A fantastic software program, available during the mid nineties, and brought to the market by Ares Software Corporation. It allowed to mix and match and extend and blend and parametrically shake fonts. Its auto-hinting features were unequaled. The program is still around in some archives, but here is a local download of Font Chameleon 1.5 (1994-1995).
Laurence Penney's take: FontChameleon (created by the same team that brought us FontMonger and Letraset FontStudio) was an extremely powerful font manipulation program. Its power resulted from taking direct control of outline editing away from the user. Using a new way of representing fonts, where each character was defined as a set of "difference descriptors" from a generic outline, Ares created close approximations of 150 well-known fonts. These all shipped with Version 1.0 - which cost around $300. Using on-screen slider controls, you could adjust the weight, width, x-height, slant and tracking of these fonts, as well as blending one font into another! In general, all characters of all fonts were defined in terms of repositionings of the same set of control points (though letters such as 'a' and 'g' had more than one point-set for obvious reasons). Exploiting stylistic consistency within a font, these repositionings could be parametrized so that each font was expressible as a 2K parameter set - compared with 40K to 60K for standard font formats. So this new power could save 95% of your fonts' disk space too. A simple use of FontChameleon's blend feature would be to interpolate between Helvetica Regular and Helvetica Bold. With my second try on the program, I tried a more crazy use: interpolating between Garamond and Futura. Wow! All the grunge fonts you'll ever need, and then some! (Ernie Brock, one of its developers, told me how ideal TrueType was for much of the blending. You could use its interpolated on-curve points to vary a corner from sharp to curved: just bring two consecutive off-curve points together, and... we have a corner point.) Now that Ares is owned by Adobe, and bearing in mind the potential personality clash with multiple masters, FontChameleon (along with all of Ares' other font products) has been discontinued.
Font Chameleon video
FontChameleon 1.5 Professional was released in 1994 with 220 preset "flexible" fonts, including italics. This release was a massive expansion of available base fonts which covered most classic serif and sans serif font families from Berkeley Old Style to Ares Sans 46, which was a synthetic reincarnation of Frutiger. In 1994 it was advertised for $149.95. According to Nicholas Fabian, These flexible fonts, called font descriptors average only around 4K of space. Every time a new font is needed in an application, a fully functional TrueType or Postscript Type 1 font can be generated in a matter of seconds. When a font is created in FontChameleon, it is a fully-hinted font with quality second to none. ontChameleon fonts have unparalleled flexibility. Design parameters of a font are changed using slider bars which universally modify all the characters in any of the fonts in the font descriptor list. Slider bars control the weight, length of ascenders, depth of descenders, width (condense/extend amount), cap height, number height, x-height, slant and tracking. Even two different fonts can be blended together to create a new font, which leads to potentially millions of useful font variations.
The Font Chameleon flexible fonts:
- Ares Serif 1 (Similar to Aachen Bold): Aachen Bold.
- Ares Serif 5 (Similar to Americana): Americana, Americana Bold and Americana Extra Bold.
- Ares Sans 7 (Similar to Antique Olive): Antique Olive Condensed Bold, Antique Olive Light, Antique Olive Roman, Antique Olive Italic, Antique Olive Bold, Antique Olive Black, Antique Olive Compact, Antique Olive Nord and Antique Olive Nord Italic.
- Ares Sans 8 (Similar to Avant Garde): Avant Garde Extra Light, Avant Garde Extra Light Oblique, Avant Garde Book, Avant Garde Book Oblique, Avant Garde Medium, Avant Garde Medium Oblique, Avant Garde Demi, Avant Garde Demi Oblique, Avant Garde Bold and Avant Garde Bold Oblique.
- Ares Serif 10 (Similar to Bauer Bodoni): Bauer Bodoni Roman and Bauer Bodoni Black.
- Ares Serif 11 (Similar to Bembo): Bembo and Bembo Extra Bold.
- Ares Serif 13 (Similar to Berkeley Old Style): Berkeley Old Style Book, Berkeley Old Style Book Italic, Berkeley Old Style Black and Berkeley Old Style Black Italic.
