Typeface design is a cornerstone of literate cultures, with subliminal power: Typefaces carry the emotions of texts, from formal designs that speak with authority to fun designs that are silly or military or ornate. They are both artistic and functional works, and our ability to share and modify them is important for the same reasons as for software programs.
Sugar is a learning platform that reinvents how computers are used for education. Collaboration, reflection, and discovery are integrated directly into the user interface, and “studio thinking” and “reflective practice” are promoted through Sugar’s clarity of design. Sugar was initially developed by Red Hat and Pentagram with One Laptop per Child, and today is developed by the Sugar Labs community. It now has over 1M users, including every child in Uruguay.
Fonts are fun to make, and Sugar needs a font editor activity so learners can make and modify them for their own tastes and needs.
Each year Google offers paid summer jobs to University students around the world with the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) programme. In 2016 ten students applied to Sugar Labs and Google Summer of Code to make a Sugar font editor. Yash Agarwal’s proposal was accepted, and he will spend about 40 hours a week working on the project during a 3 month coding period over the summer.
Lots of free software Python libraries already exist so this project offers the possibility to make real progress: Shipping a sugar activity to draw letters, export fonts, and then use them immediately in other activities like write or paint. Stretch goals could include color fonts, drawing letters with expanded strokes or Spiro splines or turtle-art, and inventing algorithms to automate the repetitive aspects of typeface design.