Variable Futures

April - June 2018

Experimenting with the forefront of typography on the web.

My Role

Design, development


Luke Guilford

Variable Futures is a web and print exploration of the new OpenType variable font specification. It comprises a website, publication, flipbook and 3D printed typography. Designed in collaboration with Luke Guilford, developed by myself. Check it out in Chrome on desktop at

This project won 2 Gold Pins at the 2018 Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards.

The website has a tools section where users can play with variable fonts to get a feel for how they work. This tool’s called In The Crosshairs.

To supplement the website, we designed a publication containing further research and explanation of the variable font specification.

We were interested in trying to emulate physically what's possible digitally with the variable fonts, so we created a flipbook that cycled through instances of the font along the weight axis. The effect being that as you flip through the book, the title "Variable Futures" is spelled out while corresponding CSS values at the bottom of the page tie the paper to the pixels.

As an exploration of variable fonts in physical space, we 3D-printed a set of letters, again moving down the weight axis, allowing us to illustrate spatially what is at first a difficult concept to grasp for some.