Variable Fonts and Graphic Design

Hi! 

I'm currently studying about variable fonts and their application to the graphic designer work.

I'm not a programmer, but I would like to know if there is a possibility for developing an algorithm that controls the tone of the text.

I'm thinking about a control in a user interface that allows him to choose to have more or less tonal difference between the variable font used and the axes of width, weight, and so on, fit their choice. 

Thank you,
Ana Fernandes
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Comments

  • Are you saying you want the tone as it changes to correlate to one of the axes? For example, width? Do you mean tone as in feeling (anger, sarcasm) or tone as in a specific note or pitch?

    I think it's possible. If a typeface can be controlled by the weather or by light, I'd imagine it could be controlled by anything. 
  • Promphan Suksumek did a project titled Emotional Type which follows a similar premise that you might take an interest in. You can find it here:
    http://www.emotionaltype.org/
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,444
    Hi Ana, I would draw your attention to Carl Crossgrove’s brilliant Reliq, which contains an “agitation” axis.

    It was one of a number of “variable” designs developed for Multiple Master technology, before Adobe killed support for that format in its layout applications.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,444
    On the other hand, if one is to keep other variable parameters constant, while varying “greyscale density” at consistent typeface weight, character count, etc., then that would be a “grading” axis.

    Grading is a concept invented at Font Bureau, I believe, to account for different amounts of press gain in a newspaper that is printed at a variety of printing plants.

    Typotheque has also published graded types, and being a cutting edge foundry, perhaps they have variable fonts with a grading axis, already available or in the works.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,656
    Grading is a concept invented at Font Bureau, I believe, to account for different amounts of press gain in a newspaper that is printed at a variety of printing plants.
    Weren’t the Linotype legibility series just different grades of the same design made for different newspapers?
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,444
    A quick look at the 1950s specimen book shows they have different character counts, at the least. Although they are all nominally “moderns”.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 892
    As I recall, the “grading” concept was developed at Font Bureau primarily by Tobias Frere-Jones, along with Mike Parker, in the context of a project sponsored by the Poynter Institute for Newspaper Studies. It was informed by Tobias’s research into and Mike’s direct experience with the Linotype Legibility group of newspaper typefaces. David Berlow almost certainly also had an influence.
    The Linotype Legibility group was a handful of five faces, all essentially the same modified "Ionic" style, adapted for different press/paper conditions. Tobias’s main innovation was to systematize this approach and make the related faces width-compatible.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,444
    A spread from the introductory leaflet for Excelsior, one of the Legibility Series, 1931.



  • If y’all wanna debate the concept of grades, start a new thread. Let's keep this discussion focused on variable fonts. 
  • Ana FernandesAna Fernandes Posts: 13
    edited September 17
    Are you saying you want the tone as it changes to correlate to one of the axes? For example, width? Do you mean tone as in feeling (anger, sarcasm) or tone as in a specific note or pitch?

    I was thinking about the overall color of the text. Like if we have a control in an user interface that allows a graphic designer to control the contrast between different pieces of text, adapting one (or more) variable fonts to his choice.

    For example, simplifying, if i decide to have a lot of contrast between a heading and a body text, I manipulate that control, and the weight axe adapts giving more weight to the first and less to the second.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,052
    Like the Variable Font "Grade" axis in Roboto Extremo and Amstelvar in https://typetools.typenetwork.com?
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