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Axis-Praxis celebrates first birthday and asks: what do you think so far?

Posted 1 November, 2017

Axis-Praxis is celebrating its first birthday this week. At the same time as officially launching Axis-Praxis 2, we thought we’d ask font makers, font engineers and font users if they’d write a few lines in review. We got lots of responses — thanks for them all! You can read them below. Please add your own comments by emailing or tweeting at @axis_praxis.

— cheers, Laurence

Emoji birthday cake

❝ Axis-Praxis has probably done more to promote and demonstrate the potential of variable fonts technology than any other single resource. It is both engagingly fun for anyone to play with and practically useful for font developers. ❞
— John Hudson, Tiro Typeworks, Oct 27

❝ Axis-Praxis is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to understand what Variable Fonts can do and how they can work, with a remarkable variety of pre-made fonts. It makes a great vehicle for demos. It is also a fabulous tool for type designers looking for quick ways to test their own fonts. Many of us at FontLab use it all the time! ❞
— Tom Phinney, FontLab CEO, Oct 27

❝ Variable fonts are now over a year old and my #1 favorite demo site is Axis-Praxis — loving the new introduction page 🌋🤘⛷️ ❞
— Dave Crossland, Google Fonts, Oct 27

❝ Axis-Praxis is an amazing place to experience and play with Variable Fonts. Variable Fonts to many are a new concept, which is not so easy to understand. Thanks to Axis-Praxis, introducing designers, web developers and other font users to Variable Fonts is easy and fun. ❞
— Marianna Paszkowska, Font Engineer at Monotype, Oct 27

❝ As a fellow web developer, I can tell that Laurence has put a tremendous amount of work into Axis-Praxis. He is undoubtedly one of the most knowledgeable people in the world about the practical use of variable fonts! ❞
— Chris Lewis, web developer, Oct 27

❝ Axis-Praxis is a wonderful way to introduce variable fonts to someone. It shows both technology and — thanks to the typographic community — a lot of great examples. Thank you Laurence! ❞
— Alexandra Korolkova, ParaType, Oct 27

❝ Axis-Praxis was the first, and it is still the best place to quickly and easily test out your variable font development. Drag & drop, click & drag, test & proof. What more can you ask for, all right in your browser?! ❞
— Tom Rickner, Director of the Monotype Studio, Oct 27

❝ Axis-Praxis has been an invaluable tool in testing, exploring, and educating about variable fonts over the past year. Every talk, every workshop, every article I’ve written has utilized that site. Laurence has been such a huge part of my own learning and exploration (and more recently even teaching in person together at ATypI Montreal, which was a real treat!)—I can’t imagine having had to do all this without it! ❞
— Jason Pamental, designer, strategist, tinkerer & typographer, Oct 27

❝ Axis-Praxis has been invaluable for demonstrating the flexibility and possibilities of variable fonts. I frequently use it in presentations and as a quick test-bed for new ideas. ❞
— Rob McKaughan, Microsoft, Oct 27

❝ I’ve followed this project from day one and I should admit that most of the news on the subject of variable fonts come from it. To be honest I don’t need it for playing with fonts, but I’m super interested in each update. Congratulations to Laurence! And let’s all have fun! ❞
— Ilya Ruderman, co-founder of, Oct 27

❝ It’s hard to believe that Axis-Praxis is one year old already! It has been great to use this tool to experiment with early variable fonts, to test those that I’ve made, and to see what others are doing! Looking forward to year #2! ❞
— David Jonathan Ross, Oct 28

❝ Underware 😍 AP — Axis-Praxis = Ⓐ + 🕺 + 👀 = ❢ ❞
— Bas Jacobs, Underware, Oct 28

❝ Axis-Praxis is the first and still one of the best tools to test and view Variable Fonts. ❞
— Veronika Burian, Type Together, Oct 28

❝ What would we do without Axis-Praxis? It’s been at our service since the first days of variable fonts, and still it is the premier location for all variable needs: Test and validate our own fonts, check browser compatibility, or simply get inspired by great fonts and nice showings. Happy birthday Axis-Praxis, and many thanks Laurence for your tireless commitment! ❞
— Christoph Koeberlin, Oct 28

❝ Wow!? Axis-Praxis is 1?! It seems like only yesterday it was burping up unregistered axes on my shoulder. Since it stopped that, it’s been an invaluable place not just to test Font Bureau’s published variable fonts, but also to distribute those fonts, link to their repositories so people so look inside those fonts, and of course test other experimental variations. And that’s all besides the variable things Laurence himself does... So Happy Birthday to both of you! ❞
— David Berlow, Font Bureau and Type Network, Oct 28

❝ I demonstrated three Axis-Praxis pages (in Chrome) yesterday in my talk at View Source London. Super useful. ❞
— Chris Lilley, W3C, Oct 28

❝ Axis-Praxis is super useful, one of the consistent benchmarks in the past year for showing the current status of variable fonts, and for testing them. ❞
— Petr van Blokland, Oct 29

❝ Web and application support for variable fonts will remain limited for some time to come, so a tool that allows unlimited exploration of variable font features is crucial for font developers and early-adopter users. I’m delighted that Laurence Penney stepped up to offer this invaluable service and has continued to keep it abreast of the latest developments. ❞
— David Lemon, former Senior Manager, Adobe Type Development, Oct 30

❝ Axis-Praxis is at the forefront of variable font technology on the web, and since day one it’s been the default platform where you go to test variable fonts. Simple, useful, and fun. ❞
— Toshi Omagari, Oct 30

