SoftType Sketches


(1.1 Mb .zip)

Interactive sketches made while formulating the approach and architecture of It's Alive! SoftType is the name of a new way of representing glyphs. Instead of the fundamentally static representations which the prevalent type formats TrueType and Postscript Type 1rely on, SoftType fonts are malleable, organic and can be parameterized to obtain very precise control over how they appear and move on-screen.

Windows NT/2000/XP stand-alone apps in C++


Jason E. Lewis
Scott Snibbe
Alex Weyers





Type and watch words fall and discombobulate.



Type and watch the words rise and discombobulate.



Type a letter. Mouse-down over the letter and push it around. Stretch it out like silly putty.



Type and watch words shatter into lots of little bits.


pushMe pullMe

Our first pass at making an authoring environment on top of the SoftType glyphs. Please forgive the opacity of the interface. The buttons in the icon bar at the top, from left to right, are:

  • keyboard: select this if you want to input text from the keyboard
  • nozzle: select this if you want to spray the text on-screen from a text file
  • manipulate: to push the text around a la pushType
  • wireframe: show the letterforms in wireframe mode
  • shade: show the letterforms in filled mode
  • animate: toggle the physical simulation on and off
  • cursor: toggle a cursor showing your current location
  • compass: use this to manipulate the strength and direction of the effects of the physical simulation; you can also double-click the right mouse, and then use it to change the direction and magnitude of the vector arrow, and to move the compass around.



Pieces uses dropType, with two additions. First, the right mouse button turns the simulation (and thus the dynamics) on and off. Second, the left mouse button lays words on to the screen.


Letterforms as individual particle systems

seperate download