We need

Metapolator will turn any existing outline font into a parameterised font system, so you can get the fonts you really want.

Today typography is becoming more and more important for us each to express ourselves. Typography has become an extension of who we are. Our choice of words to express the ideas in our minds is important, and so is the way that our typography expresses the emotions in our hearts.

Billions of people are now online and each person need fonts that are tailor-made for themselves and their businesses.

Metapolator will have a multidimensional design space to explore an almost infinite number of new fonts and font families, starting with only a single master font. Metapolator will combine a powerful parametric system with an intuitive user interface to make type design inherently consistent and much faster.


Type designers need a toolbox to build a single typeface up into a family of styles. Metapolator will provide an initial set of tools for common processes, and it will be fully extendable.

  • - spacing (tighter or looser)
  • - weight (regular to bold or light)
  • - width (normal to narrow or extended)
  • - x-height (increase or decrease, without distortion)


Type designers need tools that slide into their existing workflows. With Fontforge you can load any font and save it in the UFO font format, and convert UFOs into any other format.


The text-based and interchangeable UFO font source format has become an industry standard. Metapolator imports and exports UFOs, releasing a new animal into the ecosystem of UFO tools. Its adjustments are described in CPS, similar to CSS. The calculations are all done in JavaScript. As a web application it will be built with the latest technologies, like Polymer.

A huge family of 'a' glyphs

If you can name it, you can control it.

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The core principle of Metapolator: Typefaces are systems of shapes, and by naming the parts we can control the system.

How is it possible to keep a clear understanding of a parameterised letter shape?

The Metapolator solution is to make copies of the original, and add specific parameter values to each copy. Then, instead of constantly switching on and off parameter values for one single meta-font, we select a pair of fonts and interpolate them, which simply travels inbetween font A and font B. Its just like a cross-fader that mixes 2 turntables.

Interpolation multiplied by Metapolation

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Replication with Metapolator: When we start using one single font, we can extrapolate to a 2nd replica by calculating a skeleton or ductus stroke from the glyph outline. The stroke can reconstruct the original outline exactly, and go on to can create new interpolations, extrapolations and interpretations of the form.

We create new instances from masters. An instance is located between 2 or more masters. Masters can be created from instances, too.

As soon we have more than one master, we can create children and siblings. None of this is limited to Latin alphabets. We expect that Devanagari fonts can be matched with Latin ones by translating parameters from one to another.

From control points to pen strokes

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We believe type design should always be in the hands of the designer. Metapolator is NOT drawing shapes out of nothing.

Control points can be accessed and interpolated in Metapolator, along with composites, anchor points and kerning values.

Additionally, if Metapolator sees that all the points in a contour are in pairs, with a point opposite each point, then you can control this contour as a skeleton stroke. This gives you more control over your bezier control points.


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Metapolator will allows you to use an unlimited number of axes, and link together an unlimited number of masters into complex interpolation design spaces to explore.

Again drawing a connection to the world of music production, consider modular synthesizers, where stacks of modules (or masters, in our case) can be linked in all possible ways.

Metapolator will let you construct your very own Noordzij cubes.

Nudging the outline is bad, nudging the skeleton is awesome

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  • Core Functionality Will Include:
  • - creating masters from instances
  • - duplicating masters
  • - positioning on-curve points
  • - loading unlimited masters and axes
  • - control-point mode for parameterised outlines
  • - pen mode for parameterised strokes
  • - storage of projects
  • - importing UFOs, exporting UFOs plus OTF and TTF
  • Metafont-like Parameters That Will Be Available:
  • - tension, shifting, slanting, serifs, vertical metrics (including x-height
  • - stroke (pen) width, stroke direction, stroke angle
  • - glyph width, glyph spacing, font size
  • Command Line Tool Will Allow:
  • - interpolation, extrapolation of outlines
  • - interpolation of kerning
  • - define unlimited axes
  • - replicate instances from other interpolation tools, 1:1
  • 1

    3rd of April, 2014

    Presentation at Libre Graphics Meeting, Leipzig, Germany

  • 2

    7th of May, 2014

    Seminar at Atelier National Research Typographic, Nancy, France

  • 3

    14th of June, 2014

    Presentation at Tag der Schrift, Zurich, Switzerland

  • Release Date: v1.0.0, A Developer's Version

    Launching a beta version for developers and brave users to test and explore

  • Release Date: v2.0.0, A Designer's Version

    Inviting type designers and typographers around the world to review, use and contribute

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