‘LastResort’, the Story Behind the Mac’s Mysterious Font

Ernie Smith wrote a profile of the Mac font called LastResort. It only appears when the OS can’t find an appropriate character of the system font.

But LastResort is a more interesting font than it seems. It’s essentially the typography form of hieroglyphics, showing unusual characters intended for people building fonts to have some sort of error system that helps them figure out what might be missing from their typeface.

A great write up of a font I had never heard of before.

Check It Out: ‘LastResort’, the Story Behind the Mac’s Mysterious Font

2 thoughts on “‘LastResort’, the Story Behind the Mac’s Mysterious Font

  • Thanks, but how to download and show such LastResort font in Font Book? I mean,
    The Hieroglyphics That Appears When No Other Font Is Available
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/889e3b/the-hieroglyphics-that-appears-when-no-other-font-is-available
    says “If you want to see it there, download a font that doesn’t have any lowercase characters”.

    But then points to
    Last Resort Font
    https://unicode.org/policies/lastresortfont_eula.html

    And clicking there
    Yes, I agree to the EULA and wish to download the Last Resort font”
    downloads
    https://unicode.org/cgi-bin/LastResortDownload.zip
    that after expanding contains
    LastResort.ttf

    But Apple Quick Look (press spacebar to preview file contents) only shows “A” inside it. And you cannot drag and drop such font inside
    /System/Library/Fonts
    because a forbidden sign snows at least in macOS 10.12.6 (16G2136) Sierra.

    How to overcome that? Thanks!

    1. Hello Macsee and sorry for the delayed reply. From what we’ve found, the most frequent reasons are corrupted font cache data. Restarting your Mac usually solves corrupt cache data problems. If it doesn’t work, use Terminal to delete the system’s cached font files: for Big Sur use ”sudo atsutil databases -remove”, without quotation marks, and for Monterey use ”atsutil databases -removeUser”. Alternatively, go to Settings and choose the Reset Fonts button.

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