❝ Variable fonts are a difficult concept for some people. With this app, Laurence Penney has made it all very understandable and even fun! ❞
— Roger Black, Type Network, Oct 30

❝ Happy Birthday to Axis-Praxis! The site has been a great champion of variable fonts from early on and has been a wonderful resource for seeing what’s possible with the new format. Keep up the excellent work.  ❞
— CJ Dunn, Oct 30

❝ OpenType Font Variations is an exciting technology, with great potential for better typography on the Web. The Axis-Praxis site has been an invaluable resource to explore capabilities of variable fonts and of the CSS extensions for using variable fonts on the Web. ❞
— Peter Constable, Senior Program Manager, Windows Graphics Platform, Microsoft, Oct 31

❝ When it comes to a new technology like Variable Fonts, the proof is in the pudding. The great thing about Axis-Praxis is that it, figuratively speaking, has so much pudding—it’s overflowing with pudding. It really makes the practical and theoretical benefits to Variable Fonts obvious and really easy to grasp. Just don’t try and grasp literal pudding with your hands, some form of utensil would work better for that. I guess what I’m saying is that Axis-Praxis is kind of like a spoon that makes the proof pudding easy to grasp. Is this metaphor still working? ❞
— Zach Leatherman, web developer at Filament Group, Oct 31

❝ Laurence Penney is doing excellent work with Axis-Praxis. Best way to grasp variable fonts is to try them:  ❞
— Tim Brown, Head of Typography for Adobe Type and Typekit, Oct 31

❝ Axis-Praxis has been the go to reference in many ways during our implementation of variable fonts in Microsoft Edge. We have used it for testing as well as using it as a teaching tool, to show colleagues and partners, the value add and power that variable fonts brings to the web. Truly a wonderful tool, thank you for building it. ❞
— Greg Whitworth, Microsoft Edge, Oct 31

❝ Since its inception, Axis-Praxis has become synonymous with Variable Fonts demo. At Google, we use it regularly to explain what Variable Fonts are and what they are capable of. We cannot thank Laurence enough for making this tool and maintaining it. Thank you! ❞
— Behdad Esfahbod, Fonts & Text Rendering Tech Lead, Google, Oct 31

❝ Axis-Praxis helped to get variable fonts into the real world. Best web tool for showing and testing VF. My thanks-axis is on max Lorp! ❞
— Thom Janssen, Oct 31

❝ Happy birthday Axis-Praxis!!! 🎂 And congratulations, Laurence! :-) Now, when do I use Axis-Praxis? Whenever I want to test any browser or font variable font capability. Or just to check info about the latest news of variable fonts in the blog (especially browser support). Or just to grab some sliders ;-) I think that it’s a very handy tool to check quickly the behaviour of a font and its support in the different browsers. Plus I think that you have kind of hosted the rise and shine of variable fonts from its beginning. It makes Axis-Praxis the natural place to go when it comes to variable fonts. I can only speak for me but I think I’m not the only one to have been compulsively checking Axis-Praxis on any browser update, hoping to not see the “pop-up of variable death”, during all of the last year. Also the fact that you’re showcasing and regularly adding new variable fonts being released makes me check from time to time if there is some new one. It’s very nice to see things evolving and what people are doing. :-) I think that Axis-Praxis played a good part in gathering and sharing the effervescence around variable fonts by making the technology visible and usable from the very beginning. ❞
— Baptiste Guesnon, Nov 1

❝ For font engineers working on variable font projects, Axis-Praxis is an indispensable tool to easily test your creations on multiple platforms. And playing with the ever-growing collection of featured fonts is a lot of fun, too! ❞
— Jens Kutílek, type engineer at LucasFonts, Nov 1

❝ I first saw Axis-Praxis while we were preparing the second edition of Automatic Type Design in Nancy, when Laurence gave us a preview of the new tool he would present at the conference. Since then I use it regularly to test variable fonts, to discover new creations and new features, and to check the compatibility of browsers. Axis-Praxis has been an important resource for discovering the potential of variable fonts during a year rich in novelties. I can’t wait to see what will come next year. ❞
— Thomas Huot-Marchand, ANRT Nancy, Nov 1

❝ There’s few sliders I slid with more pleasure than those on . Happy birthday Axis-Praxis, #1 variable font demo site! ❞
— Roel Nieskens, Nov 2

❝ While maps are typically multi-dimensional, Laurence’s interest is in one-dimensional maps. While fonts have been typically one-dimensional, Laurence’s interest is in multi-dimensional fonts. So it’s very fitting that Axis-Praxis is not just a great variable font previewer — it’s also becoming a wonderful playground for both the variable fonts themselves and for different methods in which users can interact with them. Design spaces of the typographic variety deserve exploration, and Axis-Praxis does what Laurence does best: explore spaces. Ask for a variable horse, and you’ll get Axis-Praxis, a Kingdom of Variable t[o|y]pography. ❞
— Adam Twardoch, FontLab, Nov 3

❝ At Glyphs, we have been using Axis-Praxis from day one. It has proven to be an essential tool not only for testing Variable Fonts, especially in our type design workshops, but also for explaining the technology to new audiences. ❞
— Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer, Glyphs, Nov 3

❝ Maya Angelou says you can’t use up creativity; the more you use, the more you have. Axis-Praxis is just that, a space for creativity to expand and grow. I love it!! ❞
— Sahar Afshar, Nov 8