Fonts like Plex change nothing. We'll have free, self generating typefaces in less than 2 decades. Not parametric type design but AI proper. You can try to hold back the tide but there'll be a day when nobody buys fonts anymore and it's not that far off.
A few years ago I went back over my old ad copy to clean it up. Yuck! It was all girly this and manly that—so cringeworthy. People still do it but I don't think they realize how tone deaf it comes across.
@Stephen Coles It's a conservative timeline. If progress continues at it's current rate, I'd give it 25 years. But technological progress is accelerating. Conservatively, I'll say a $1000 computer matches a human brain by 2026. I think it's more like 2023 but let's say 2026. Maybe 3 years later, a $1000 computer matches the brain power of all humans on earth with a few million times the processing speed. 15 years from now it'll be 2031. That $1000 computer is now cheap enough to put in an electronic poster. I'm not talking about artificial human consciousness or anything like that. Just raw computing power, local storage and access to all human and machine knowledge. No far-out sci-fi stuff, just more of what we already have in 2016. Also consider the potential of software that can self test and generate it's own bug reports...fix centuries of bugs in seconds. The innovation gap will close up very quickly.
I think this is how the rest of the story of type design will unfold. I think the evolution of automated type design will develop from targeted advertising. At first, design will dynamically change according to consumer preference. The layout engine will choose an existing, licensed typeface. It will create illustrations, modify and translate ad copy in order to generate an image. This will happen before 2020. The ads will look synthetic. Some consumers will be able to tell the difference between an ad designed by humans and a synthetic one. But advertisers will be intrigued, especially by the low cost and the ads will improve rapidly based on instant performance feedback. There will be no need to call a meeting to talk about how an ad is performing. The race will be on to create better, more convincing targeted ads. In 2022 the ads have been improving. The l;ayout, illustration and typography seems more creatively designed. Illustrations were once simple photo filters and clip art but will be able to mimic specific styles. A customer who loves Duran Duran may get an illustration in Nagel style with a layout reminiscent of the Rio album cover. A Garfield enthusiast will get a cartoon illustration paired with Cooper Black. But font selection isn't enough. To make these ads stand out, the software will need to learn how to do lettering. A human graphic designer modifies type and creates lettering. The software will need to do that too. First it's just kiss kerning. Then it's modifying ascenders and descenders. The it's setting type on paths and playfully filling counters. It will improve week by week. It will imitate 1990's grunge typography, art nouveau, 2010's retro. At first these will look like crude parodies but they'll improve quickly.
Meanwhile, this software will be generating ads in every language. Fully parametric type won't be required. It'll possible to keep using existing fonts and keep modifying them until the end of time. But the lack of font licensing fees will make automated type design very appealing. At this time, the pieces required to create automated type design will already exist. Then it's just a matter of putting the pieces together. I think that's precisely where the drive for automated type design will occur. The ultimate type design tool won't be driven by type designers. It won't come from Glyphs or Fontlab. It'll be driven by targeted advertising. If you think this scenario is off-the-wall, think about Monotype's recent acquisition. Are they nuts? No. I think they know what's coming around the corner. On the upside, we'll always need poodle groomers.