MD Polychrome is a typeface based on the unique aesthetic of Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR), and the pre-digital typefaces it inspired.

Available in four styles, the design both refines and expands on the traditional MICR aesthetic: balancing its typically uneven texture, improving its spacing, and pushing the limits of optical size to create a version fit for the largest posters and boldest layouts.

Rather than the more conventional weight axis, MD Polychrome expresses its design through size. With four discrete options — Nano, Kilo, Mega and Giga — which maintain the same weight in their thick strokes while modulating the thins.

For finer control than the static sizes, MD Polychrome Variable unifies the optical size axis into a variable font.
This single font file contains not just all four discrete styles, but also the near-infinite size options between them.

About the Design

MD Polychrome’s design stems from MICR, or Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. Invented in the late 1950s, MICR allows human-readable characters to also be recognised by a magnetic scanner, on account of each character producing a different magnetic ‘signature’ when scanned from left to right.
The need for each signature to be unique resulted in a set of glyphs with a bizarre, evocative appearance — and by the mid-1960s, typefaces inspired by the ‘MICR look’ were abound.

Rounded corners made from sections of circles may be quicker to draw, but the ‘bump’ where they start and end is easily visible.

MD Polychrome’s curves are carefully drawn to blend with its straight sections, unifying the letterform into a single shape.

As with many pre-digital typeface designs, few MICR-style families made it to the computer age. Those that were digitised were often rushed — cobbled together from circles and lines, with details overlooked and less common glyphs missing outright.
MD Polychrome doesn’t seek to revive any single example from these earlier typefaces, but rather to capture their spirit in a contemporary light — with attention to detail, and the needs of modern designers in mind.

While all of our typefaces support a wide range of Latin-based languages, MD Polychrome’s character set is our largest to date. It covers over 400 languages, and includes a suite of currency symbols to match — some of which have never been supported by a typeface of this genre before.

Usage Specimens

MD Polychrome Giga

MD Polychrome Mega

MD Polychrome Kilo

MD Polychrome Nano

OpenType Features

List of Glyphs

Buy MD Polychrome ↗

Download Trial Fonts ↓

Read the PDF Specimen →