ChatGPT 4o has much better type design and typography output

Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,395
edited May 14 in Font Technology
The latest OpenAI ChatGPT was announced yesterday and the announcement blog post is at


In the Exploration Of Capabilities section drop-down, there is a "text to font" section, and it has 3 generated typefaces that are at least as good as Impallari's demos last year:

There's also several typography examples, where type is generated as lettering (an existing typeface with a specific text, with the type design taken from an image -- no OpenType technology involved; or a handwriting type style generated fresh) and laid out within a document design:

I'm yet to see any recent advances in genAI for vector graphics, though; this seems to be all raster graphics.

Yet I remain wondering if that matters.


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    John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 3,009
    edited May 14
    The results on the text front are improved in terms of character representation—although the first two words of the ‘handwriting’ example exhibit some structural confusion—, but overall the results remain clumsy. I go back to what I said regarding Pablo’s experiments: there may be a quality bar in the predictive AI models that will be difficult to overcome, because the machine lacks the judicial understanding that informs iterative improvement.
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    TypedesignerTypedesigner Posts: 33
    In my opinion, AI is still a long way from designing really good typefaces, let alone producing entire, coordinated font families from several fonts. However, it is possible that AI functions will be integrated into FontLab and Glyphs in the future, once the developers are technically ready. For example, AI functions could replace RMX tools or speed up and/or automate kerning.
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    yanoneyanone Posts: 130
    I think this development is crazy. 

    And no, until someone sells their entire library to OpenAI for training (how long do you think that’ll take, and who will it be?), we will still need professionals to design precision typographic campaigns. But for the random display user, what fun it would be to have it design quirky morphy glitchy bubbly shapes on the fly, ey?

    Like, this is really the point in time where you need to tell type design students that they should reconsider their career choices because 80% of the market (display fonts, not sure about the precise share) will be taken in two years time.
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    Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,385
    edited May 16

    The transition to complete typographic automation is happening so rapidly that pursuing automated font design may not be worthwhile.

    Currently, AI can generate interesting, hand-drawn titles, but more serious titles and blocks of text still have noticeable flaws. By next year, we can expect AI to produce clean, impressive title typography, though blocks of text might still contain minor errors.

    In just a few years, AI will likely create impeccable layouts with flawless typography. The generated lettering will perfectly match the tone of the content, enhancing its meaning and impact.

    Throughout this evolution, the traditional concept of fonts will become obsolete. AI-driven typography won't rely on pre-designed fonts, marking a significant departure from the way we've approached type design for centuries.

    In other words: AI generated fonts are nothing to worry about because the timing will coincide with the end of the need for fonts.

    I still enjoy making fonts but I'm not going to knock myself out and ruin my health anymore.

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    C.FransenC.Fransen Posts: 7
    edited May 16
    I find it interesting to see how much urge people have to imitate human behavior or customs in order to 'deceive' other people.
    Whether it is AI-generated pieces of text, AI-generated music, AI-generated conversation partner(s) or AI-generated handwriting as in the last example.

    For me personally, it takes the fun out of all the examples, even though it probably took a lot of effort to provide the right human input for the AI model to behave like a human, which I can appreciate.

    Ultimately, I am more pleasantly surprised by the extent to which humans are able to create things such as AI rather than by what humans can ultimately achieve with it.  At least, until now.
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    PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 783
    edited May 19
    Over the last week I have been exploring chatgpt (v3.5 the old one).
    Basically I have been "talking" to the AI about random type design topics, chatting on varios levels, sometimes acting as a regular persona and other times acting as a type expert persona. Focused it not as quantitative research but mores as a qualitative one.

    It can answer a lot. That surprised me. It understood and was able to respond much more that I anticipated. Seems that the AI has done his homework and has studied typedesign deeply. Not only the type design literature but also the source code, so basically it has knowledge about pretty much any topic you may ask. You can have very very interesting chats about a lot of type design topics. It feels a bit like if you are talking with type design books: You ask, and the books talks to you too. It's a nice experience. 

    Although is often wrong if you ask for specific data.. for example if you ask for a list of typefaces by a specific designer it may list typefaces done by different ones, maybe because they coexist in the same websites. There are multiples mistakes, but not too far away from the correct answers.

    A huge weakness I found out in chatgpt v3.5 is that since its all text-based, it can not make the connection to the visual aspect of any particular typeface by no means other that the existing text descriptions about the typefaces. For example, if you ask about the "Ranchers" typeface, it will say that it is related to the western era. Trying to guess the way the fonts looks from the font name. If I try to correct the Ai by saying something like, for example, "no thats wrong, Ranchers is supposed to be relaxed and funny, like a caricature of futura black" it will now write something completely new, but it will be related to the keywords "caricature, relaxed, funny" and will sound pretty decent, only because the AI its a great text predictor and not because it has inspected the real visual design of the font.. as in "the ai can not really see the font.. it can read about type and tries to do the best guess, but its like a blind person" still.

