AI and the type industry, article.

Hi All, 

Last year I heard a talk about AI and type by @Filip Paldia, who's PHD subject is "Making Aesthetically Acceptable Fonts by Deep Learning Methods". It made me step back a while to consider what on earth was going to happen to our industry and even whether I should keep going or pivot into something else (type design is already my third design career, and I love it).

After reading the insightful posts on TypeDrawers, especially this thread: , and chatting with type friends, I eventually came to the conclusion that AI will certainly disrupt the industry but not destroy it. In fact it will play a critical role in its evolution beyond 'static type' much like @Ray Larabie suggested. 

I reached out to Filip and we co-authored this article. It's aimed more at graphic designers, but would be interested to hear your thoughts, even if it's a load of old codswallop*.

*yes, 'Codswallop' the font name is already taken, like everything else, I just checked.


  • Jamie Clarke
    Jamie Clarke Posts: 22
    edited January 25
    It's true, the take-up is glacially slow. (I've taken a poll of how many people have used a variable font, in a room full of self-confessed type lovers, and only a few raise their hands). Having said that, VFs are a step on the path to more contextual fonts, and that path will likely be faster or slower depending on adjacent technology.
  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,043
    In the article, you say
    The next evolutionary step will be dynamic, context-sensitive typefaces. These would provide more nuanced and precise forms of communication, tailoring text to specific contexts and user needs.
    I would have more cautiously stated this as something that dynamic, context-sensitive typefaces may be something that happens (I would also have avoided the term ‘evolutionary’). I think the notion of tailoring text to specific contexts and user needs requires a lot more unpicking of assumptions if the results are not going to languish at the level of superficial and banal. Predictive AI, unsurprisingly, tends towards and reinforces cliché.

    GPT-4 Turbo did, however, make this attractive but totally random and meaningless image when Adam Twardoch tried to use it to help me find a test word for Sinhala shaping behaviours.

    Which makes me think that deep language models might not actually recognise the boundaries of language. :D
  • Dave Crossland
    Dave Crossland Posts: 1,405
    John, you seem to be missing the forest - the Latin texts, where the typeface was generated and typeset by the AI - for the tree of the nonsense sinhala shapes....
  • Jamie Clarke
    Thanks @John Hudson, That's interesting. You don't think type will evolve to break free of its 400+ year old static state? I feel pretty confident that barrier will be broken eventually. It feels like the next natural step, though currently way beyond our capabilities to create or reproduce.
    Love that GPT image!
  • Jamie Clarke
    Thanks John. That makes sense.