What is Sensor Variable Font?


According to the World Urbanization Prospects report currently 55% of the world’s population lives in cities and is expected to reach 68% by 2050, which means 2.5 billion more people. In this context, Portugali highlights how the city has become a text to be read in which citizens are increasingly protagonists of their own story:

Today’s city is the postmodern city: untamed, shrew, capricious, ever-changing; actually, it is not a city but a text; a text written by millions of unknown writers, unaware that they are writers, read by millions of readers; each reading his or her own personal and subjective story in this ever changing and chaotic text, thus changing and recreating it and further complicating it. Juval Portugali

We move quickly towards the so-called smart cities, where IoT and the hyper-connectivity of citizens shape new paradigms of coexistence and interaction. According to Cisco, 500 billion devices with sensors collecting data are expected by 2030. In this context of hyperconnection and continuous interaction with the environment, disciplines such as data visualization and interaction design are key. However, the literature consulted, Bollini and Sun, Leigh, Johnson & Lee, highlights the need to deepen the processes of significance of graphical interfaces. Viljami Salminen asserts:

The future for UI typography being all about sensors and font formats that can respond to data acquired from these sensors, and eventually also new typographic tools that have contextual awareness which integrates more intelligent algorithms to our workflows. Viljami Salminen

In order to achieve this objective, the study of other fields such as graphic design applied to interfaces, and more specifically typography, is particularly relevant. According to Grégori Vincens and Jérémie Hornus: “Typography is the main interface between information and the residents of the city who benefit from access to it”. One of the revolutions that we are experiencing in recent years in the typographic framework are the so-called variable fonts, which can be a response to the need for meaning in interfaces, as their potential lies in turning typography into something alive that reacts and adapts to the environment.

This project presents a model that sets the groundwork for establishing a significant relationship between variable fonts and its application in graphical interfaces from data collected by different sensors.

Written on July 8, 2021