ASP projects

Variable Fonts

The digital experiences we interact with everyday are increasingly becoming more responsive: they are now designed to load large amounts of data extremely quickly. Data can be used both to make these experiences more engaging as well as more intuitive for their end-users. With the aim of applying these principles to the textual elements of such experiences, this project focuses on the exploration of the innovative potential of Variable Fonts, a peculiar kind of typeface which contains multiple fonts within it. As opposed to the static instances of traditional typefaces, Variable Fonts can dynamically shift their appearance.

As a pilot project the extended team ideated a «Synaesthetic support to improve the reading experience with a specific application in captions and subtitles. The concept revolves around the idea of giving a physical shape to emotions, in order to see them through a second level of readability: not just the semantic meaning of a sentence, but also their expressed feeling. In doing so, six basic emotions were associated with the axis of a variable font: Happiness, Sadness, Anger, Anxiety, Surprise and Boredom. The base of these six emotions is a neutral font, which could be seen as the “emotion-free” variable.
The project envisions the application of this technology within the subtitling industry. The typeface itself was thus designed to become a core asset for an AI-powered system that translates the emotional qualities of speech into letters shapes. More specificaly, the variable typeface is designed to complement the watching experience of the viewer, who might not have access to sound because of contextual (e.g. noise) or physiological limitations (e.g. deafness or hearing impairments). Based on the qualities of the voice of the actors or speakers, the visual characteristics of the typeface can automatically change.

Principal Academic Tutor:
Alessandro Colizzi, (Politecnico di Milano)

Academic Tutor:
Paolo Tamborrini (Politecnico di Torino)

External Tutor:
Agnese Addone, CAST
Daniele Capo, CAST
Giampiero Dalai, Alpaca
Luciano Perondi, CAST