Project Faces by Adobe

Anyone seen this yet? Adobe let's you 'create' a typeface within your project by adjusting width, stroke width, curvature, crossbar height, contrast, slant and a bunch of other things.

See it here

I posted this under the 'type design software', just because I didn't know which category would be best. It does actually create font files.

What do you guys think of this? From a software perspective they did a nice job, lots of stuff to adjust and lots of results too. But from a typeface design viewpoint it seems very limited.


  • ‘It was better than any magician I’ve seen […].’ Wauw! IMHO even this is much more impressive:
  • Great, now instead of hundreds of new fonts being added to Myfonts each day, we can have thousands, no... tens of thousands added each day. Oh, what fun. Our national deficit is 18+trillion and growing, soon our fonts will match that number. I cannot wait!
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    But can Project Faces make fonts in dayglo orange gradient fades?
  • Max PhillipsMax Phillips Posts: 474
    edited October 2015
    Jazzy vector effects + a single, crudely drawn skeleton – optical correction of any sort ≠ typeface design.  And the results are pretty awful.  Passing the output off as "bespoke typefaces" degrades standards.  Didn't Adobe used to raise them?

    But in all seriousness, I'd love this for my six-year-old son.  He'd have a blast.
  • I wonder if they'll be hiring type designers to create other (better) "skeletons" for users to start with?

    As a type user, I do actually like the idea of having a "weight slider" of some kind, for when you want something in between existing weights. This is not that, but that's the first place my mind went.
  • Alex KaczunAlex Kaczun Posts: 163
    edited October 2015
    This software is nothing new... Apple was doing this 20 years ago with Quickdraw GX. It had loads of feature tables like OpenType has now and multi-axis interpolation on the fly. It was great! But, the type design department fine tuned the extremes of all axis of a particular font design to maximize the interpolation results. The overall effect was good. Unfortunately, because Apple wouldn't share the technology with Microsoft it went nowhere. What Adobe is doing is not the right approach. One skeleton fits all. Bad idea. Anyway, like I said, more bad knockoffs of these type of ugly fonts cheapens all fonts. With time, no one will know what good typography is all about.
  • I feel like these type of seemingly disruptive apps or features (or businesses) come up every so often. Designers get up in arms about it, but then the hype fades and nothing really comes about it. Everyone continues doing what they're doing and there seems to be no real significant consequences.

    It has happened in the field of web design, logo design, industrial design etc., but never negates the professional sector in the way people fear it could.
  • Right you are, Michael. For the most part that is true. I'm only disappointed that a big successful company like Adobe, instead of spending it's time and money, on progressive educational endeavors... instead of teaching good typography—instead comes out with a cheap gizmo to show off! Abracadabra... instant fonts. Wow, I would like to think that Adobe is capable of so much more. (IMHO) Adobe has revolutionized this industry in many good ways. This is just a stumble... hopefully this will lead to something better. As a toy, it's fine. It gets peoples attention, stirs interest in font technologies and gets young people to experiment. All good, I guess, time will tell.
  • Alex, I'm disappointed in Adobe as well and have been ever since the Freehand debacle, and the lack of consistent OpenType UI across their apps (I just can't get over this), among other things!

    But I'll keep any more than that for another thread lol…
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,355
    I think any type design tool that works off a skeleton has limited use. I'm sure fully parametric tools will arrive someday but they have to be built on shapes, not strokes. Strokes are a way of rationalizing type design after the fact; not a something to use a basis for a design tool. There are some designs that could work off a skeleton like technical looking fonts or ultra-light weights but it's very limited.
  • Igor FreibergerIgor Freiberger Posts: 247
    edited October 2015
    This kind of tool does not survive its own hype. Adobe Faces appears to handle type smoothly because they chose a completely geometric skeleton. In real life, fonts are not so regular, without any bumps, variations or ink traps (and also have better S...). This preview is so far from decent quality it even does not handles overshoots and fails to produce a flat base for V, although doing the same for A and W. An attractive toy, not more.
  • Project Faces isn't a product, it's marketing. Creative Cloud is too big, old, and clunky to sell Adobe as innovative and forward thinking. So Adobe is going back to the Bell Labs and Xerox PARC days and throwing money at projects that only exist for the sake of reputation building. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Adobe came out of PARC.
  • I think any type design tool that works off a skeleton has limited use.
    I totally agree:

