ZINC started out as a student project. We had to start by making a glyph or two, and then we had to build out a set of capital letters. I did the lowercase glyphs too, and then shortly after added numbers.
I sat on the project for a few years until we were putting the finishing touches on the SkyPost project at work, where I figured out how to do enough in FontForge to put together a basic TrueType font! Got really excited and spent some time getting enough glyphs together to cover the keyboard.
The font is really weird, I think. I’m okay with that.
I was inspired by an old sign that I saw at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. The font ended up looking a lot different than that sign, but it was the starting point for both the font and the name. I wanted to name the font “Cooper” because that was the name on the sign, but obviously I have to respect the guilty-pleasure font that already bears the name. My roommate in college is a big fan of recursive acronyms, and so he was the one who named the font ZINC: “ZINC Is Not Cooper.”