Lecture: Parametric fonts with METAFONT and Metaflop

Parametric fonts with METAFONT and Metaflop by Marco Müller, Alexis Reigel, Linus Romer

Inspiration for the application of algorithms is reaching into the field of graphic design. Metaflop is an easy to use open source web application for modulating your own fonts.


«Font design is in fact lots of fun, especially when you make mistakes.» «Digital Typography», Donald E. Knuth, p.13 

We revisit a parametric font format developed in the late 70s by Donald E. Knuth, which is still in use today and is called METAFONT. Nowadays it is mostly used in combination with the typesetting system TeX. Characters in METAFONT can be built up using pen strokes defined by geometric equations, enabling several parameters to be varied continuously.



To conclude, we provide a discussion on parametric type design in the light of today’s web-centric technologies and present the open source web application Metaflop that is enabling users to modify METAFONT parameters and export the results to current type formats on the fly.

The lecture is taking place on 02.12.2014 at 17:00 at the ETHZ CAAD (Prof. Ludger Hovestadt), Building HPZ / Floor F, John-von-Neumann-Weg 9, 8093 Zurich