    On the plus side, it enables new ways to connect type to multiple other cultural topics.
    For example, you can ask what food recipe goes well with a specific font, and the results are interesting, and yummy. 
    It will relate "Dosis Light" to a tasty summer salad recipe, beef stroganoff for "Futura Black" and mushroom risotto for "Garamond". Sometimes the initial relation is not very good, but you can refine the results by providing additional info and they become surprisingly good quite fast with a little extra interaction steps. I really loved this AI ability to relate fonts to other stuff. I guess other people will relate type to music, of whatever interest each person may have.

    I haven't explored the new multimodal Ai releases yet... but I'm eager to do it soon, to investigate what new capabilities the AI has developed, if any. And to imagine what can be done to improve them too. In theory they can see the world now, so they are not longer blind. I'm really curious about the new multimodal AIs and how they will change the game.
    Will report back later.

    (Maybe all that was already obvious too many of you, but since I was focused on Dreambooth image generation, Chatgpt and Gemini are quite new to me).
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    John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 254
    I don’t find any of the example AI output designs shown in this thread to be compelling. They might equal or approach a bunch of the throwaway display font designs from the phototype era or the 1001 Fonts CDROM era. Perhaps if they “trained” the AI on a more curated selection of classic serif text fonts, there might be something worth printing a book in. Wake me up when that happens.
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    C.FransenC.Fransen Posts: 7
    @PabloImpallari You might want to get into Gpt4o. I just heard (via a podcast) it can produce fonts. When you watch the demo video's on the website you can see things are really lifting off for AI. https://openai.com/index/hello-gpt-4o/

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    Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,768
    @C.Fransen Can you link to that podcast? Or provide any evidence that it can produce actual usable OTF or TTF files?

    The problem is that the average person will say “that’s a font!” when confronted with a bitmap image of text. And, as you know, technically there is a pretty huge difference between that image and a real working font.

    Yes, there are ways of getting from a bitmap to a working font (as @PabloImpallari
    has done), but they are non-trivial, and the last I have seen they have serious limitations. I am sure all these limitations will be surmounted in the foreseeable future.
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    C.FransenC.Fransen Posts: 7
    Hi @Thomas Phinney, the podcast is in Spotify. It's called Poki. It's in Dutch though. I've listened to it this afternoon and thought about this thread after listening.
    I see now that I've overlooked the fact that Dave Crossland started this thread discussing what I mentioned earlier today about Gpt4o. My appologies.  

    I have no access to Gpt4.o and can't provide you with any files. To be honest, if I had accesss I still wouldn't want to try to make a font with it. I can't see myself as a creator of a font made by AI  for the same reason I cannot call myself an artist when I generate a picture with Dall-E.

    I'm sure AI can be of service in many ways in the future; I listen to the podcast to hear the progress being made in the industry and find the people who make the podcast very intelligent and enthusiastic about the technique. Sometimes they wonder off and start brainstorming which I like to listen to very much.  
    A good friend of mine works for a big tech company and tells me they are departing from conventional techniques in the industry and solely focussing on AI. Both of us have school-going children and we sometimes talk about our kids education and the future for our kids. We see now that schools are still doing too little with AI and could benefit from leveraging it. Perhaps it's because they only notice that papers are being generated with Chat-GPT and Siri is in no way fun to talk to ;-) 

    Maybe in the near future Spotify can translate podcasts in other languages so anyone can listen to them.
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    Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,385
    edited May 20
    Here's an example of ChatGPT 4o describing an image that I uploaded for a test. Here's the prompt: Please describe this typeface in as much detail as possible. Describe the influences on this typeface's design. Describe the era in which this typeface style is based. Give examples of where such a typeface might be used. Come up with some possible names for this typeface and write short ad copy about it.

    This typeface appears to be a bold, slab serif font with a strong, impactful presence. Here is a detailed description and analysis of its characteristics:

    Detailed Description:

    1. Character Structure:

      • Uppercase Letters: The uppercase letters are characterized by their thick, uniform stroke widths and squared-off serifs. The overall form is compact and sturdy, giving the typeface a robust and solid appearance.
      • Lowercase Letters: The lowercase letters maintain the thick strokes and pronounced serifs, ensuring consistency with the uppercase set. The forms are slightly condensed, which contributes to a dense and bold look.
      • Numerals: The numerals are similarly bold and share the same design ethos as the alphabetic characters, ensuring coherence across the typeface.
    2. Serifs:

      • The serifs are slab-like, meaning they are thick and blocky rather than delicate or bracketed. This contributes to the typeface's strong, authoritative feel.
    3. Stroke Contrast:

      • There is minimal contrast between thick and thin strokes, typical of slab serif typefaces. The strokes are mostly uniform, enhancing legibility and impact.

