Monotype Type Trends Series: Flux: Var.

(Above: Dark Side of Typography by Ellias Hanzer.)

While you were sleeping, everything came to life. Books started talking. Pictures in frames began moving and changing. Posters became animated 2-D surfaces. Everything became hyper-kinetic. It wasn’t a scene from a magical-realist novel or the latest installment of Toy Story — but in the blink of an eye, we became digital, and the design and typographic world has been detached from its temporal bounds. 

Introducing Flux: Var. This is the de facto perception of Variable type. Letters that smooth out transitions are great, but what’s next? Where’s the next level? If Variable is going to land, it needs to push further and bring more to the customer experience and, in turn, become a valuable asset for brands, not just a fun novelty.  

Hey Satan Rock by Chris Gautschi.

Variable fonts are slowly but surely coming into the mainstream.

Fonts as we know them have kept pace, admirably, as brands shifted their focus to the digital space. But the demands of modern technology require an equally modern approach to type. Variable fonts will be that path forward for brands looking to grow over the coming years.

Variable fonts are not new. Type designers, sensing this shift and excited about the possibilities technology could provide, have been exploring Variable for years. That experimentation broke through the boundaries and limitations of conventional fonts, both how they look on the screen or page and how they behave as pieces of software.

Problem by Radik Sitdikov.

Variable is ready for its moment. Studios are releasing more and more Variable options, including new designs and Variable versions of classic typefaces, and the time is right for forward-thinking brands and designers to get acquainted with Variable themselves.

Evri’s adaptive logotype, powered by Variable fonts.

Monotype recently pitched a Variable font future to Evri, the new name and brand for Hermes, the UK’s largest dedicated parcel delivery company. Variable allows us to interact with and apply external data points to font data, to manipulate the font style to whatever form suits the design, the context, or even a customer’s preference. Our vision was to create a Variable logo system that adapts from one, to many viable alternative designs. We had lofty ideas.

Evri logo by Monotype.

However, we had to apply some rules to our system, to establish cohesion from chaos. The Monotype Studio design team led by Senior Creative Type Director Phil Garnham, set out to create twenty alternative design variations for each letter in the master logotype. By designing each new glyph with similar metrics, we sought to imply a familiar ‘block’ impression to each logo iteration.

Monotype also recently released welcomed the newest addition to the faithful FF DIN family, FF DIN Variable. Pushing font technology to its limits, FF DIN Variable provides creatives a tool to dial in hyper specific variations which thrive in any design space.

If you’d like to learn more, visit our guide to Variable fonts.

Next month we’ll explore another trend from our report. In the meantime, visit our Trends hub to download the full report or watch the in-depth webinar.

Author: Graphis