Looking ahead, Noël continues, “what will change is the perception of a typeface being a collection of static styles,” eventually reaching the point where typeface physicality is genuinely a historical relic. “Variable font technology helps to understand a typeface as a typographic space,” he suggests, claiming, “it’s what Adrian Frutiger envisioned with Univers back in the 50s finally fully realised,” whereby fonts have reached their ultimate versatility and practicality. “I don’t see a reason why it won’t become the predominant font format in the future,” Noël notes, and, as Emi suggests, the ‘spectacle’ of variable fonts isn’t quite the juggernaut it once was when the OpenType format was introduced in 2016 but has indeed changed its intention. “They are now being designed for a wide range of contexts, from pragmatic uses to more experimental endeavours,” she explains, offering creatives forward-thinking ways to approach type design and its application across printed and virtual spaces. “Now that the technology exists, there is no going back,” Emi remarks, “their fluid, multidimensional, and animated qualities allow type to take on a more active and central role,” not only creating space for type to be explored in more novel manners but expanding the place of type, in conjunction with other fields and disciplines.
That being said, only time will tell. As Noël puts it, “it’s hard to predict how current experimentations with Variable Font technology will affect future usage,” treating the technology more pragmatically, appreciating its role in typographic readability and legibility. “These still remain key aspects of typography down the line,” he concludes, “so maybe future designers might look back on the current very enthusiastic usage of Variable Font animations and gimmicks as a fad from the 2020s.