- Ares Serif 16 (Similar to Bookman): Bookman Light, Bookman Light Italic, Bookman Medium, Bookman Medium Italic, Bookman Demi, Bookman Demi Italic, Bookman Bold and Bookman Bold Italic.
- Bodoni: Bodoni, Bodoni Bold and Bodoni Poster.
- Caslon: Caslon Book and Caslon Black.
- Ares Serif 26 (Similar to Cheltenham): Cheltenham Condensed Light, Cheltenham Condensed Ultra, Cheltenham Condensed Book, Cheltenham Condensed Bold, Cheltenham Light, Cheltenham Book, Cheltenham Bold and Cheltenham Ultra.
- Ares Serif 27 (Similar to City): City Light, City Italic, City Bold, City Bold Italic.
- Century: Century Condensed Light, Century Condensed Book, Century Condensed Book Italic, Century Condensed Bold, Century Condensed Bold Italic, Century Light, Century Book, Century Book Italic, Century Bold, Century Bold Italic, Century Ultra, Century Condensed Ultra.
- Century Old Style: Century Old Style and Century Old Style Bold.
- Courier: Courier, Courier Oblique, Courier Bold and Courier Bold Oblique.
- Cooper Black: Cooper Black.
- Ares Serif 37 (Similar to Cushing): Cushing Book and Cushing Heavy.
- Ares Sans 38 (Similar to Doric Bold): Doric Bold.
- Ares Sans 40 (Similar to Eurostyle): Eurostyle Bold Condensed, Eurostyle Condensed, Eurostyle, Eurostyle Oblique, Eurostyle Bold and Eurostyle Bold Oblique.
- Franklin Gothic: Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed, Franklin Gothic Book, Franklin Gothic Book Oblique, Franklin Gothic Demi, Franklin Gothic Demi Oblique, Franklin Gothic 2 Roman, Franklin Gothic Heavy and Franklin Gothic Heavy Oblique.
- Ares Sans 46 (Similar to Frutiger): Frutiger Light, Frutiger Light Italic, Frutiger, Frutiger Italic, Frutiger Bold, Frutiger Bold Italic, Frutiger Black, Frutiger Black Italic and Frutiger Ultra Black.
- Futura: Futura Condensed Bold, Futura Condensed Bold Oblique, Futura Condensed, Futura Condensed Oblique, Futura Condensed Light, Futura Condensed Light Oblique, Futura Condensed Extra, Bold, Futura Condensed Extra Bold Oblique, Futura Light, Futura Light Oblique, Futura Book, Futura Book Oblique, Futura, Futura Oblique, Futura Heavy, Futura Heavy Oblique, Futura Bold, Futura Bold Oblique, Futura Extra Bold and Futura Extra Bold Oblique.
- Ares Serif 48 (Similar to Galliard): Galliard Roman, Galliard Italic, Galliard Ultra and Galliard Ultra Italic.
- Garamond: Garamond Condensed Bold, Garamond Condensed Book, Garamond Condensed Light, Garamond Condensed Ultra, Garamond Light, Garamond Light Italic, Garamond Book, Garamond Book Italic, Garamond Bold, Garamond Bold Italic, Garamond Ultra and Garamond Ultra Italic.
- Ares Sans 52 (similar to Gill Sans): Gill Sans Condensed, Gill Sans Bold Condensed, Gill Sans Light, Gill Sans, Gill Sans Bold and Gill Sans Extra Bold.
- Ares Serif 53 (Similar to Glypha): Glypha Thin, Glypha Thin Oblique, Glypha Light, Glypha Light Oblique, Glypha, Glypha Oblique, Glypha Bold, Glypha Bold Oblique, Glypha Black and Glypha Black Oblique.
- Gothic 13: Gothic 13.
- Goudy Old Style: Goudy Old Style and Goudy Old Style Extra Bold.
- Ares Sans 57 (similar to Helvetica): Helvetica Ultra Compressed, Helvetica Extra Compressed, Helvetica Compressed, Helvetica Narrow, Helvetica Narrow Oblique, Helvetica Narrow Bold, Helvetica Narrow Bold Oblique, Helvetica, Helvetica Oblique, Helvetica Bold and Helvetica Bold Oblique.
