Andrea Herstowski

office hours by appointment

Class Syllabus


old website:

Google Drive

The Variable

Variable fonts is a file that includes an entire font family, allowing for many different variations in style without the need to use a separate file for each.

Variable fonts have been designed to have one or more axis of variation. These axes allow the designer to enter any value within a given range for a particular aspect of the design. Sometimes this is a scale (e.g. weight), and sometimes it is a choice of on or off (e.g. italic). Unlike static fonts, which are available in a few select options, a designer can enter any applicable number on the scale. There are five standardized axes: weight, width, slant, italic, and optical size, and designers can also create custom axes to define other values that are not covered by these options. All variable fonts allow you to define a value for at least one of these axes, but few include them all. *We are only going to experiment with one axis = WEIGHT.

Using variable fonts in graphic design enables designers to make quick changes using a slider, rather than changing to different font files. Most websites use 6-8 variations of a font, each one requiring an HTTP request and a download of around 20kB (or more). Using a variable font reduces this to one HTTP request and a smaller overall download size. This reduces loading times, improving the user experience.


Monday, February 13:

Intro to making a Variable
Practice (a variable font is not a deliverable work on this only if you want!)

Common mistakes to check if yours is not working
There must be the same number of nodes (exactly the same)
First nodes must be the same
First nodes must go in the same direction
Shape order must be the same

Check everything and if you still have issues just ask.

Start Revival Research
Watch Robin Mientjes

Start a serious look for a revival. <- refer to link. 

Start a serious look for a revival. <- refer to link. 

Monday, February 27 present a pdf of what you considered for a revival, your top 3 choices of typefaces to revive, why you picked it and want to revive it, and what you would alter or considerations you will have to make when digitizing, etc.

Watch Considering Revivals with Robin Mientjes

Wednesday, February 15:

Meet in Chalmers we will walk over to the Spencer Research Museum together (it is behind Strong Hall not in the Museum).

Monday February 20 we will work inclass on the Ampersand ! bring tools.

Monday Feb 27
*You have readings/videos/research to do between now and Feb 27 to prepare for the Revival project. Please do not wait. Start now!