AI generated fonts get roasted on Twitter

AI-generated fonts
(Image credit: Word-As-Image/Future)

It was the most contentious topic in the world of art and design in 2022, and it seems AI is set to enjoy the same dubious honour this year. From the copyright-related ethics of text-to-image generators to claims that the tech is inherently prejudiced, AI is surrounded by controversy. Enter: AI generated fonts.

An AI scientist has shared what they claim to be a "huge upgrade" for font design. Word-As-Image is an AI-powered Stable Diffusion tool designed to present a visualisation of the meaning of the word, while also preserving its readability. But judging by the response on Twitter, you shouldn't abandon our list of the best free fonts just yet.

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Jim Fan, a NVIDIA AI scientist, shared a link to a paper presenting Word-As-Image. Fan describes the technique as "pretty sophisticated," with a "differentiable rasterizer" (we've all got one of those, right?) that allows gradient to propagate from the rendered pixels back to the original shape parameters. In other words, it turns letters into the object the word is describing without abandoning the shape of the letter.

But since typography design is such a complex and creative art form, the concept isn't going down a storm with designers on Twitter. Many have critiqued the legibility and accessibility of the text, while others simply can't work out what problem the tech is attempting to solve.

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Indeed, perhaps more than most 'tech vs art' questions in the realm of AI, this one seems to strike at the centre of the debate. It's certainly impressive to see how the tool can turn letters into certain objects whilst (vaguely) retaining their original form, as many have pointed out, the whole thing seems to lack a basic level of artistry.

From AI art scooping 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 specific artists' styles, AI art is causing all manner of disturbance online. Indeed, even Adobe recently offered a message for creatives worried about the rise of AI art.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.