IDEO’s Font Map
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are both terms that are becoming evermore prevalent in the world these days. Designers at IDEO have decided to apply algorithms to the world of fonts! Kevin Ho, a Software Designer and Project Lead at IDEO, wrote, “Designers need an easier way to discover alternative fonts with the same aesthetic — so I decided to see if a machine learning algorithm could sort fonts by visual characteristics, and enabling designers to explore type in a new way”. In the article from Medium, he added, “even if a designer finds the perfect font, it may not fit when applied to a layout or website. Designers need an easier way to discover alternative fonts with the same aesthetic”.
Organizing over 750 fonts in a meaningful and visually-pleasing way can be quite a task, but IDEO’s Font Map does just that. Meant to help “designers understand and see relationships” between fonts, it allows users to either click on a font or search for one, in which shows a list of similar fonts on screen. Additionally, the Font Map makes it easy for users to try out the fonts on the spot, and leads them to their download page on Google Fonts.
While it doesn’t include every font ever, the Font Map does help designers explore and discover similar fonts to their favorites. With the success of a tool such as this, it will be fascinating to see what other algorithms will be created to make intelligent systems like this one. Similarly, Google and Adobe recently teamed up to create a font to unite all languages, which is actually one of the fonts featured in the Font Map! Making it easier to find similar fonts makes finding that perfect font for a project just that much easier.
Check out IDEO’s Font Map here.