    Influences and Era:

    • Influences: This typeface is influenced by the slab serif designs that emerged in the early 19th century, particularly during the Industrial Revolution. Slab serifs were initially created for advertising and display purposes due to their boldness and readability from a distance.
    • Era: The design style is reminiscent of the Victorian era (1837-1901), a time when bold and decorative typefaces were popular in advertising, posters, and other forms of public display.

    Usage Examples:

    • Advertising: Due to its bold and eye-catching nature, this typeface would be well-suited for headlines, posters, and billboards.
    • Branding: It can be used for brand logos that require a strong, memorable presence.
    • Editorial Design: Magazine covers, particularly those that aim to convey a sense of strength and reliability.
    • Signage: Perfect for use in signage where legibility from a distance is paramount.

    Possible Names and Ad Copy:

    1. Name Ideas:

      • Ironclad
      • Heritage Bold
      • Stalwart Serif
      • Victorian Impact
      • Legacy Slab
    2. Ad Copy:

      • Ironclad: "Forge your message with Ironclad. A typeface that stands the test of time, bringing boldness and clarity to every word."
      • Heritage Bold: "Step into a world where tradition meets strength. Heritage Bold commands attention and delivers your message with unwavering authority."
      • Stalwart Serif: "Unyielding and steadfast, Stalwart Serif is your go-to for impactful headlines and unforgettable designs."
      • Victorian Impact: "Victorian Impact brings the grandeur of the past into the present with a typeface that speaks volumes."
      • Legacy Slab: "Create a legacy with Legacy Slab, a typeface that combines historical elegance with modern-day power."

    This typeface, with its roots in the bold slab serifs of the 19th century, is perfect for creating strong visual statements in a variety of modern contexts.

    As you can see, a lot of the description is nonsense but it recognized some aspects correctly and picked up on the mood. I tried something similar with ChatGPT 4 and it failed completely. The font used in this test is called Montebaldo.

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    John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 3,009
    The ad copy section is funny, but also not worse than a lot of stuff I have read over the years that was presumably produced by humans. Makes me think that AI will replace marketing people long before it replaces type designers.

    ‘Forge your message with Ironclad’ is vintage Madison Avenue. Alas, of course, there is already a typeface called Ironclad ... and a typeface called Heritage, and a typeface called Stalwart, and a typeface called Victorian, and a typeface called Impact, and a typeface called Legacy. Have you tried asking ChatGPT 4o to suggest names that it can 100% guarantee have never previously been used for typefaces?
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    Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,385
    edited May 20
    @John Hudson I've used ChatGPT for help with naming, but it has no way to check if the names it generates are already taken. But if you don't mind manually checking the output, it can be helpful for font naming.

    For example, I had it generate a list of obsolete electronic components to come up with Dekatron and Optoisolator. Montebaldo was chosen from a list of fictitious spaghetti western actors. Subquantum was from generating a list of scientific-sounding terms only used in science fiction books. Gildabeth was created by generating a list of realistic sounding but made up Edwardian era girls' names. Blipzoid was from a list of fictitious 1980s arcade games. I used to use a neural net synthetic words generator and various random word selectors, so using AI this way isn't a big leap for me.

    As for ad copy and keywords, I've been using it since 3.5. Editing and careful checking it required, as it inevitably generates nonsense. But having it build up the basic ad copy structure is very helpful. It's good at sticking to themes…sometimes too good, so I have to reign it in. For example, for a 1960s psychedelic font, it leans heavy on the 1960s slang to the point of it being far too corny. In cases like that, I'll have it generate a more straightforward version and use parts of each.

    It's actually not good at generating keywords; I don't recommend it. If you want to experiment, make sure to instruct it not to generate the words in alphabetical order. Otherwise, you end up with too many x, y, and z words since it's not good at planning ahead.
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    Perhaps the time will come when designers will feel obliged to boast of their work being created entirely by AI, when in fact they produce it by traditional means: sweat and acquired judgment. 

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    MrEchsMrEchs Posts: 31
    I've been hearing the word "alignment" used in the context of AI to refer to efforts made to ensure that AI behaves in the interests of humanity rather than its own. 

    Aligning with the interest of type designers is another question. Trying to enforce that through licensing might be a mostly symbolic act, but even symbolic acts can be significant. 

    Going forward, Type Network agreements with our foundry partners will forbid TN from knowingly allowing their fonts to be used in training AI. We've added a corresponding prohibition to our end-user and enterprise license agreements. 

    One worrisome aspect of a monoculture is the potential for data to be appropriated en masse and used in ways that aren't aligned with the interests of the creators. Big Tech is being subject to a lot of scrutiny about this lately, though perhaps not nearly enough. 

