Thursday, July 31, 2008

SPECIAL FEATURE: Interview with FontStruct - Part I

Without further ado, Creative Cooler brings you an exclusive interview with online font creator FontStruct. We'd like to extend our most gracious thanks to Lead Developer Rob Meek
and Type Director Stephen Coles for taking the time to answer our questions.

Watch for the second and final part of our interview tomorrow.

Interview with FontStruct - Part I

Creative Cooler: How did the concept of FontStruct come about?

Rob Meek: I've been creating online typographic toys since 2000, and the idea for something like FontStruct had been on my mind for several years without ever really going anywhere. I couldn't find the time or money to do it. At the same time I was working as a contractor for FontShop and realised one day that they would be the perfect partner. They were looking to develop more innovative online services for the typographic community and saw the potential in FontStruct straight away.

CC: How does FontStruct fit into the Web 2.0 world?

RM: In many ways FontStruct is a typical Web 2.0 application. One thing which I think sets it apart from many other existing, online, creative applications is that it's really about creating artwork from scratch rather than remixing , editing or sharing artworks which are created offline. Fonts with their relatively small file sizes and clear structure really lend themselves to the online editing environment. FontStruct also provides tools which are not really available in an offline application. Many, many designers, professionals and laypeople, have made their first font with FontStruct. It may be limited but it is much simpler than offline font editing programmes, and of course it's free.

CC: Can fonts created in FontStruct be used successfully for commercial purposes or online? Have you seen any examples of this yet?

RM: FontStructions are most certainly being used in commercial work. We only recently added a feature to allow people to upload their artworks to the site so we're looking forward to see what comes of that.

CC: What are your future plans for FontStruct? How are you updating/enhancing the program?

RM: An initial priority has been to ensure the stability and reliability of the service. We certainly didn't expect to have so many registered users in such a short time, so we've had to to do work to make sure the system can reliably support this high level of use. There are many, many ideas being discussed by the FontStruct team, including suggestions from the user community. At the moment we are working on improvements to the community aspects of the website including homepages for users which will allow users to promote themselves a little more directly if they wish. The highest priority enhancement for the FontStructor editing program is to add some support for control over letter spacing (horizontal metrics). We will also be improving the font generating module, to ensure the highest possible quality for the downloaded fonts.

Stephen Coles: We also just launched a revision of the Gallery section which makes it easier to see recently added FontStructions with the addition of a "What's New" tab.

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