Avería: an "average" font


45 Responses to “Avería: an "average" font”

  1. Mark Dow says:

    This will displease every fontographer. I like it.

    • suburbanhick says:

      Fontographer? As in the software?
      I think perhaps you mean ‘type designer’ or even ‘typographer’.
      In my 30 years as a graphic designer, I had never heard the term ‘fontographer’ until today.
      And this font doesn’t displease me. It’s just not really that interesting a result, although the idea behind it is pretty cool. It looks a lot like other ‘distressed’ fonts that are meant to reproduce the look of damaged lead type.

      • Mark Dow says:

        I only intended to troll fontographers.

      • snowmentality says:

         Presumably because the wear process for lead type is essentially the physical analogue of the “averaging” process undertaken here. That’s actually a kind of neat result, and makes the meaning of the Spanish word even more appropriate.

        • suburbanhick says:

          Kinda. This font has averaged a jillion different faces – presumably including italic, bold and regular – and looks correspondingly amorphous or “blobby”. Whereas worn lead type (which I had the pleasure to use to set an entire book years ago) is nowhere near as ‘mushy’-looking. It just looks like itself, but it has cool little nicks out of stems, funny bent serifs and things like that which give it a personality that perfect, computer-generated fonts will never reproduce – the human touch, in fact.
          Hand-composed text, skillfully executed by a trained, experienced typesetter, is truly a joy to read. A dying art these days, I’m afraid – although I hear you can still pick up small letterpresses with a couple of sets of fonts on eBay and the like – if you could transport them!

          • Gekko_Gecko says:

            oh I love it how you use the word never, but unfortunately, I dont think that word means what you think it means.

            With enough time and effort, it is quite feasible to create a computer simulation that can simulate real-world wear on a mechanical object, and produce those “human touches” to a point where you cannot tell the difference. It would be extremely complex, time consuming and expensive to do, but shows that you just cannot throw around that ‘never’ word and not expect to be wrong.

          • suburbanhick says:

            @ gekko

            Yes, it theoretically could be possible to create similar wear patterns by some analytical jiggery-pokery. But if it’s so complex, time-consuming and expensive that no-one would bother (because it’s just easier to tumble, etch or otherwise distress something), isn’t that essentially the same as never – I mean, to all intents and purposes?

      • Frode Helland says:

        Type designer is a designer of typefaces. Typographer is not. There is a clear difference there!

        • suburbanhick says:

          Yes – that’s why I said “or even”. As in, use of that term would be a stretch, but at least is more correct than ‘fontographer’. (!)

    • freshacconci says:

      I can’t help but like suberbanhick. He’s just so damn serious about typography and as someone who was trained as a graphic designer but never really worked as one, I know the world of graphic design needs more people who are passionate and totally serious about type because most graphic designers know squat about it.

      • suburbanhick says:

        Thx for the shout out! ;-)

        Seriously, though: I was thinking further about this last night; and gekko is right, of course – in a strictly literal/interpretive way.

        But it set me to thinking: can you imagine the computational horsepower it would take to actually model/produce even just one full case of a font. That’s one of those cool lead font drawers you see photos of: usually a complete set of one face including italics & bold, plus all the wingdings and numerals, lines, etc. That’s all upper and lower case too, of course. All in multiple point sizes – usually from 8pt up to about 60pt. And many copies of each individual letter too.

        That’s a s***load of individual pieces of type.

        And every individual piece has its own unique complement of dings, nicks, scratches, pits, dents and other blemishes caused by handling and usage, which is constantly being updated in real time.

        You’d need to:

        Have a finite amount of actual individual letter forms, periodically refreshable with a few new ones – which only seems fair, seeing as printers would periodically get new type to replace worn/damaged letters.
        Do a ‘separate character’ count (that’s counting how many times every character gets used) for every thing you set in that face, and average that out with the finite number of letterforms you have.

        Make it real time updatable, changing over time with the age/usage of the font.

        ….and thats just getting started with the variables.

        I suppose you could theoretically model that, but man – it’d be like computing the human genome.

        Time and money indeed, but it would be cool as hell!

