“Exploratory font selection using crowdsourced attributes” by O’Donovan, Lībeks, Agarwala and Hertzmann

  • ©Peter O’Donovan, Jānis Lībeks, Aseem Agarwala, and Aaron Hertzmann



Session Title:

    Typography & Illustration


    Exploratory font selection using crowdsourced attributes




    This paper presents interfaces for exploring large collections of fonts for design tasks. Existing interfaces typically list fonts in a long, alphabetically-sorted menu that can be challenging and frustrating to explore. We instead propose three interfaces for font selection. First, we organize fonts using high-level descriptive attributes, such as “dramatic” or “legible.” Second, we organize fonts in a tree-based hierarchical menu based on perceptual similarity. Third, we display fonts that are most similar to a user’s currently-selected font. These tools are complementary; a user may search for “graceful” fonts, select a reasonable one, and then refine the results from a list of fonts similar to the selection. To enable these tools, we use crowdsourcing to gather font attribute data, and then train models to predict attribute values for new fonts. We use attributes to help learn a font similarity metric using crowdsourced comparisons. We evaluate the interfaces against a conventional list interface and find that our interfaces are preferred to the baseline. Our interfaces also produce better results in two real-world tasks: finding the nearest match to a target font, and font selection for graphic designs.


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