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You are here: Home / Conferences / Montréal 2017 / Programme

The alluring trap of font editors in typeface design

When Fri 15 Sep 1000
Where UQAM, Cœur des sciences
Who Tom Grace

Font editors have evolved greatly into powerful tools that provide many advantages in preparing typefaces and font software. Their alluring features related to automation present the possibility of an all-digital workflow to an audience wider than professional typeface designers. Yet font editors, with their roots in precision drafting and standardization, replace representations of form as stroke with representations of form as outline segments, such as Bézier curves. This switch in paradigm alters our focus and approach to construction, and influences the way we create and think about letterforms. For designers, and in particular the student or generalist lacking experience with creating form through stroke-based tools, the point-wise relationship of outline segments presents a potential trap in the creative process, constraining design choices to the subset of options allowed by the font editor.

Retaining greater control over the final design of typefaces involves addressing this influence as well as establishing a clear relationship of the stroke in form—either as essential or irrelevant—in creating digital letterforms. For conserving the stroke in digital typeface design, experience in practicing form with proper drawing tools, outside the capacity of current font editors, is crucial.

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