I’d forgotten that I once described typography as “the least sexy design discipline” until I discovered that not only did I say it, but that Sarah Hyndman has recorded it for posterity in her excellent Type Tasting book that we featured on the site yesterday. Anyway I may have to reassess this glib pronouncement after spending some time on Metaflop, “an easy to use web application for modulating your own fonts.” Designed and developed by Swiss designers Marco Müller and Alexis Reigel, it’s a delightfully simple tool that allows you to customise fonts using a series of sliders that alter different characteristics such as cap height, aperture and contrast.
“This enables you to focus on the visual output – adjusting the parameters of the typeface to your own taste,” the developers say. “All the repetitive tasks are automated in the background.” The results can be downloaded as a web font package (for free!) and there’s also a library of pre-made metafonts if you’re lacking inspiration. No doubt Serious Design Journalists will decry the dumbing down of the typographer’s craft, but there’s something super-exciting about democratising type in this way, and no-one’s seriously suggesting that it’s going to make talented type designers obsolete.
“We are aware that it is difficult to produce subtle and refined typographical fonts (in the classical meaning),” Marco and Alexis admit. “Nevertheless we believe there is a undeniable quality in parametric font design and we try to bring it closer to the world of the designers.”