The abc of Grammato
As long as we have had hands, we’ve used them for writing. And ever since we built the first machines, we’ve wanted them to be able to write as evocatively as we can. Look at the painstaking writing of The Writer1, a writing automaton built in 1770 by the famous French watchmaker Jaquet-Droz, or the infamous first words scrawled passionately across the screen of the first Macintosh in 1984: insanely great2. ¶ The Mac and The Writer were definitely insanely great for their time, despite their rather rudimentary writing skills. Technology has improved in the meantime but the writing machine, a machine which can really write, has remained a dream. Until today.
Six different writing fonts. OpenType Variable Font, using Higher Order Interpolation. Note the artificial variable ink bleed.
With Grammato your machines can now write as beautifully as you do; maybe even more so. But beauty is only one aspect of Grammato, communication is another. Since the introduction of Unicode, it is possible to communicate fluently with people in almost any language using the available scripts. With global communication it has become even more apparent that some scripts (like Chinese) are more difficult to understand than others. ¶ One major reason for that is the missing information in fonts. For Chinese for example, the stroke order and stroke direction is as important for the learning, understanding and memorization of a character, as is the static shape of the completed character. Grammato can add such information directly into the font-file, so that the user of the font can access this information and employ this knowledge. In this way Grammato is providing new ways to learn reading and writing.
But the significance of Grammato goes even further. By introducing a completely new notion of writing — grammatography, the writing with letters — it above all provides a new perspective on one of humanity’s quintessential activities: the act of writing. ¶ Until today, we only had two forms of writing: writing by hand (like with a pen or brush) and writing with fonts (when we use a keyboard). In the case of the former, writing by hand provides us with a broad range of personal expression while in the latter, the use of a keyboard makes communication more effective. ¶ With grammatography both attributes are combined: thought & expression can be transcribed at the same time. And while grammatography may therefore change our notions of writing, one thing remains unchanged…
Future is written.