Does this hybrid glyph option looks cool or is in any form useful?

Some key aspects:

  1. Glyphs can be partitioned into any number of segments

  2. There is no convert to outline. Text remains live and editable

  3. User can control the thickness of the bold and slant angle of the italics… something like variable fonts

Hi Everyone,

We wanted to know if there is any usefulness to generate custom fonts whose glyphs are a combination of bold and italic typeface. We call these glyphs “Hybrid Glyphs”. So, to say, each glyph is segmented into regions and each region may have a different typeface replicated .

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In terms of workflow, the user selects the font, say regular, and defines the segment marks in terms of how low it is from the font ascender line. Let say he marks two points at 20% and 50% above from the fonts descender (total font height=ascender-descender). This will generate three segments. For each segment he then may choose a different typeface to be replicated. For example, he may choose Bold-Italic-Bold. This will even be possible if the designer does not have the bold and italic typefaces of the font. In such cases, it will replicate a false bold in the first segment, a false italic in the middle segment and a false bold in the third segment. In case the user has the required typefaces of the font family, then that portion of the glyph will be taken from the corresponding font. The user may choose any typeface like semi-bold, semi-italic, condensed etc

We primarily want to know…

  1. Will this “feature” be useful to designers?
  2. How often will you use this capability?
  3. Under which scenarios and product will this most likely be useful? (maybe for Logos in AI? and titles in InDesign?)
  4. Do you see any missing aspects to this which can increase its usage?
  5. In light of the latest typography advancements (SVG fonts, variable fonts) how do you place this capability?

1. Will this “feature” be useful to designers?

It depends on the designer, but for me it would not be useful. The end result is gimmicky, and there just aren’t that many instances when that’s desirable. Some people who, maybe, aren’t professional designers but who might put together company newsletters and flyers might find this kind of thing interesting.

2. How often will you use this capability?

Likely never. Sorry.

3. Under which scenarios and product will this most likely be useful? (maybe for Logos in AI? and titles in InDesign?)

People who use Adobe’s CC apps tend to be professional designers who, I think, would be less inclined to use this kind of thing. Amateurs, hobbyists and part-timers, who do most of their layout work in MS Word or MS Publisher, I think, might be a better target audience.

4. Do you see any missing aspects to this which can increase its usage?

Sorry, but I just don’t have a personal need for what you’re suggesting in any configuration. On those very rare occasions when it might be useful for a headline, I can cut up and recombine letters myself easily enough.

5. In light of the latest typography advancements (SVG fonts, variable fonts) how do you place this capability?

I’d need to consider it more, but my first impression is that I see no particular use in those areas except for, maybe again, amateur web designers who tend to decorate rather than design. I don’t see it being of particular interest to professional type designers either, but there are a whole lot of amateur font builders out there who just might like this kind of thing.

Back in the late '80s and early '90s, there were several popular applications that distorted type in various ways. None of them did what you’re proposing, but there are similarities. Maybe you’re just 20 or 30 years too late.

Sorry. I haven’t been very encouraging.

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As a designer I find this interesting to try out. Most part of my work involves glyph segmentation and generate different variants of it. I think this could be useful in the sense that it gives typographers an endless opportunity to play with glyphs. Now, it is up to the designers how they use, be creative or use it to rip the font apart.

I will give it a try for sure.

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I think as an experimental font, and a student project it’s cool. I think application wise it doesn’t do much for me. I have more freedom and control to manipulate a typeface without this. Especially if I can’t convert to outline.

To a functional designer, I can’t see this being useful based on my workflow. But I can see it being useful to students experimenting and non-designers.

Never. Unless I saw a demo of it being used in real-time to create something spectacular.

You should be telling me if you want me to buy into it.

Depends who you’re targeting its usage to. How will this make me a better or more efficient designer? And how often do I use fonts with varying weight sizes? (almost never to never)

I think it has less to do with capability and more to do with usability. SVG is useful for scaling etc,. Variable characters in a type family is useful if for example, you create a “hand drawn” font and want about 3-5 variations of each letter so that when you output it doesn’t look too mechanical.

I think you have something interesting here, I’d encourage you to continue working on the concept. But it seems more gimmicky than useful at this time. Like when Nintendo came out with DSi.

From my experience, the times I might use something like this would be so few and far between that I’d be more likely to create a graphic as a one-off combination of fonts rather than having a dedicated tool. I’ve mixed portions of glyphs before when promoting a poetry group made up of members from disparate backgrounds and styles.

I don’t see much potential for this in serious logo design. Perhaps title designs for the right theme. I could almost see this being used in a subtle way for television or movie credits where they sometimes try to give an edgy treatment to large amounts of text. Then it would be helpful to create large amounts of editable, mix-and-match verbiage on the fly.

