Decovar is a modular parametric display font with a variety of skeletons and terminals designed by David Berlow for Google.
In the process of developing interesting types and useful products, Font Bureau reviews a lot of font specifications, as well as submissions for publication. But rarely does someone ask us for “a font family that will make people want more font families like the one we made.” Dave Crossland, who was instrumental in developing Google’s request for both Amstelvar and Decovar, did just that.
While Decovar’s default sans-serif letterforms may look like they’re drawn with a single contour, they’re actually assembled from dozens of smaller contours that follow a complex, modular template inspired by early twentieth-century Art Deco lettering.
Varying these smaller contours allowed Berlow to create all of Decovar’s eye-catching effects within one interpolating space. Three skeletal axes control the shapes of Decovar’s stems and hairlines, while seven terminal axes control the shapes of the endings, from rounded corners to slab serifs. Decovar also combines certain parametric axes into “blends,” where the terminals and skeletons are designed to change in tandem. Used together, Decovar’s parametric axes generate a mind-blowing amount of variety.
Developed with the support of Google, Decovar is free and open source. We encourage you to explore the font on GitHub and try it out in Font View or Axis-Praxis. Riff on it. Play with it. Push the format. Think about what you want your variable fonts to do—what you want them to be—in a display setting. Decovar is a work in progress, and this is only the beginning.