Ballfont Project







My advisor John Maeda taught a course in Digital Typography, and this project was my solution to one of the weekly assignments. The assignment centered around creating a vector based font, which is a description of letterforms where each letter is described by a small set of variables instead of a complete description of the bitmap pattern. I decided to use my variables to encode a simple physical simulation of a path of a bouncing ball. An editor was made where roughly 10 variables including initial position, initial speed, and the force of gravity could be changed, which allowed me to define each letter. A separate viewer program allowed me a sentence dynamically rendered in the ball font.

The use of the same physical simulation to define each letter both gives the font an aesthetic coherency and a means of playfully rendering the creation of a sentence on the screen. The movie shows both the editor being used to define a letter and the viewer program drawing a sentence. The slide shows several letters being edited, and one screenshot of the viewer after is has completed its drawing. You can run this applet to make your own characters and sentences.

You can run the ballfont applet yourself to make your own changes to the typeface and try other sentences, as well as view all of my problem set solutions from this class.