    The type industry of course has a mono culture of our own. Type Network expects continued scrutiny to ensure that our interests are aligned with our partners. I hope you'll all ask your distributors to make it clear where they stand on the subject. 
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    John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 3,009
    We've added a corresponding prohibition to our end-user and enterprise license agreements.

    Would you be willing to share the wording you used for this? I am planning to make the same prohibition in our standard license, and think it would be helpful to both foundries and users if the terminology used were consistent.
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    MrEchsMrEchs Posts: 31
    Sure, with the reminder that these words are more important for signaling intent than any legal effect. 

    The update to the EULA consists of just these words:

    > You may not train any AI or machine learning algorithm using the Font Software.

    The Enterprise agreement reads:

    nor does it permit Customer to programmatically process, examine, upload, or submit the Font Software for purposes of training artificial intelligence or machine learning technologies.

    Our foundry agreement is more complicated. There we make a distinction about the use of training AI/machine learning for the purpose of creating fonts.

    That distinction is relevant because one might also envision AI that is trained to help users search for fonts, or make typographical suggestions, etc.

    That's not in the customer licensing, not because we don't want clients to do something like that, but because we do want them to ask. That way we have the opportunity to handle those on a case-by-base basis.

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    The ad copy section is funny, but also not worse than a lot of stuff I have read over the years that was presumably produced by humans. Makes me think that AI will replace marketing people long before it replaces type designers.
    I think the problem is sooner that type designers write their own copy, and most of us aren't very good writers. Truly good writing (be it copy or novels) is just as far from being replaced by machine learning as fonts. It can pump out endless amounts of slop, but nothing I'd proudly put my name under.
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    John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 254
    There’s nothing new about Garbage In / Garbage Out. Before AI was automating it, actual humans used to be paid to design throwaway junk mail, write throwaway ad copy, produce throwaway action and horror movies, and draw throwaway sans serif fonts. There’s something almost comforting in such careers disappearing.

    As long as the AI training corpus remains the worst of human output, the AI output will continue to resemble it.
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    @John Butler While I don't think that automation taking away jobs can ever be a good thing within a system which only provides basic needs in return for labor, I do agree that mediocrity predates AI.
    As long as the AI training corpus remains the worst of human output, the AI output will continue to resemble it.
    I disagree, an AI trained only on the very best writers will still not provide the profound insights of its stomach contents. Averageness is its only product by the nature of the technology.
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    John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 254
    To be clear: I’m not convinced training AI on only the best will produce anything equal to the best. I’ve seen nothing that proves that, and I was not arguing that.

    I was more observing that we’ve already made the mistake of training it on the worst.
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    PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 783
    edited May 21
    (GPT v3.5) Give me a list of the ingredients of the Garamond font, as in a cooking recipe:
    • A pinch of 16th-century French typography tradition
    • A dash of Renaissance elegance
    • 1 cup of moderate x-height
    • 2 tablespoons of moderate contrast
    • 1 teaspoon of sharp, bracketed serifs
    • 3/4 cup of well-balanced letter proportions
    • 2 eggs of carefully crafted letterforms
    • A pinch of optical corrections for improved legibility
    • 1 tablespoon of meticulous spacing between letters


    1. Mix historical inspiration, x-height flour, contrast sugar, and serif salt in a large typographic bowl until well combined.

    2. Gradually add italic flavoring for an italic variant, if desired.

    3. Adjust weight balance according to taste, ensuring equal distribution of light, regular, and bold weights.

    4. Blend proportional harmony into the mixture until smooth.

    5. Incorporate character anatomy, paying special attention to the curves and angles of each letter.

    6. Add optical adjustments for enhanced legibility and visual appeal.

    7. Carefully space letters using kerning butter, ensuring even spacing throughout the font.

    8. Fold in ligature essence for improved letter connections.

    9. Finish by incorporating OpenType enhancements for additional typographic features.

    10. Let the font rest for a while to allow flavors to meld together.

    11. Serve fresh on your favorite design project or store in a digital pantry for future use.

    Enjoy your freshly baked Garamond font!


    What can I say... I'm loving this shit!!!!! <3<3<3

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    John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 3,009
    Let the font rest for a while to allow flavors to meld together.

    This is actual wisdom.

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    MrEchsMrEchs Posts: 31
    yanone said:
    I think this development is crazy. 

    And no, until someone sells their entire library to OpenAI for training (how long do you think that’ll take, and who will it be?), 

    I am not that worried about AI companies getting into the font business. It is font companies getting into the AI business that concerns me.


    Similarly, I think the important question is not whether you should or shouldn't license fonts for training AI. The question is whether or not you already have.


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    James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,976
    Does the Monotype contract still give them the right to create derivative works that they own?
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