In 1982, few months after the publication of Donald Knuth article The Concept of a Meta-Font, Visible Language publishes Meta-Font, Metamathematics, and Metaphysics : Comments on Donald Knuth’s « The Concept of a Meta-Font », by Douglas Hofstadter, an american professor of cognitive sciences. His remarks bring nuances to Knuth’s conclusions, addressing the problem from another point of view. His investigations in typography, in the field of artificial intelligence, subsequently appeared in the Letter Spirit project, where he tried to develop a program that is capable of developing an entire alphabet from a few seed letters, based on a very coarse grid. Years later, when the concepts of parametric fonts, AI and deep learning applied to type design reappeared, Hofstadter’s ideas are still relevant.
Thomas Huot-Marchand (1977) is a graphic and type designer based in Besançon (France). He published Minuscule, a typeface designed for extremely small sizes, now available at the the new type foundry 205TF (www.205.tf). Since 2012, he’s the director of the Atelier national de recherche typographique, a post-graduate research course based in Nancy. He’s a member of the Alliance graphique internationale since 2010.