!

Brand Manager @anyline.io
Responsible for the professional appearance of Anyline, including design and marketing material.
Besides that, she is often seen at concerts and loves to discuss the latest Netflix series.