Ingenious Shazam-Like Device for Typefaces Can Capture and Identify Any Font & Color in the World
Avid designers and creators have a knack for identifying fonts and impressively colors as well! But once in a while, they come across a font face, which they love, but can’t pinpoint. Designer Fiona O’Leary has created a device called the Spector, which accurately determines fonts and colors with a click. Think of the device as Shazam for artists.
The Beyond TYPO font was created for the international design conference TYPO Berlin 2016, as a felt pen typeface, together with a host of OpenType features.
The designers, Steff Stefanidad (Stefanidad, studio adhoc) and Ulrike Rausch (LiebeFonts), developed the display typeface with inspiration from the rich variety of shapes in the world of microbial life forms.
It was initially hand written with a thick felt pen by Steff Hengge. Ulrike Rausch transformed those hand-written drawings into a font with OpenType. Each character has alternate forms. There are many special ligatures and each letter has initial and end shapes, producing biomorphic extensions. Ulrike answered some question about the production process:
What was the most rewarding part of the design process? The most challenging? The most quirky?
Our starting point for the Beyond TYPO font were Steff’s sketches for the letter forms she drew with a felt-tip pen.
We wanted to preserve the hand-written look, so we added plenty of alternative forms. I even programmed an OpenType feature to shuffle the different letter alternates automatically.
The most challenging part was TYPO team’s request to make the font “feel alive”. This also turned out to be the most enjoyable aspect of producing the font: Steff had drawn these cute tiny creatures that gave us the idea of sticking them to the letters. That way it looks like they grow on the words. With the help of OpenType magic, the first and last letters of a sentence grow crazy tentacles, eyes, and other organic forms. Try it out yourselves, it’s fun!
How do you hope designers and non-designers alike will respond to the font?
I hope designers will enjoy this font as much as we enjoyed creating it! It’s a great opportunity to educate designers about the OpenType capabilities (that also exist in other professional typefaces for features like small caps, figure styles, and alternative glyph forms).
Unfortunately most layout software and operating systems hide OpenType options very well—somewhere deep down in their menu structure. It can be a real eye-opener how many neat things a contemporary professional font can do if you know how to apply the right options.
So do check out the tutorial that comes with the fonts. It explains how to easily access all the features that make the Beyond TYPO font special.