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You are here: Home / Conferences / 2011 Reykjavik / Programme

Spirals in the cloud

a new way of editing fonts
When Thu 15 Sep 1000
Where Track 1
What Presentation
Who Raph Levien

Today, almost all development of new fonts has converged on a fairly standard set of tools, notably graphical applications that manipulate font outlines in terms of cubic or quadratic Beziers. But better tools are possible, and this talk presents an alternative vision for the future of font creation. For one, the primitive element is a spiral, rather than a Bezier curve. Spirals have more natural curvature profiles, so even tricky shapes like “s” become smooth and intuitive. In addition, spirals guarantee smoothness when the control points are varied, so the ages-old dream of fonts parameterized by weight, width, ascender and descender height, and other dimensions, becomes practical for all designers. Second, the font is stored in the cloud for interactive editing, instead of being stored on local disk. We hope this encourages larger scale collaborations, including increasing the international coverage of the open-source fonts in the Google Web Fonts collection.

The editor described in this talk is implemented in HTML5 using Google Web Toolkit, Google App Engine. It’s also open source, so we encourage developers to play with it and contribute towards making it a powerful and useful tool for font designers worldwide.

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