Humanizing Robots

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Kevin Shelley's picture
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Joined: 29 May 2012 - 1:37pm
Humanizing Robots
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I am gingerly searching for help to expand my tried and true font vocabulary. One project in particular, interests me.

The story involves a team of robots that are not your "Transformer" (mean, warlike) types but not "Rollie Pollie Ollie" either. Everything from "Iron Giant", to "Johnny 5-0", to "iRobot" solve this challenge differently.

Any faces the guru's here might add to a list of type-faces that frame this "spectrum" between, from warlike to infantile, first-shooter warrior villain robots to the ever-cuddly but futuristic Wall-e (and his girlfriend – way sexy and modernly futuristic)?

I hope I'm being helpful. I think it could be a fun list to build top to bottom. I'd have to say even Pixar strikes me as a candidate, because that animated mascot Lamp is so lifelike – and thus, a robot of sorts.

Thanks :)

Craig Eliason's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
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What's the use? Logo, headline, short text, long text?

Something from Ray Larabie might fit the bill.

Kevin Shelley's picture
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Joined: 29 May 2012 - 1:37pm
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Usage regards a storyline (promos for robotic products) that educate the public on many robots that currently, and in the near future, improve our lives. The character profiles are very interesting and diverse, but the storyline is fun and informative – so needs to be friendly to children and adults alike.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Very retro robotic, and free...

http://www.dafont.com/space-patrol.font

Kevin Shelley's picture
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Joined: 29 May 2012 - 1:37pm
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Cool. Fun. Great finds! Amazing how the 50's, 60's, and 70's with all the sci-fi developed so many you've suggested. I'll post my list below. It's much more modern (like SpiderMan and IronMan), sophisticated, which compliment these very kitchy (sp?) and child-like ones.

Much appreciated.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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Post-human:
Alphaville

Kevin Shelley's picture
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Joined: 29 May 2012 - 1:37pm
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Love it. Yes! Thanks.

JAMES MARSLAND's picture
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Joined: 29 May 2012 - 8:38pm
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check out Büro Destruct Fonts – typedifferent.com

Karl Stange's picture
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Karl Stange's picture
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Some of the [[http://www2.wind.ne.jp/maniackers/designfont.htm|Maniackers]] fonts also fit the bill, particularly:

[[http://www2.wind.ne.jp/maniackers/alphabetman.html|Alphabet Man]]
[[http://www2.wind.ne.jp/maniackers/poranger.html|Poranger]]

Karl Stange's picture
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Joined: 17 Sep 2009 - 10:07am
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[[http://dharmatype.com/flat-it/design-system.html|Design System]] and [[http://dharmatype.com/flat-it/geom-graphic.html|Geom Graphic]] by Flat-It also contain robotic themes.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Another odd-duck semi-robotic type style, totally free…

http://www.1001freefonts.com/CircuitBored.php

Tim Daly's picture
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Nick Shinn's picture
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Ironically, the most robotic fonts are those “smart” fonts which imitate expert calligraphy with Contextual and Swash OpenType features.

Another genre of robotic fonts is the pseudo-random script, which is actually not really suspposed to be random, but to mimic the irregularities of hand-made writing and lettering.

A primer:
http://ilovetypography.com/2011/04/01/engaging-contextuality/

Automated methods of hinting and spacing/kerning may also be considered robotic font-making.

Karl Stange's picture
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Joined: 17 Sep 2009 - 10:07am
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Automated methods of hinting and spacing/kerning may also be considered robotic font-making.

Robotics is most often implemented as a means of reduced labour, and this is implicit in the origin of the word. As such, FontStruct as a font creation engine is a prime example of robotic type design, automating and reducing elements of the design process while imposing restrictions and limiting factors on what can be achieved. Parametric type design systems can also reduce the labour of the font creator in similar ways but with very different and less limiting results. Of course the human engineering, programming and labour involved in creating these constructs to begin with is enormous.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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Automated methods of hinting and spacing/kerning may also be considered robotic font-making.

However, if we’re talking about robotic fonts, then a kerning app, whether stand-alone, incorporated in font production software, or in a layout app (InDesign’s “Optical” kerning) doesn’t make the font robotic.

What’s different about OpenType fonts that perform contextual substitutions is that they respond to the text they’re setting—a feedback loop, a little AI, and it’s that imitation of human decision-making behavior that we associate with robots.

This concerns the argument whether fonts are software or just data.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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We are of course deviating strongly away from the original request, albeit into much more interesting territory.