  • As long as Batman is not capable of typing his name properly, I refuse to take him seriously. Probably he uses a keyboard driver from the Joker.
  • ^ Agreed, it's one of the bigger drawbacks in what they did. Also, the way contrast or the ending of strokes is handled, is way too simple. It's mostly a trick, probably fun to play around with at the start, but I wonder what it will do with peoples perception of typefaces? I hadn't even considered that people might actually try and sell the typefaces that come out of this, but since the results will be limited, it would probably only lead to a bunch of 'typefaces' being released at the start, probably? That is, if someone would actually do that.

    At the same time, using something like this might actually be a quick & dirty way of trying how a different typeface might look, how it would influence your design, and the designers might choose to use an actual well-designed typeface that matches what they whopped up in the first place?

    There's numerous cases where technology which was feared, mocked or seemed stupid, actually helped the industry instead of destroying it. I'm not saying I'm a fan though ;)
  • There's numerous cases where technology which was feared, mocked or seemed stupid, actually helped the industry instead of destroying it. I'm not saying I'm a fan though

    Actually I do believe in parametrized type design, I only don’t believe in this approach. It looks simple because it overly simplifies the matter. It is also not a very original approach.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,098
    It’s a tool; as such, there is always potential for designers to work within its limitations and exploit it nicely. 

    It can be used for display work and prototyping, perhaps by a client before calling in a type designer for a custom design.

    Ultimately, typographers with balk at having to tinker with all the variables, and will instead choose a ready-made product. No matter how easy and slick it is to use, they will find that there is too much time required to be spent appraising a suitable balance between “competing” variables (that is the nature of design), and just opt for something off the shelf, with all the fine tuning done by a pro.

  • I trust many of us have respectfully purist opinions, while I trust the audience to have respectable emotional opinions, which leaves 3 doctors out of ten who still respectfully want new technology. And then, there is always one person, at least one,  I should say, who wants anything new, dead. But that is too easy, seeing as, in this case, skeleton type is pretty dead now.

    But I wonder about this project being more useful hooked up to a video app, rather than trying just to make headlines, or trim text with it. This stuff makes demos people cheer at.... Everywhere. I know, because I've been doing these kinds of demos for a while. People like the videos, why waste the technology just on print or still web stuff.

  • This has similarities to 'Font Chameleon' that Adobe bought some 20+ years ago, a neat thing based around a kind of Multiple Master technology. Perhaps this is the result.

    You can't say it's not a neat tool!

  • It’s not a neat tool!
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,629
    edited October 2015
    Because he could and because he's Frank.  ;)

    FWIW, Font Chameleon was much more sophisticated. It was possible to create fonts that looked like real fonts, and also do the crazy slider thing. It could do stuff like morph from one font to another. Multiple Masters was simpler, and based on interpolating between simple, compatible outlines.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 992
    edited October 2015
    The excitement in that room has been blown a bit out of proportion. The reason it seemed people were hooting and hollering was mostly the result of cunning stagecraft. The host made all the “woos” (you can hear her in the microphone) and she initiated the applause every time. It’s not difficult to get an audience to clap, or to make a live demo (especially recorded on video) seem more exciting that it is, and Adobe was wise to take advantage of those tricks.
  • Really? In any case, the cunning folks on stage were not by my side over the past 20 years of similar reactions. 
  • David, I have no doubt the reactions to your demoes were real and sincere. 
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,355
    If that had been Ron Swanson on the stage, he would have Jimmed the camera.
  • Anyhoo, stagecraft aside, it’s a great idea... kind of a visual Metafont. Beats the hell out of the primitive and clumsy skeleton files I’ve been creating in FontForge, although “Expand Stroke” is more powerful in some ways.

  • It’s not a neat tool!
    Because it begins with badly made basic forms and then adds weight to them with no way of correcting optical problems, like the dark vertices of the M.  The output is too crude to be useful.

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