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I'd like to have text where the proportions of glyph widths continuously change. One extreme would be that all glyphs would have the same width, and the other extreme would be that glyphs usually narrow would be significantly narrower than glyphs usually wide (“i” would be significantly narrower than “M” for example).

I know that variable OTF fonts exist and there could be a font with variable width proportions, but I didn't find such font. An other idea is to calculate the widths of the particular glyphs used in the text at the particular positions and adjust the glyph for each position manually, but it would be a lot of work and a lot could go wrong because I don't have experience with editing fonts. The third idea is to use a program for morphing images to generate shapes between the monospaced variant of a glyph and the proportional variant of a glyph, but there could arise ugly shapes and areas with grey color.

What is the best way to vary the glyphs in this way? If you know a font with variable width proportions, a program that can morph vector images well, or you have any other idea of how to do it, please, let me know about it.

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  • I found Recursive, a font with adjustable monospacedness and other features. It looks very promising, I will see what I can do with it.
    – matj1
    Jun 3 at 15:45
  • Looks like you found the solution! Please post an answer yourself. Was just about to give you my thoughts. First idea: Didn't think this existed, but you have proved otherwise. Second idea: Just scaling glyphs will work but look strange. There are more differences than just the overall width of the characters. Third idea: Could work. Easy to morph shapes in illustrator using Blend Tool, but to work the letters need to have the same anchor points only positioned differently.
    – Wolff
    Jun 3 at 15:47
  • I didn't want to post it as an answer yet because I wanted to experience working with the font first. But then I realised that an answer by someone else would not require experience, so mine too.
    – matj1
    Jun 3 at 15:56
  • I tried to accept my answer and I got the message “You can accept your own answer in 2 days.”.
    – matj1
    Jun 3 at 16:06
  • Yeah, it's like that. To give others the opportunity to come with a better answer.
    – Wolff
    Jun 3 at 16:21
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I found Recursive, a font with adjustable monospacedness and other features. I didn't get to working with it yet, but it seems promising. The only problem that I have with it is that, as the monospacedness increases, some letters change discontinuously, like that serifs appear on “f”, “i”, “l”, “r”.

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  • Those serifs are needed to fill in the spaces in a monospaced font. Does it matter for your design? I'm curious to see your result because as I imagine it, it will just look messy and hard to tell what's going on. Is it for large blocks of text or just headlines?
    – Wolff
    Jun 3 at 16:23
  • Just for fun I made this example with 50 lines of text. The Monospace attribute is set to 0 on the first line and 1 on the last, so it's increased with 0.02 per line. I must admit I think it looks a bit messy. To fade horizontally instead would be much more time consuming. And perhaps you would have to account for the different width of the letters?
    – Wolff
    Jun 3 at 18:25
  • @Wolff: Just for fun I made this example with 50 lines of text. – Hmm, it’s clearly more prominent that the average letter width is increasing. I would expect that certain letters like m become narrower, but rather everything just blows up to m width. But it depends on the application, I guess.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jun 3 at 18:44
  • @Wrzlprmft, could be the low resolution of my example. The m does decrease in width. See here. And here is a high res version of the example.
    – Wolff
    Jun 3 at 18:53
  • @Wolff The text with varying monospacedness is supposed to be a single sentence on a poster. It's supposed to be about something like freeing ourselves from the grid of monospaced text (in some contexts). The poster is for an assignment for a typography class and the topic is chosen by me.
    – matj1
    Jun 3 at 23:33

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