- Ares Sans 60 (Similar to Helvetica Neue): Helvetica Neue Ultra Light, Helvetica Neue Ultra Light Italic, Helvetica Neue Thin, Helvetica Neue Thin Italic, Helvetica Neue Light, Helvetica Neue Light Italic, Helvetica Neue Roman, Helvetica Neue Italic, Helvetica Neue Medium, Helvetica Neue Medium Italic, Helvetica Neue Bold, Helvetica Neue Bold Italic, Helvetica Neue Heavy, Helvetica Neue Heavy Italic, Helvetica Neue Black and Helvetica Neue Black Italic.
- Ares Serif 65 (Similar to Janson): Janson Roman, Janson Bold.
- Ares Sans 63 (Similar to Kabel): Kabel Book, Kabel Medium, Kabel Demi, Kabel Bold and Kabel Ultra.
- Ares Serif 67 (Similar to Leawood): Leawood Book, Leawood Medium, Leawood Bold and Leawood Black.
- Letter Gothic: Letter Gothic, Letter Gothic Slanted, Letter Gothic Bold and Letter Gothic Bold Slanted.
- Ares Serif 69 (Similar to Lubalin Graph: Lubalin Graph Book, Lubalin Graph Book Oblique, Lubalin Graph Demi and Lubalin Graph Demi Oblique.
- Ares Serif 71 (Similar to Melior): Melior, Melior Bold.
- Ares Serif 73 (Similar to Meridien): Meridien, Meridien Bold.
- Ares Serif 75 (Similar to New Baskerville): New Baskerville Roman, New Baskerville Bold.
- News Gothic: News Gothic, News Gothic Oblique, News Gothic Bold and News Gothic Bold Oblique.
- Ares Serif 78 (Similar to New Century Schoolbook): New Century Schoolbook Roman, New Century Schoolbook Bold.
- Ares Serif 85 (Similar to Palatino): Palatino Roman, Palatino Italic, Palatino Bold Italic and Palatino Bold.
- Ares Serif 88 (Similar to Plantin): Plantin Light, Plantin, Plantin Bold.
- Prestige Elite (Similar to Prestige): Prestige Elite, Prestige Elite Slanted, Prestige Elite Bold and Prestige Elite Bold Slanted.
- Ares Serif 92 (Similar to Rockwell): Rockwell Condensed, Rockwell Light, Rockwell Light Italic, Rockwell, Rockwell Italic, Rockwell Extra Bold.
- Ares Serif 94 (Similar to Serifa): Serifa Light, Serifa Light Italic, Serifa, Serifa Italic, Serifa Bold and Serifa Black.
- Ares Sans 95 (Similar to Serif Gothic): Serif Gothic Light, Serif Gothic Bold and Serif Gothic Black.
- Ares Serif 99 (Similar to Stempel Garamond): Stempel Garamond Roman and Stempel Garamond Bold.
- Ares Serif 104 (Similar to Times): Times Roman, Times Italic, Times Bold Italic and Times Bold.
- Ares Serif 106 (Similar to Times New Roman): Times New Roman, Times New Roman Bold.
- Ares Serif 109 (Similar to Trump Mediaeval): Trump Mediaeval Roman, Trump Mediaeval Bold.
- Ares Sans 108 (Similar to Trade Gothic): Trade Gothic Light, Trade Gothic Light Oblique, Trade Gothic Condensed (18), Trade Gothic Condensed (18) Oblique, Trade Gothic Condensed (20) Bold, Trade Gothic Condensed (20) Bold Oblique and Trade Gothic Bold (2) Oblique.
- Ares Sans 110 (Similar to Univers): Univers Condensed Thin (39), Univers Ultra Condensed (59), Univers (55), Univers (55) Oblique, Univers (85) Extra Black, Univers (85) Extra Black Oblique, Univers (53) Extended, Univers (53) Extended Oblique, Univers (93) Extra Black and Univers (93) Extra Black Oblique.
- Walbaum: Walbaum, Walbaum Book, Walbaum Bold, Walbaum Book Medium and Walbaum Book Bold.
Font creation programs ⦿
Eric Gill and his typefaces ⦿