Matt Gilbert

Font Flowers

While looking for ways to condense all the forms in a font into one image, I came up with these Font Flowers. These give a compressed view of the font's formal properties. All the curved segments of each character are placed coming out of the center. Comparing one flower to another, many formal differences can be noticed, such as proportional relationships, modularity, curve complexity, and how different groups of curves within a font relate to each other.

Choose Font Flowers to Compare:
Garamond Pro Regular
Avenir Roman
Bauer Bodoni Roman
Bell Centennial Address
Century Expanded
Century Old Style Regular
Clearface Gothic Roman
DIN Engschrift
Egyptienne Roman
Franklin Gothic Roman
Frutiger Roman
Futura Book
Goudy Text
Helvetica Roman

You can order a copy of the Font Flowers book online.

The Font Flowers are part of a larger goal of organizing fonts based on their formal properties automatically. With so many fonts available to a designer, organizing and searching trough them has become an impossible task. If there was a way to compare the formal properties of fonts and search through them easily, then studying and choosing fonts would be a much more educational and fruitful experience.

Source Files


This project involved some FontLab python macros and Processing (ALPHA) with NanoXML and AWMartin's AIExport package. The FontLab macros were made to batch export XML files containing the outline data of the fonts (although I later found that Letterror's RoboFab does something similar). A Processing sketch batch processes the xml files to produce the flowers as illustrator files. NanoXML was used to parse the xml files, as explained by toxi here. AIExport was used to export illustrator files from Processing.