iQ Font: From Driving to Writing


The iQ Font project is perhaps the most unconventional approach to designing a font. Imagine creating the intricate curves and shapes of font characters not by software or by hand, but by driving a car. Yes, the approach is ingenious: mount an overhead camera in a hanger and track a car as it drives around. By placing four colored dots on top of the car, the designers tracked the car’s movement in real-time using OpenCV (an OpenFrameworks tool). Then, they used the result of the tracking to make the characters of the font.

Of course, no amateur driver can perform the complicated maneuvers necessary to create these characters, so the designers hired a pro race pilot to do the job!

The iQ font characters

What I found fascinating about this project was the beautiful integration of the physical and the digital worlds to create a font. I was especially intrigued by the choice to use four markers on top of the car instead of one, which added extra texture to the font. Also, I appreciate that the designers preserved the imperfections and rough edges in the characters; this makes it believable that the font was actually created by a car.

Still, this project could have been better if the stroke of the font was not uniform. This would better convey the movement of the car, since the car moves slowly at turns and fast in straight paths. Basically, I’m envisioning characters that are lighter in their straight portions and darker in their curves and corners.


ofxLeapMotion (addon)

I’ve always dreamt of controlling my computer with something other than my mouse and want to explore the LeapMotion. Using the ofxLeapMotion addon and the LeapMotion controller, I can use hand gestures to interact with my OpenFrameworks projects. An interesting application of this addon would be in virtual reality projects, where I could use my LeapMotion for control and navigation through my 3D world. The 2D limits of the mouse just doesn’t offer the freedom necessary to explore a virtual world, and the ofxLeapMotion addon can bridge the gap between OpenFrameworks and the LeapMotion device.