TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Mon Nov 19 22:54:41 EST 2018






Luc Devroye's Type Design Projects

[Cartoon by Ralph Steadman]


Bernard Desruisseaux

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Context in handwriting

On the automatic choice of single characters, pairs and triples in handwriting simulation. Part of the project done with the help of Mike McDougall. [Google] [More]  ⦿

François Belair

François Belair, an ex-graduate student from McGill University in Montreal, has written a driver for a SumaTech Pad that allows one to write on a pad with a magnetic pen, capture the important points of the strokes and make Bézier curves for a PostScript type 3 font (based upon the algorithms of Knuth and Hobby explained in Knuth's The Metafont Book (Addison-Wesley, 1986)). [Google] [More]  ⦿

[Bernard Desruisseaux]

With Bernard Desruisseaux we developed a randomized PostScript type 3 font in 1996 that incorporates various interesting parameter choices. Because of its conceptual closeness with Knuth's Metafont, Bernard's font family is called MetamorFont. This font introduces randomness in every glyph, a nice feature of type 3 fonts not available in truetype or type 1. Bernard finished about three glyphs per week, because each glyph is an intricate program that had to be tested and retested. The font has six major multiple master axes or parameters: the amount of randomness, the stress angle, the contrast ratio, the stroke thickness, the outline mode, and the jumpiness of the glyphs. There are ten minor parameters, for a total of 9132 lines of PostScript code. For each setting of the parameters, the font is fully random: each glyph produced is never repeated! In the end, after a visit to Jacques André's lab at INRIA in Rennes, and lots of hard work, in October 1996, Bernard published one of the best Masters theses in the area of font software ever written. In January 2008, the software, the fonts, and the thesis (entitled Random dynamic fonts) were made available to the public. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Mike McDougall
[Random fonts]

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Random fonts
[Mike McDougall]

Mike McDougall (ex-University of Pennsylvania Ph.D. student) created a random type 3 font called Tekla (1994) as an undergraduate student at McGill University, under the supervision of Luc Devroye. Tekla uses several handwritten samples as parents to create random offspring. Tekla's letters vary every time a character is needed. A type 3 font of unique versatility, Tekla may be used to simulate drunkenness, and, as the sample shows, varying degrees of instability on one page. His font has a "craziness" parameter, by which we could actually extrapolate beyond the convex polyhedron determined by the master fonts. It should prove useful in testing character recognition software.

A companion article entitled Random Fonts for the Simulation of Handwriting has appeared in "Electronic Publishing" in 1995. See also here.

Source code of the font.

Additional URL. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Syed Hyder

Syed Hyder was one of the founders of the School of Computer Science at McGill University. At McGill, Syed, together with Olivier Maquelin and Amar Goudjil developed high-quality nonlinear context-sensitive Arabic fonts. One of the greatest hackers anywhere, Olivier wrote an in-house TrueType to PostScript converter in C in two afternoons. Paola Maleh and Laleh Tajrobekhar helped out with the programming for context-sensitive Arabic glyph placement. Laleh's brother in Iran, one of the leading calligraphers there, provided the team with wonderful Nastalique glyphs.

A few years before his death, Syed tried to convince Microsoft to use his solution for automated Arabic glyph placement in their software, but no deal was struck. The project was then abandoned. Syed Hyder died in Pakistan on Easter Sunday, 2006. [Google] [More]  ⦿


Puerto Rican designer of Cubifonk (2009). [Google] [More]  ⦿