Parametric type design systems can also reduce the labour of the font creator

They reduce menial labor but more significantly they enable a higher level of design. In fact I would say that parametric font design is to "instantive" font design what font design is to lettering.

hhp

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
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Amelia.

Kevin Shelley's picture
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Ones I've identified myself:
Andvari, Fade to Blak, Abo Mando, Digital Tech, Gabba All Caps, Heiko, Homoarakhm, Indiana, Nike 2002-04, Orion Pax, Quadrats, Regen, SL Rock Art, Sprawl, Teio, Space Font, Praetorian, Robotica, Sector 034, Microfuture, Ice Station Awesome, Saturn 5...among others (most available at dafont.com).

If I read Japanese there would be a plethora, due to their long and historied fixation with gadgets and sci-fi, from Godzilla ray guns to anime tv and film productions.

Gus Winterbottom's picture
Joined: 19 Oct 2006 - 11:46am
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I was going to say this anyway with tongue in cheek, but then I found these articles. It's, well, uncanny.

http://www.aiga.org/steer-clear-of-the-uncanny-valley/
http://servetulas.com/blog/2011/10/the-uncanny-valley-and-casual-script-...

Kevin Shelley's picture
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Joined: 29 May 2012 - 1:37pm
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Thanks Gus, there were very well written articles, and informative. Robotics includes type faces, since each is created to automate, simplify, even speed the efficiency of writing...through printing (mass production) :) Even so-called script fonts or those that fake or mimic hand-writing qualities fail when their repetition and "perfection" (or more suitably named, engineered repetition) of each letter says "un-human". So true!

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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HVB's picture
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Dr. Who ...
[[http://www.fontspace.com/character/drwho42|DrWho42]]
from a Dr. Who episode; the font in the episode may have been suggested by Vic Feiger's
[[http://www.dafont.com/major-snafu.font|Major Snafu]]

Also, [[http://www.fonts.com/font/comicraft/cc-timelord|ccTimeLord]], from ComiCraft.

- Herb

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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& I forgot... There is Campcraft, which while not conceived of as a 'robotic' font is a take off on dot matrix fonts, Standard for the automated typography on scrolling message signs and instrument displays for quite some time.

The vertical and horizontal grid lines pile up at the intersections which is kind of human of them

R

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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{Note: the below was in response to a post involving alternate sexuality and the relative merits of robots versus a young lady with a notable finial, which has since been censored.}

You can like broccoli and chocolate cake for different reasons.

hhp

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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You can like broccoli and chocolate cake for different reasons.

Hrant, you are absolutely correct. One size does not fit all, and neither does one font.

Which is really good news for those of us who make a living exploiting this little bit of wisdom.

On the other hand, if you really want to humanize robots, go with the obvious and use Comic Sans. Or, better yet, one of my fonts in the same vein. Because, after all, chocolate cake is yummy, but broccoli is good for you.

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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You could bake broccoli into a chocolate cake and nobody would know.

... They might wonder, but they wouldn't know. And in the US, the government can make you eat it.

Government robots will force you all to eat broccoli cake.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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You could bake broccoli into a chocolate cake and nobody would know.

True. On the other hand, you could bake marijuana into a chocolate cake and most people would probably not know it, but—in all cases—no one would really care.

However, I am fairly confident that just about everyone would want a second slice…

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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True, but that would anger the robots.

Kent Lew's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
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which has since been censored

Not censored, per se. Removed because of spam, not content. The image was a spam link and the account profile was full of spam backlinks.

Tim Daly's picture
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Joined: 11 Sep 2003 - 9:04am
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>“a young lady with a notable finial”

I missed that – was it a limerick?

Tim

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Kent: Got it.

Tim: It was a picture. But really nothing a Google image search couldn't replicate.

hhp

Nick Curtis's picture
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timd's picture: “a young lady with a notable finial”
I missed that – was it a limerick?

Only if you can come up with some risque rhymes for "finial"…

A limerick packs laugh astronomical
In a space that is quite economical.
But, the good ones I've seen
Are mostly obscene,
And the clean ones are often not comical.

E.g.,

This limerick's entirely clean:
Not a word that is coarse or obscene;
Not a word incorrect
To offend any sect,
And not funny: see what I mean?

Tim Daly's picture
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Joined: 11 Sep 2003 - 9:04am
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A young lady with a notable finial
Whose underwear was quite minimal
Slid down a stair
With too little care
That’s what she said at the hospital.

I am not happy with the last line.

Tim

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
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Vic Fieger's [[http://www.dafont.com/yukarimobile.font|yukarimobile]], if you don't mind an association with a battered Toyota Corolla.