Update 2015-12-04: The official release of Inconsolata is at Google Fonts, and official upstream is on github. These versions have better Windows hinting and some fixes. I also have an experimental version (tentatively titled InconsolataGo) with straight quotes in the inconsolata directory here.
Inconsolata is my first serious original font release. It is a monospace font, designed for code listings and the like, in print. There are a great many "programmer fonts," designed primarily for use on the screen, but in most cases do not have the attention to detail for high resolution rendering.
Inconsolata draws from many inspirations and sources. I was particularly struck by the beauty of Luc(as) de Groot's Consolas, which is his monospaced design for Microsoft's upcoming Vista release. This font, similar to his earlier TheSansMono, demonstrated clearly to me that monospaced fonts do not have to suck.
First and foremost, Inconsolata is a humanist sans design. I strove for the clarity and clean lines of Adrian Frutiger's Avenir (the lowercase "a", in particular, pays homage to this wonderful design), but also looked to Morris Fuller Benton's Franklin Gothic family for guidance on some of my favorite glyphs, such as lowercase "g" and "S", and, most especially, the numerals.
Designing a monospace font poses unique challenges. I have carefully studied many other monospaced fonts to see how they solve these problems. Many of the available monospace fonts are adaptations of existing proportionally-spaced fonts, but some, such as Letter Gothic, draw strength from being their own designs. I hope Inconsolata upholds that tradition.
Some details will be most apparent in print, such as the subtle curves in lowercase "t", "v", "w", and "y". Inconsolata also borrows "micro-serifs" from some Japanese Gothic fonts, which enhance the appearance of crispness and legibility.
[ FontForge source | OpenType file | pfa file | PDF showing ]
I'm still working on completing this font, refining the base ASCII set and filling out the Latin 1, 2, and 9 complements. It will be released under the new Open Font License of SIL. Completion of this font is being generously sponsored by the TeX Users Group Development Fund. If you like this font and want to see more sponsored and released freely, please consider donating to TUG.
Other fonts I'm working on.