As I mentioned in a recent direct mail update - There has been a lot of debate lately about the pros and cons of parametric font editors... (these are toolsthat allow you to quickly edit and create fonts). You can preview some of the tools creating a stir here, here and here (Similar features were just demoed in new versions of Glyphs & FontLab also). I can see why some of the type design community have concerns about how tools like this are used in industry, but on the whole I think any tool that enable designers to have greater control and customization of letterforms across a system is a step in the right direction for our creative community!
I first discovered Prototypo via kickstarter in 2014 - I was really excited about the software's potential and backed the project. Prototypo sets out to allow you to create your own font by customising archetypal letter skeletons with just a few clicks (no drawing skills required)! Giving anyone with access to the internet the possibility to create personalized fully functional fonts... how cool is that?!
Creators Yannick Mathey and Louis-Rémi Babé started working on the protoypo platform in 2013 (I am a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to coding and so I dont fully understand the complexities of how the software works - but I do believe this platform is a game changer and was the first of its kind). Their successful fundraising on kickstarter brought them three times the financial support they expected and allowed them to establish a loyal and excited following in the graphic and type communities.
“We’ve built Prototypo because we were frustrated by the difficulty of finding original fonts perfectly fitting our specific needs, and the months it takes to draw custom ones” said the art director and cofounder Yannick Mathey. Prototypo offers a new approach to typography that integrates historical, mathematical, visual rules of this discipline and automates repetitive tasks to let users focus on overall design. The user can modify the shape and proportion of each letter in the Latin alphabet by playing around with more than 20 sliders. This innovative approach to type design brings users the opportunity to get stronger visual identity with original fonts or to spend a lot of time on traditional drawing softwares.
After backing protypo via crowd funding I was given access to some early development versions of the software and have been following the build with enthusiasm and curiosity! So was thrilled to see this month - after a year of Research & Development - Prototypo is now publicly available with a launch price of $8 per month and it comes with 2 parametrics typefaces designed by Jean-Baptiste Levée's foundry Production Type! (This launch offer is valid until the 27th of November).
I really think parametric options like Prototypo are a fantastic was to get started with your own type design and customisation. Tools like this allow you to make global changes across a type system ensuring the glyphs have common and cohesive characteristics. So i encourage you to check out this innovative tool for yourself and have a go at creating your first font.