Tag Archives: decoration

banner: figlet on a diet

I have banner on my list of applications, although I’m not sure exactly how it got there. The home page for banner has a lot of other tools of a similar calibre, but they’re not included in my registry. Perhaps this warrants further investigation.

banner has a figlet-ish feel about it.


From that observation, there are two ways we can approach this: Either (a), that banner lacks a lot of the font and “graphical” flair that appears in figlet, or (b), that banner is simpler and lighter than figlet, does much the same thing, but does it without all the trappings that figlet brings in.

In both cases I’m saying much the same thing, but your perspective will determine your interpretation. banner has options for two fonts. figlet has dozens. banner has options to center the text across 80 columns, figlet has options for specific terminal width and alignment. banner’s changelog reaches 1996, figlet’s history stretches back to 1991. banner can draw letters using specific characters or the character it is drawing, figlet can “smush” or kern its output and draw right-to-left scripts.

The banner binary is 26K, figlet’s is 40K, plus its suite of fonts and supporting files.

(I always dislike comparing programs on the basis of binary size though, because were working with software that arguably differs by 14K — a dimension that hasn’t been critical since the early 1980s. If you’re going to make a decision to use figlet or banner based on binary size, then I suspect you have issues beyond just available space. You’re working with generational differences that are beyond the scope of this meager blog. …)

banner is worthy of note as a program that can do as much as figlet, with certain concessions. If you’re willing to skimp on features or if you’re fine-tuning your available space, banner might shave off a tiny bit from what figlet offers. This is another one of those times when you’ll be the best judge. 😐

And yes, if you like you can substitute the word “toilet” almost anywhere the word “figlet” appears in this post. 🙂

P.S., If you’re an Arch user, you’ll need to install shhopt and shhmsg before banner will compile.

toilet: Now with color!

Technically speaking, I’ve already shown toilet in action, more than a year ago. Here’s one more, just for good measure.


toilet, as you can see, is another “text enlargement” tool, in the vein of figlet. The obvious difference being, toilet is intended to apply color.

The real joy of working with toilet is the rainbow and metal effects that you can get, in addition to the fonts, unicode support and filters. figlet may have spearheaded the banner text tool, but toilet gives it a new spin.

Oddly, toilet is in Debian main, but in AUR — not Arch proper. I can’t be sure what the reason is for that, but I would suspect there is some sort of licensing issue at work.

No matter. You can enjoy the thrill of giant-size text in an amazing array of colors, regardless of which distro you use. 😉

figlet: Large-print edition

I’ll keep this brief, because figlet is something everyone seems to know about.


figlet transforms straight text into large, oversized or decorative letters, suitable for framing.

Well, maybe not for framing. Maybe just for sprucing up your output. Or maybe just for fun.

I’ve used figlet a lot in the past, but oddly I can’t think of any special gimmicks or tricks right now.

Usually it involved piping input from one application through figlet, to use for another purpose. For example, the old mocp screensaver script, or as fodder for cadubi.

figlet doesn’t do color that I know of; for that, take a look at toilet, from the makers of libcaca.

And that’s all I’ll say. Bonus points if you convert this post into giant-size text. 😉