It was the most controversial topic in the world of art and design in 2022, and it seems that AI will enjoy the same dubious honor this year. From the copyright-related ethics of text-to-image generators to claims that the technology is inherently biased, AI is surrounded by controversy. Enter: AI generated fonts.
An AI scientist has shared what he calls a “major upgrade” to type design. Word-As-Image is an AI-powered stable diffusion tool designed to present a visualization of the word’s meaning while preserving its readability. But judging by the reaction on Twitter, you shouldn’t give up on our list of the best free fonts just yet.
The font design gets a huge upgrade. Traditionally, the letter “A” looks the same everywhere given the same font. How about a smart and magical font that draws “A” differently depending on the semantic meaning of the word? Smells like Stable Diffusion? Dive deep with me: 🧵 pic.twitter.com/e3RXBQ8ZrlMarch 6, 2023
Jim Fan, an NVIDIA AI scientist, shared a link to an article (opens in new tab) Word-as-picture presentation. Fan describes the technique as “fairly sophisticated” with a “differentiable rasterizer” (we all have one of these, right?) that allows the gradient to propagate from the rendered pixels back to the original shape parameters. In other words, it turns letters into the object that describes the word without giving up the shape of the letter.
But because typography design is such a complex and creative art form, the concept doesn’t sit well with designers on Twitter. Many have criticized the readability and accessibility of the text, while others simply cannot figure out what problem the technology is trying to solve.
The idea that text with letters that vaguely look like the literal subject of a word is better than a bespoke logo that conveys the TONE, MOOD and ESSENCE of a work is an ACTUAL TRAVESTY https://t.co/ 6PH2TJs5Bs image. twitter.com/TTY9XVxnIjMarch 9, 2023
Is that why I can’t sleep? Probably not, but just in case, here it goes. For more people than likely, the predictability of print is the reason they can read at all. https://t.co/EBf9jBLBhQMarch 10, 2023
I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a perfect example of how the people behind these programs, despite their intentions, completely ignore the real needs of artists and designers. https://t.co/W0dhr8Li1tMarch 10, 2023
In fact, perhaps more so than most “tech vs. art” questions in the field of AI, this question seems to be at the heart of the debate. It’s certainly impressive to see how the tool can turn letters into specific objects while (vaguely) retaining their original shape, as many have pointed out the whole thing seems to lack a fundamental level of artistry.
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From AI art winning first prize in an art competition to Getty banning AI-generated images from its library over copyright concerns and people using the tools to copy certain artists’ style, AI is causing Art online all sorts of glitches. In fact, even Adobe recently sent out a message to creatives concerned about the rise of AI art.