      • Mark Dow says:

        Me too, for the same reasons. I have similar passions that aren’t nearly as practical or useful.

        Now I am compelled to render type with dynamically changing, procedurally generated flaws. I expect I’ll need to tolerate some flak for practicing fontography.

  2. Marktech says:

    Honorificabilitudinitas I can take or leave, but any font offering ribald pulchritude is fine by me.

  3. schr0559 says:

    I want to open a thoroughly average restaurant, just to use this font on the menu.

  4. zachstronaut says:

    OOF! What’s with the jaggies?

  5. salsaman says:

    Very cool!  The fully aliased edges in that graphic hurt my brain, did the transparent png from the site not work in the BB layout? Maybe jpeg works better:

  6. warpinsf says:

    For when you want that copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy look in today’s digital workflows.

  7. Sekino says:

    It’s interesting, but does it mean it has both Comic Sans and Papyrus somewhere in there? *shudder*

  8. bardfinn says:

    I resembles worn lead type so beautifully. I want to make this my default font on everything.

  9. bardfinn says:

    Ooo, I just noticed that the italicised and unitalicised “a” glyphs are two different basic forms. *UNF*

  10. semiotix says:

    Awesome! I hate it. 

  11. joe blough says:

    was the text in the example written by frank chu???

  12. Samuel Slaton says:

    I love it!

  13. niro5 says:

    Yclept!!!  One of my favorite words! 

    adj having the name of; called:  http://www.thefreedictionary.com/yclept

  14. George Michaelson says:

    This looks pretty much like what a worn serif font goes to, when the type metal wears down.

    Which, in context, kind-of makes sense.

  15. Dan Morrison says:

    Looks entirely like a ReCaptcha to me. Which would make it the perfect “control group” font for building Captchas. Nice.

  16. Looks like he forgot to average in Windings. :-(

  17. Binary Slim says:

    Bravo! Beautiful work.

  18. jeligula says:

    Hmmm.  I like the type, but mono-spacing is not exactly what you would call average.  I don’t think I would like to read a volume set in it.

    • guanto says:

      It’s not monospaced. It’s proportional, with the kerning being an average (who’d have thought?) of all the fonts that provide kerning data according to the creator.

    • peterkvt80 says:

      I put Avería into my latest newsletter and it looked quite pleasant. A bit like printing on cheap paper where the ink has spread a little. A soft and friendly font. My only fear is that these qualities make it the serif version of Comic Sans but for now I might publish the newsletter with Avería Serif and see if anyone notices.
      This doesn’t apply to Avería Sans which looks quite dreadful.

  19. scav says:

    I find it pleasing to the eye, kind of how “averaged” faces tend to look attractive.

  20. HahTse says:

    I think it’s a cool idea, but it would be really annoying to read a whole text set in it.

  21. jmco says:

    Nothing new. Type designers have been messing around with this since the 1980s (if not earlier – 1580s?). The question for this one is: What typefaces were used? Almost always, they are horrible choices based on some unknown personal picks instead of some more important factors like if they are popular or not. What used for, etc.
    But unlike this one, type designers only do it to prove a point about the essential visual elements that make a letter form most readable. Then they make actual typefaces from that research!
    I’d like to see this done but with the negative space between letters. The negative space is *more* critical than the letter in reading. So, can examining negative space averages make a better letterform for design? Unlike with a typeface, there many more negative spaces to average! A challenging computing problem that should only be done with an expert type designer to guide which typefaces to compare.

  22. OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

    “Avería is an incredibly beautiful word regardless of its meaning”
    Speaking of euphonious words regardless of their meaning, it’s vaguely fitting that the alleged most beautiful word in the Spanish language, “Almorrana”, means “Hemorrhoid”.

  23. moonmoth says:

    Looks quite good with some juicy words…

  24. Petzl says:

    We’ve got Helvetica, Papyrus, and Comic Sans. Do we really need any more?

  25. Kim Matthews says:

    Should I just give up on correcting people who don’t know the different between a typeface and a font? If I hear or see, “I don’t like the font” one more time, I’m going to cry.

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