Designing Emerging Technologies

Computing and Typography

Computation & Typography

Fonts as Software

In the 1990's I became aware of a Dutch design group called Letterror. Besides having an amazing name that was fun to say I was intrigued by their work in the software and design of fonts themselves. Up until this point I had never really taken seriously the idea of a font as a piece of software in and of itself and not just a translation of a typeface for use in digital media. Letterror released a generatively co-designed book that playfully looked at the relationship of software and design. I loved it and it inspired my own explorations around software, typography, and fonts.



Generative Co-design

In undergraduate school as I was studying Interaction Design at MCAD where I was fortunate to meet Roman Verostko whose generative work I still admire today. He described his work in an artist's statement that resonated with me.

"With these generators I could explore visual possibilities, make choices, refine forms, and compose a procedure for creating art."

Roman Verostko

When you author software that helps shape the forms you are making you enter a type of co-design with the software. It makes choices and you make choices, and you make choices about the kinds of choices it might make. You are designing the constraints of the system that will generate the form. You might take what was generated and alter it further and feed that output back into the system you have created. But the goal is to have the constraints narrowed to the forms or range of forms that you find acceptable.

In graduate school I worked on a set of software to generate TrueType fonts and vector forms.


Technology & Typography

I also worked in collaboration with a metalsmith to learn a bit about the metals process and to create an analog generative design machine. In this case I cut apart type forms, etched them into a metal ball, created prints, and then made vectors of those forms.


Generating Tyepfaces

This very basic typeface generator s

Cal Arts

Other Cal Arts

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