October 29, 2011 6:48 PM   Subscribe

This is the story of the creation of a new font: Avería posted by Evilspork (41 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Eponysterical, after a fashion. (Not the evil part, the spork part.)
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:52 PM on October 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I love the idea, but something about that typeface is seriously pissing off the rather strict typographer that infested my brain.

It renders nearly illegibly on my netbook, and doesn't have the pixel-based clarity of a sans-serif, nor the flourish or rigidity of a proper serif.

I want to say it could work as a casual bookface, maybe a bit too cute - but I don't think it will work there, either. It's actually mushier and harder to read than comic sans.
posted by loquacious at 7:00 PM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

It looks like it is a 12th generation photocopy. I have seen that font in lots of places before.
posted by procrastination at 7:02 PM on October 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well I think it looks pretty neato. So there!
posted by Nattie at 7:03 PM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I find it rather hard on the eyes. Neat idea though.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:06 PM on October 29, 2011

Like an old photocopy or, even more likely, an old mimeo is what occurred to me, too. Which, if nothing else, gives it a niche where it might actually be usable.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:24 PM on October 29, 2011

I like it. However, seems you would need two fonts, an average of the sans-serif and then an average of the serif. This is one of those ideas that I like so much I hope it doesn't die out too soon.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 7:25 PM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

It renders nearly illegibly on my netbook...

Does your netbook support the @font-face? Otherwise you still haven't seen it.

I found the results rather pleasing. I actually liked the font in the end and can see using it in a project.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:27 PM on October 29, 2011

I like the story and though I would never use it to set body copy I think the face has some surprising merits considering how it was created. And, I agree that creating a sans and a serif version would be worthwhile. I do think generative typography is a more robust practice than the text implies though.
posted by safetyfork at 7:30 PM on October 29, 2011

MetaFilter, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the fonts are above Averia.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:06 PM on October 29, 2011 [9 favorites]

I actually like the font. It looks warm and organic.
posted by empath at 8:07 PM on October 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was wholly onboard until I saw the lowercase m. It looked too scrawly and sloppy, and that was a deal-breaker. I wanted a uniformity between the arcs - the m should be an arcade, after all. One-off arcs can do what they please, but repeated arcs should be subject to the same rules.

My name is Graygorey, and I am persnickity.
posted by Graygorey at 10:52 PM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

It looks like something from a scan of an old document.
posted by delmoi at 11:03 PM on October 29, 2011

I love love love the backstory, but find the font really hard on the eyes.
posted by looli at 11:05 PM on October 29, 2011

I find it very easy to read, except that the ms and ns look like someone has been at them with a hammer.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:12 PM on October 29, 2011

Technically this is a derivative work of the hundreds of input fonts, right? It's the most copyrighted font in existence.
posted by knave at 11:20 PM on October 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

IANAGD, but I think it is charming. Especially the capitals and some of the non-alphabetic characters (don't know the proper name for those).

The upper-case pi is horrendous, though.
posted by clorox at 11:21 PM on October 29, 2011

The Toyota Averia.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:37 PM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

This brings up an interesting question about copyright.
posted by pewpew at 12:12 AM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fonts themselves cannot be copyrighted, but the programs used to create them can. This would be a strange case!
posted by wanderingstan at 12:49 AM on October 30, 2011

This is clearly a fair-use parody of the other fonts.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:36 AM on October 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

As a Spaniard with a longtime interest in language, I was flummoxed by the suggestion that "avería" is related to "average", or may even be translated as "average" in some cases. To me, it means, and has always meant, a mechanical breakdown or damage. I've checked in the online dictionary of the Real Academia Española, and stumbled upon a fascinating bit of etimology. In maritime law, there is a difference between "avería gruesa" ("gross wreckage") and "avería simple" ("simple wreckage"). In an "avería gruesa", a ship has been lost or damaged to prevent wider damage. In this case, the losses must be split between those whose ships or cargoes have been saved by the sacrifice. In an "avería simple", the owners of the lost or damaged ship or cargo are stuck with their loss. Merchantmen trading with the Americas also had to pay a "derecho de avería" as a third-party insurance. It is easy to see how "avería gruesa" may have been adopted in English as "general average", and how its meaning may have evolved from its original naval usage into its current mathematical one.
posted by Skeptic at 2:46 AM on October 30, 2011 [6 favorites]

It somehow reminds me of the much-loathed Comic Sans, a bit, but not horrifying. Also reminds me of actual movable metal type printing.

I don't think I'd use it unless I was going for something old-timey, maybe, but the story of its creation was indeed interesting.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:07 AM on October 30, 2011

Hi folks - thanks for the interest! It seems Windows does not deal with web fonts very well, so I've switched to using Cufon there - which looks a bit better. If you are using IE you might find it loads a bit slowly. In this case, as a web developer, I'd have to recommend getting a different browser; even if you are on a work computer, there are portable versions about of e.g. Chrome that don't need an administrator account to run.

safetyfork - good idea! I will have a look at making Serif/Sans versions ASAP.

