Until recently, technology interfaces, including fonts, have remained relatively simple. This has a lot to do with limited hardware, memory, and physical size.
As smartphone popularity spreads and screens are becoming more integrated in our daily lives, consumers are expecting better looking designs. In an article for thenextweb.com, Jason Pamental explains that there is
"a tremendous opportunity if we can overcome some key limitations that have hamstrung efforts thus far. Good typography will be key; small screens don’t have much room, and information-intensive displays like automobile instrument clusters depend on clarity and 'glance-ability' to quickly convey critical information in the most effective manner."
The font must be easy to read, but not overly large. It must be sleek, but curated enough to convey a brand message.
Up until now, portable devices are using pre-existing fonts rather than fonts created specifically to optimize the smartphone/tablet/wearable technology experience. Now, we're at a point where we have the technology to start creating fonts for portable devices, though there are several specific challenges that typography designers will need to keep in mind.
Individuals need to be able to process information in a mere glance. This is important for safety as well as aesthetics. Many of us use GPS devices in our cars, and a poor font can keep our eyes on the device for a second too long. We need to be able to take a quick glance and know when to make that next turn.
Big message on small screens
As media marketing becomes bigger, screens become smaller. Keeping in mind the glance-ability factor, fonts also need to use typography to convey a brand message and provide information.
Catering to multiple languages
Cultures across the globe are becoming more connected and brands are throwing their net worldwide. Consistency is important. Font creators need to keep in mind that their designs should be translatable. The font looks good in English, but how will if work in Arabic?
Creating fonts for new technologies has its challenges, but it also presents immense creative opportunity. If you have any font designs you'd like to share, please contact us.