The typographic twitterverse is aflutter today. The subject? Project Faces, an iPad app by Adobe that allows users to customize the skeleton of a typeface and watch it magically change from flat to fabulous in a matter of seconds. Well, not exactly. At least, that’s not the consensus on Twitter. The application itself, demoed at Adobe Max last week, is perhaps less interesting than the ensuing discussions. Here are a few collected tweets worth sharing.
Note that this IS NOT how to design a typeface. It is only how to manipulate and/or torture a generic sans typeface. https://t.co/EHvNC4cqeY
— Tiffany Wardle (@typegirl) October 12, 2015
@dr_shelley @typegirl just spent a whole like seven minutes looking for this, but, relevant https://t.co/ljfijp9iXn
— Victoria Rushton (@victoriaalissia) October 12, 2015
@dr_shelley @alessio_joseph @typegirl What’s the worst case scenario here? People become interested in typography? Isn’t that the point?
— Corey Holms (@coreyholms) October 13, 2015
.@khoi Tools are not ideas, and tools without an application are not even tools.
— Hoefler&Co. (@HoeflerCo) October 13, 2015
Parametric type (e.g. Metafont, Project Faces) ≠ variable type (Multiple Master, Superpolator). Both interesting, the latter more useful.
— Nick Sherman (@NickSherman) October 13, 2015
So, what do you think? On a sliding scale (haha!), is Project Faces just a fun application for novice play or an insult to the process and craft of type design? Feel free to comment below.
My initial tweet was a bit uninformed. This is what I get for having an instant (bad) reaction to the video found via Khoi’s initial tweet (https://twitter.com/khoi/status/653691824188604416). The application can only create from pre-installed skeletons. It cannot be used AFAIK to manipulate other typefaces.
The problem with this is that it depends upon where you sit to know how you will see this. I can understand that for those who do not understand typeface design (and the task that it truly is) that this would seem like a sort of godsend. And for some typeface designers I could also understand that it is an insult to their hard work and determination.
I don’t think type designers should be threatened by this. It is more an app and less a real tool. And the clients that would throw this in a type designer’s face and say “but look I can do it all here”, well those aren’t the clients you want anyway. Am I right?
Agreed. I think, ultimately, the twitter discussion(s) sparked a host of interesting questions: to what degree must a tool be functional rather than playful? Does a playful tool succeed if it helps educate the general public on type design? What are some existing / previous / current efforts in parametric type design and how does this overlap / differ? Why an iPad app instead of a web application?
:tears of joy and laughter: