Joel Sans – Variable font & music


Joel Sans has been developed by Enrique Otero Velasco as part of the Experimental Typography class that I lecture at Escuela Superior de Diseño de Madrid during the first term of the 2020/2021 academic year.

Several of the students have focused their typographic project on the interaction between music and fonts. Specifically, Enrique’s aim was to create an interactive font that reacts to the rhythm and volume of a song, taking into account different aspects depending on the musical genre to which the song belongs.

To do this, he has designed a variable font with four axes of variation (weight, character width, contrast and angle) to offer a large number of visual possibilities and to be able to relate each variable to an input of the song. Specifically, it relates rhythm to angle, pitch to contrast and volume to weight, leaving the width axis to the user to configure freely.

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Regarding the analysis of the tempo of the music, he has made use of the work of Joe Sullivan and José M. Pérez that make use of Mozilla’s Web Audio Api.

Finally, he has developed a web application in which he uses the Spotify api so that the user can search for the song he wants to listen to while the typography moves to the rhythm of the music.

This is an excellent work that continues to explore the possibilities of interactive variable font.


Written on April 16, 2021