TYPO Labs 2018 – This was day one

How far can we go? Day one of TYPO Labs 2018 has already proved: Pretty far! Here are the day’s highlights.

TYPO Labs 2018

With 380 attendees, summer-like temperatures and a former church transformed into the heart of Font Technology and Engineering, nothing could go wrong. Of course the focal point of the day was Variable Fonts.


Giving form to Variable Fonts – Gerry Leonidas

How can Variable Fonts improve work? In what way should this new technology be adopted in routines? And how can we secure training for a new generation of users? We were given a reality check on these questions in the opening keynote speech from Gerry Leonidas, researcher and educator at the University of Reading, UK and president of ATypI.

Gerry pointed out that as for many earlier technological innovations in typography, the prize of a break through lies in the intersection of business and perception. Neither revenue driven perspectives nor the urge to experiment in the studio can push through new innovations in Variable Fonts alone. Gerry’s advice: “Go around, look at typography and try to understand what are the demands of the communities who use type. It will be a better business plan than guessing what people want.”


Constrained. Unconstrained. Variable. – John Hudson

John Hudson, Type Designer and Co-founder of Tiro Typeworks Ltd., presented three iterations of a single, complex script typeface adapted to three different circumstances, presenting the unique challenges of each design.

In his talk he underlined that the history of type is the history of adaption of technological circumstances. So, does history repeat itself here? No! Almost echoing the Bauhaus philosophy that “form follows function”, he stated that the design follows many layers of technological change. And when those circumstances are changing rapidly, a single typeface design may need to adapt in several new ways within a short period of time.


Variable Fonts: Beyond Production – Marianna Paszkowska & Bob Talyor

A self-confessed geek, Marianna Paszkowska is a type designer, calligraphy enthusiast and bookworm. With a keen and open mind she showed us, together with Bob Taylor, Director of Font Technologies at Monotype, what the connection of Variable Fonts and AR/VR is. “Variable Fonts will be great for prototyping text design in AR and VR” states Marianna in their talk.

The two also announced variableFont.js – an open source JavaScript library. Bob Taylor summarized: “Variable Font is a single entity that allows programmatic control in digital environments”. Therefore, we are excited about what comes next!

Photos: Norman Posselt

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