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Results of an Automated Approach to Optically Scaling Letterforms

To date, optically scaled variants of typefaces have always been created by eye; indeed, there is a widespread feeling that it is impossible to fully automate this process, as there are so many seemingly unrelated guidelines that need to be followed.

In this session, Siva Kalyan will present a unified, automated approach to optically scaling letterforms, which makes use of a simulation of the (average) human eye to verify that a given set of optical adjustments does indeed have the desired effect. Kalyan will apply this approach to a selection of Latin typefaces and compare the results with the advice laid out in Ahrens and Mugikura’s “Size-Specific Adjustments to Type Designs.”

Kalyan finds that while some standard practices (e.g., reducing stroke contrast or thinning strokes at joins) are independently supported by the automated approach, others (e.g., increasing letter widths or reducing ascenders and descenders) are not. Finally, he will apply the automated approach to a selection of Devanagari typefaces, and begin to derive a set of universal, script-independent principles for optically scaling letterforms.


Mr. Siva Kalyan

Researcher University of Queensland