In Search Of: Collaborative bitmap design effort

hrant's picture

A long time ago somebody did an interesting experiment with a website where any number of people could go in and draw pixels in a bitmap, and the resultant collaborative rendering (not to mention the journey) was very interesting. I did some searching on Typophile but couldn't find it. Help? Thanks.

David Sudweeks's picture

It's called Fontstruct, from Fontshop.
Also likely of interest to you: http://typophile.com/battle21

Stephen Coles's picture

I think Hrant is talking about Typophile's collaborative typeface project. I forget where it lives.

David Sudweeks's picture

Hm. I've never heard of it.

Jos Buivenga's picture

I don't know the project, but I found this and this. Unfortunately most links lead nowhere. From what I understand it was a project done by Kevan Davis.

ultrasparky's picture

I squandered quite a lot of time at the office playing with that. If I recall, there was even a dead link to it until until fairly recently on the Typophile Projects page. Hopefully there's a backup somewhere.

hrant's picture

Yeah, the Smaller Picture thing was it - thanks.
I'll try contacting Kevan (and will report back).

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

I'll be interested to see it again if you are able to unearth it.

Michel Boyer's picture

I could find this link in the archives.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

That's it all right, Michael!

ebensorkin's picture

I could not pull it out or out of google's cache.

hrant's picture

Michel, thank you.

So Kevan graciously replied, and although
sadly he does not have a working version
of it, he did point me to a useful archive:
http://www.imarlin.com/sandbox/smaller/

The AVG column I find quite highly valuable.

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

I am glad to see it too.

I am not sure why "highly valuable" is how you see it though. Will you explain why you think so?

hrant's picture

It shows what The People believe a given letter should look like.
That's over-simple, but still. For example look at the lc "t",
or the differences between the numerals "6" and "9".

hhp

AGL's picture

"I’ve never heard of it." I did hover a little bit. That makes sense. The contribution is quick and the user will be unable to remember what he/she did three minutes later. I found this and it points straight to it. A bit added.

When do we start? I would go there and place a little blok.

André

ebensorkin's picture

I agree that it's deeply interesting for the reason you say. But "valuable" goes beyond that ( as I am thinking about it anyway ) and suggests that there is information useful to the designer of type. That I am less sure about. I have several reasons for that. The most important of which is that what people think is right and what they in fact will respond to best when it comes down to it are not quite the same thing. They might be related, but you would have to show me that in some kind of testing before I would accept it. Also, people are typographically naive as a group when it comes to creating visual stuff and maybe especially type. ( I have no beef with them as consumers of type ). You could say that it is elitist and undemocratic to toss out the ideas of a group of people but I don't think that stands scrutiny as a practical matter. What I do think is interesting is where people spent the most time in disagreement like about the crossbar on the top of the J. It shows that a part of the population is uneasy with the bar. But in general I think to make very much hay from this you might have to do it again at a larger size. There is also the question of the UI. I found it cumbersome. That had to have an impact as well. Do you disagree?

Si_Daniels's picture

>What I do think is interesting is where people spent the most time in disagreement like about the crossbar on the top of the J

I wonder how much people were influenced by the model letter they were asked to draw?

"Please draw the letter J" set in Verdana may produce different results than say "draw the letter J" set in Myriad.

Cheers, Si

ebensorkin's picture

Good point Si.

I think when people are asked to draw letters they often draw sans serifed ones. I can't recal where I read that though.

And the shape the letter is seemingly "meant" to occupy is identical in each of the letter & number examples. That seems to have made a big impact too. Would everybody have made an M with the name width as N given other prompts?

Michel Boyer's picture

Would everybody have made an M with the name width as N given other prompts?

Or a "x" the same height as a "l".

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