Font Averaging


In an effort to get at the essence of font-design, I averaged all the fonts on my computer and got this:

All the fonts on my computer [image].

I did it in Flash. Originally I was going to use Processing, but its font handling is clunky. (Flash, I later discovered, has its own rendering issues. Next time I’ll try Open Frameworks). Here are two embedded apps that average web-safe fonts:

Sans-serif fonts [flash]   Serif fonts [flash]

And here’s the source code:


  1. chrisc
    Posted August 4, 2009 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    cool! darn that pesky controversial lowercase ‘g’

  2. Posted August 4, 2009 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    this is pure font p0rn

  3. Posted August 17, 2009 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    How many fonts does this combine? It doesn’t look like that many. Cool idea though.

  4. JJ
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Cool idea, although you might want to check out the sans serif set once more.

  5. Posted August 17, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Flash, if it has a problem rendering a font, will render it as Times. Unfortunately, there is no way (as far as I could tell) in AS3 to see if flash can’t load a font. So, if flash can’t access one of the web-safe sans-serif fonts on your computer, it throws a Times font in there.

    If anyone knows a way of detecting if a font isn’t loading, please let me know. To figure out which fonts on my machine wouldn’t load, I wrote a routine that compared the bitmap of the letter “A” in each font to a bitmap of the letter “A” rendered as Times. This seemed like a very hacky fix, but I couldn’t find simpler way of doing it.

  6. Posted August 17, 2009 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Sam, there are 492 fonts in the first example. It would have been more, but some fonts (like futura???) won’t load in AS3 (see my previous comment).

  7. jeremy
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    is it bad that I want this rendered as an actual font

  8. Posted February 3, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    great post, thank you for sharing.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Barney Stephens » Font Averaging on August 17, 2009 at 2:39 am

    [...] Rob Seward used Flash to average all the fonts on his computer. var addthis_pub = ”; var addthis_language = ‘en’;var addthis_options = ‘email, [...]

  2. By links for 2009-08-18 on August 18, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    [...] Rob Seward’s BLOG » Font Averaging Cool! > @aral: The perfect typeface? What the average of all fonts on your computer looks like: (via @grantmichaels) [from (tags: tweecious Font Sans-serif RobSeward Graphics RSS Web-safefonts Permalink Trackback) [...]

  3. By Set Your Fonts to MERGE! « John Paul on October 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    [...] Filed under: General Leave a comment Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) ( subscribe to comments on this post ) [...]

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