Why I stopped using Operator Mono


I bought Operator Mono two years ago. If you don’t know, Operator Mono is this fancy code font that was in the rage back then.

It’s nice. It has a unique serif feel to it. And it has real italics on a code font. Real italics

It’s pricey too — it costs $200. It took me a long time to contemplate and I finally bought it.

Operator mono used for some code.

Fast forward two years, I decided to stop using Operator Mono and switch back to a free font.

I’ll like to share the story of why and what I learned from this incident. (If you’re curious, I’ll also share with you what font I switched to!).

Why I bought Operator Mono

Operator Mono was the rage for a while. I would see people posting Operator Mono on Twitter and how they love the font. Each time I see such a post, I get a massive pang of jealousy and envy — I wanted to have it too, but I can’t bear to part with the $200.

This is influencer marketing and also peer pressure at its best. I felt I HAD to get it. But I didn’t know why.

One day I decided to fuck it and buy the font. I packaged it as a gift for myself — I was rewarding myself for putting in all this hard work.

I don’t exactly remember the moment I bought Operator Mono anymore. It’s a hazy memory at this point.

But deep down inside, the real reason is probably because I wanted something to help prove that I’m a good developer. Buying an expensive font justified my self-image since I can be smug about it.

(Yeah, stupid reason. We all buy things for stupid reasons. It’s good to uncover why you bought something if you can. It saves you from lots of other stupid buys in the future).

I regretted my purchase immediately after buying Operator Mono — it looked great on Twitter and in the browser, but I found it extremely hard to read when paired with code in my text editor.

But I also loved it at the same time.

Emotions are funny.

Why I stopped using Operator Mono

I continued using Operator Mono for a long time even though I didn’t really enjoy it 100%. I used it for so long that I got used to it — I forgot I disliked how hard it was to read my own code. (Especially markdown). My eyes glaze over all the words.

Operator mono used for text

One day, as I reflected on things that I’m unhappy about, I whipped out my editor and replaced Operator Mono with a font I used and loved previously. Jetbrains Mono.

Instantly, I felt at ease. I felt happier. I could read. I felt I was ready to code again.

Jetbrains mono used for text

It’s still hard to part with Operator Mono — because a part of me still wants myself to acknowledge that I’m a decent developer although I feel I’m not. (It’s an egoic thing as you can tell). But I feel ready to move past the font now.

I’d like to give the font away to help me get past the attachment to this font. I only have one license though, so I’d only be able to send it to one person. At the same time, I’m not sure whether licensing laws allow me to give away the font.

Note: I’m not writing this article to diss Operator Mono. I’m simply writing it to share why it’s not working for me, and why I don’t want to force myself to like it anymore. It may work for others, but it didn’t work for me.

What are you holding on to that’s not serving you?

We all have stuff — thoughts, emotions, physical objects — that don’t serve us anymore, even though we’re still holding on to them.

  • What are you holding on to that’s not helping you anymore?
  • What’s preventing you from letting it go?

Write me back and let me know. Maybe we can have a discussion about it.

Fun aside: There’s a thing called Coding Font that helps you decide the font you like.

I tried it 3 times and got 3 different results. When I tried the font on my actual editor, I disliked them all too. I guess I have some emotional attachments towards Jetbrains Mono at this point, or maybe I really need to look at a font in context before deciding whether it feels right for me.

Just thought of letting you know about this tool in case you’re interested in trying it out.

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