All I see is a printing nightmare.
Especially where it can’t be converted to outline.
Having had experience with glyph “enhancement” done by Quark in the old days, and how that used to crash the print rip and the occasional problem with angled type in InDesign, I’m so not looking forward to widespread use of variable font anything.

Absolutely NO use in logo design where the lockup must consist of outlined vector everything. Looks like I’ll have to increase my set-up charge considerably to take the time to trace these silly things just so the CNC or vinyl plotter can cut them.

Hi,

Thank you everyone for your feedback.

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Adding some few more use-cases and designs which can be accomplished with this capability.

Looking for more feedback.

Thanks,
Rohit

Personally, I’d say it’s every designer’s responsibility to avoid mangling type in these ways. Surely a tool like this would garner no interest whatsoever from me.

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And it can’t be outlined?
Emphatically, NO.

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Really?

I can’t imagine it ever even being a consideration,* let alone the majority of a designer’s work. I’m reminded of the many forum posts I’ve seen in which sensitive graphic designers are distressed if not furious when a client hands their work over to another designer to alter it (read: ruin it). Can you imagine being a type designer and seeing the results of your meticulous work tossed into a sausage grinder like this? Such a dishonor to fine font design, not to mention a furtherance of the already rampant degradation of language and the printed word.

*I do realize there are cases in which an “effect” is appropriate, perhaps even one that segments some type, but IMO such cases should remain the exception, and be handled very carefully with an artistic approach. In essence, “building a machine” for this is a misguided endeavor.

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@PrintDriver
We can convert text to outlines. All text attributes like character size, color, scaling work as usual. What i meant was, that to achieve this effect the text is not rasterized or converted to graphic element.

This capability can also be clubbed with variable fonts which obviously opens a door for type designers to experiment and play with fonts.

@HotButton I agree with you .
With this capability, designers will have an easy and structured way to morph glyps.

Let me know you view points too… @Yossarian @Sparrow @Just-B

So, I’m starting to see utility. But to @PrintDrivers point, if it can’t be outlined than, it has little value. Not just in the perspective of printing, because outlining is also useful for digital applications.

I could imagine using this in After Effects. But I would like to convert to outline to have it as a shape layer. I think you may have more success marketing it as an Ae plugin.

I can imagine motion designers may find that useful. Especially if they can manipulate that values in keyframes to animate the text manipulation. For example setting a keyframe segment as bold 12% and 12 degrees, then a second keyframe segment at 24% and 12 degrees, etc.,

Keep working on it, I think you may have something here. Try working on a way to convert to outline.

I’m pretty sure you don’t.

@Sparrow Just to mention the current implementation will act just like any other glyph . It can be outlined too. Every type feature or capability is supported with it.

So, I think you miscommunicated the whole convert to outline thing. You made it sound like it wasn’t a possibility.

I think that for experimental type this may be a fun tool to use once in a while. To HotButtons point, there is a time and place for text manipulation in communication–which is the exception. I think the issue is (unless you’re getting feedback form other places also) that you’re asking a group of people who typically work in a professional setting, where manipulation to that degree is either the exception or not accepted.

In my downtime, I’d play around with this tool, but I would probably not use it in a professional application, and I think that’s the type of feedback you’ll get here. If you were to post this to student forum, they would probably eat this up, because they’re in an environment were they experiment–taking apart and put back together [things] with little to no consequence. That’s partially the benefit of school.

Is this, or will this be open source? When will you start to actually have people playa around with this, so they can get a sense of what it’s really about?

I’ve been reading this thread on and off over the last few days. It sounds as if your’e trying to sell us on it’s uses, but the reality (as most have pointed out) is that for experienced designers it’s just not going to be beneficial. Could there be a small niche, maybe, but I can’t envision it.

I do however, as others have said, see that it could be used by hobbyists, or people doing more “Word art”, etc. But nor professional designers.

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I really like this…

@CraigB Hi Craig. Glad to hear your valuable feedback.

This is part of an experimental work I am involved in and wanted to know if this is something in any form be useful for typographers like you and many others in the industry.

Also I have created a small demo video to showcase a glimpse of how this is implemented in InDesign CC. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/aDGYcCs3wfg

I can honestly say, I would never use it. That’s just my 2 cents. While I appreciate the effort and time put into it, it’s just not something I would personally use.

I think it could be useful. I could use something like this from a creative ideation perspective. Especially for a project that could benefit with a custom stylized piece of text… Given there is the ability to select the number of segments, the style of typeface, etc. and have a big randomize button that generates results based on the parameters.

But I’d say this concept is better suited on a free website that is driven by ads vs. a software plugin that people would pay for.

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