wolaka's picture

I am working on my senior thesis project, a typeface that will interpret qualities of voice. What you see here represents a sketch for the

designalchemy's picture

I find the concept interesting. I do not exactly understand how it will actually be used?
Does it require the typographer/designer to change the font
version each time there is a change in voice, etc.or is there
some sort of software/technical interface-ie a software translation from dictation to written word. Please elaborate.

As far as forms- They do not flow together as is. The incision
on certain glyphs look out of place to me. These are marked in orange. What about upper case?

"VOX" is a nice name.


designalchemy's picture

In Emigre Magazine #51, Andreas Lauhoff offers an extract of his MA project created at Central Saint Martins in England. The project illustrates the concept of speech-recognizing letterforms which add oral parameters on the rather static notation of type.
I would recommend purchasing this copy of Emigre. A very interesting project.

wolaka's picture

Ideally, I envision some sort of speech recognition software making the translation, not the typographer. I am more interested right now in the appearance than the programming issues that are involved, however. I plan on presenting it as a Flash movie where you hear different voices reading text and see a simulation of the letterforms appearing (as if they were being typed or recognized on the fly.)

Uppercase is in progress but the semester is closing in on me fast...

I really like the incised letters, perhaps I should just try to make it a more consistent application by introducing it to other letters like the h, n, etc.?

Thanks for the Emigre tip, I'll check that out.

designalchemy's picture

The Emigre article is a must read, so I hope you can still track down an issue. The simulation is done with HAL the computer from Stanley Kubrick's 2001. The rendering (type) is 3D. The work is absolutely stunning. Good luck on the project.

hrant's picture

I like the idea, as well as this first type, but I think the "normal" tone should be... normal! Like a "smooth" version of what you have now.

BTW, you might want to check out my Daam Entity work:


Ole, that Lauhoff thing is probably the single most memorable piece I've ever seen in Emigre.


designalchemy's picture

check out http://www.nofont.com/section_experiments/index.asp

more experiments with voice/type

wolaka's picture

Thanks for the link. I'm posting some of my weekend development toward developing the different voice characteristics. I have discovered that extra-bold letters are lots of fun. :-)

"n" voice grid

aquatoad's picture

Keep an eye on the amount that the curved terminal overshoots the baseline. Right now the bottom 3 and the middle and right in the 2nd row are lifting off the baseline.

Is this a multiple master setup?
If so, definitly name the axes: Fran Drescher and Barry White. (or perhaps James Earl Jones)

Vox is a great name.

hrant's picture

Hey, great stuff with the angularity axis!

But I think weight isn't Pitch, it's Amplitude. Pitch is (inverse) width.

BTW, if you're enjoying making those superb fat glyphs, then it means you're half-way to being cut out for type design. The other half is being bull-headed.


wolaka's picture

The amplitude issue is something I have stuggled with. I'd been thinking that volume would be best expressed with point size. Relating pitch to weight was based on the idea that a higher pitched sound would seem more fragile and/or piercing. By the way, the other variable I am working to develop is inflection/stress through the use of obliques or italics. Any thoughts?

hrant's picture

> volume would be best expressed with point size.

I agree, but that's outside of the font itself. You could say that Amplitude is proportional to apparent size, and that depends on point size, yes, but also weight and x-height propotion - like how ITC Garamond is much "louder" than let's say Simoncini Garamond (at the same point size).

Inflection/stress: Tough one.
Italics might seem natural, but I would caution against it, since:
1) Slant introduces Speed.
2) Cursiveness introduces informality/friendliness.

I think Stress might be best marked with stroke contrast.


aaron_carambula's picture

I think the problem with the diagram and the pitch axis is that low pitch ought to be on the left, and high pitch on the right (low notes vs high notes, looking more at frequency than amplitude).

In the case of pitch as seen here in weight, I wonder if there should be a difference in weight stresses. Should the bolder ones also have a verticle emphasis, with more weight on the bottom?

Oh, and I can attest to her being more than halfway to being a type designer, if the other half is bullheadedness (in the most positive way)!


wolaka's picture

aaron, you could have just told me that in class. the type part, anyhow :-)

wolaka's picture

hello again. i am uploading a copy of what i presented during finals week for this project, in case anyone was curious about seeing more of the typeface "in action."

application/x-shockwave-flashvox in flash
vox_specimen02.swf (215.3 k)

Jon Whipple's picture

Angela, I took a look at your project presentation and think you did a great job. Congratulations. I hope that you pursue the completion of the uppercase and other forms. Thanks for sharing.

hrant's picture

Angela, this is seriously good.
Any scepticism I had was crushed by the demo phrases.

I hope you don't let this effort fade out - so to speak!


Rene Verkaart's picture

Angela, you've got a winner here. This will get some good publication, I can asure you that. Very interesting stuff. Keep up the good work.

meir's picture

Looks more like an MA thesis than a BFA project, if you ask me... You've developed a very interesting way of representing phonetic stresses and changes. This is absolutely fascinating.

kris's picture

Very good idea! Excellent execution.

wolaka's picture

Thank you all for the kind words.

I'm putting the project temporarily on the back burner while I pour my energies into finding a job, so it may be a few months before I make any more real progress on this project. (And I thought it was going to get easier after I finished school!)

Joe Pemberton's picture

This is a fun project. I especially like the thinking in your March 28th post.

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