Galapagos: Evolutionary Type Design

Galagagos is a generative typeface making tool that uses a generative algorithm to transform existing typefaces into new versions of themselves.  I collaborated with Danne Woo from the Tuesday session of Nature of Code.  This project was created in Processing and borrows heavily from Dan Shiffman’s “Faces” example of genetic evolution.

We used the Geomerative Library to find the vector points along the contours of each individual letter.  From there, we created a number of different “genes” that represented various characteristics of a font that could be altered.  By no means a complete portrait of all the possibilities, we created genes that altered color, alpha levels, width, height, and randomized the x,y locations of the vector points along the letter contours.  The most interesting part for me, was seeing how turning genes on and off in the code can create such diverse changes.

We added a export function that exports the drawing as a pdf.  Since it is a vector file, these drawings can be edited in Illustrator or a font making software to create real, usable (if not legible) typefaces.

We’re hoping to get a working version on the web over the next few months to allow anyone to create their own typefaces.