Skeptic - thanks very much for the info on "avería gruesa" - that's fascinating! I've amended the page text.
posted by iotic at 4:27 AM on October 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

no se ría de la bruja Avería
posted by valdesm at 5:26 AM on October 30, 2011

Metafilter: I was wholly onboard until I saw the lowercase m.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:09 AM on October 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

I like it as a header or caption font. Or for special cases where I want that third generation copy look.
posted by meinvt at 6:24 AM on October 30, 2011

If you add too many colours together, you get shit brown.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:45 AM on October 30, 2011

For some unknown reason, it makes me think of hobbits.
posted by destrius at 8:52 AM on October 30, 2011

Yeah, lowercase m/n seem to have the wrong x-height, or maybe there's some weird hinting issue. Apart from that it looks surprisingly good!
posted by en forme de poire at 9:25 AM on October 30, 2011

It looks like one of those "hip" nineties fonts where they'd take an existing font, blur it, then bump up the contrast until the edges hardened.

Or, like, an average of nothing but Cooper Black and Hobo.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:02 AM on October 30, 2011

This is wonderful, and reminds me very much of the type used in books from a century ago or so. It's - to me - warm, readable and friendly.

Such a shame about that weird squashedness of the smaller 'n' and 'm'.
posted by motty at 12:19 PM on October 30, 2011

how its meaning may have evolved from its original naval usage into its current mathematical one.

I just checked the OED; they agree that the mathematical meaning of "average" is derived from the meaning in maritime law and insurance. They also say the maritime meaning appeared first in the Mediterranean, in Romance languages (and thence spread to English, Dutch, German, Danish, Arabic, Turkish... these are just the languages they mention), but they're not sure which Romance language English borrowed the term from, nor which Romance language had it first.
posted by stebulus at 12:31 PM on October 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Quick note for anyone coming late to the post and wondering what all the fuss about the 'n's and 'm's was: iotic has tonight updated the font embedded in the page (not the download, yet, I think) with a new version that fixes the squashed n and m problem.
posted by motty at 4:29 PM on October 30, 2011

As an alternative to comic sans, I enthusiastically recommend this to all administrative assistants everywhere.
posted by davejay at 5:06 PM on October 30, 2011

Yes, as motty says, it should look a bit better in Linux and Windows now. This is thanks to Cufon. If you'd like to compare @font-face (where the browser downloads the font and uses the OS rendering system) and Cufon (a Javascript library which draws every letter on screen, replacing the native rendering system) you can with these links:


Without wanting to come across as a rabid Apple fanboy, MacOS and iOS are the only operating systems on which the first link looks as good as the second. I think the 'm' and 'n' issue must be due to some sort of auto-hinting (the font is not hinted). See here for more info.

When the downloaded font is used in a decent graphics application at a reasonably large point size, there should be no such issue.
posted by iotic at 5:28 PM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ah, I understand now, it's Cufon that is rendering the glyphs better rather than any change in the font itself. Hence no change in the download ;)
posted by motty at 6:42 PM on October 30, 2011

It's neat stuff, iotic. It got me to thinking about the idea of expressing typeface characteristics in a sort of high-dimensional vector space way: looking at all the specific variations in how a letterform can express the abstract notion of a letter, in terms of both broad decisions like the presence or not of a serif or the x-height of a character, on down to more atomic things like the shape and width and so on of each individual bit of serif or the horizontal and vertical width of strokes, radia along x and y axes of the o-type curve, etc.

Almost a literal genetic code for a typeface, both at the face or family level and at the individual letterform level, so that you could, with sufficient granularity in the coding of macro- and micro-scale features as "genes", have the definition of a typeface (or at least an acceptably close lookalike) be storable as this genetic string, and allow for mutational experiments that are in principle completely naive about the human design intent that in practice has been the driving force of generating all these typefaces over the years.

Because, clearly, generating a grand genetic taxonomy of the entire world of extant type would be simpler than doing some vector math and a bit of nudging. Someone should get right on that.
posted by cortex at 10:34 PM on October 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Much like "in computer face averaging tests, women with averaged faces have been shown to be considered more attractive," this font is very pleasing to me.
posted by hypersloth at 11:14 PM on October 30, 2011

This is pretty cool. It's definitely not an everyday font but it's handsome in its own way and I could think of a couple of places I'd use it in. Like MonkeyOnCrack said earlier in the thread it would be awesome to get a serif version and a sans version of this. I'd imagine Averia Sans would look like a nice bit of retro-futurism.

And, as long as we're including and excluding specific fonts from the average why not lump all of the different wingdings, webdings, dingbats and other ding fonts into one super font. I know that's what we're all waiting for here.
posted by cirrostratus at 7:59 AM on October 31, 2011

I think it's gorgeous (Mac, Chrome). Like letterpress for the screen.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:05 AM on November 4, 2011

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