The biggest thing to hit design in the last 10 years probably isn’t QR codes, augmented reality, or the banishment of Creative Suite to the cloud – it’s a new – mostly unknown – application called Prototypo. And how it develops in 2014 could relegate this to either being just another time suck – or it could drastically change how you think of –and use – type.
Currently sliding into beta testing, the Web-based Prototypo enables you to create different typefaces quickly and easily by playing with more than 20 parameters of a typeface and all built-in glyphs simultaneously, simply by sliding various bars on a control panel.
The beta of this open-source software is the first push toward developing a more robust system of creating custom fonts. An ability to tweak kerning and develop alternate glyphs will be just a few enticements awaiting designers on the other side of a (hopefully) successful crowd-funding campaign.
Many traditional type designers and connoisseurs will no doubt dismiss this as a pale imitation of a very rich and complicated process, and they will be right. However, in a world of ever shorter deadlines and smaller font budgets, Prototypo or something very much like it could well become to designers tomorrow what stock photo sites are to them today.