Samsa is a web app that visualizes how variable fonts (VF) work. Type designers, font developers, front end developers and others can use Samsa to open VFs, then inspect VF glyph outlines and other data as they explore the VF designspace using sliders and other UI controls.
Samsa-Core can also output static TrueType (TTF) fonts, and the Samsa web app provides export of static TTFs from any designspace location. (Note: These are not production ready.)
Also provided are a command-line utility, Samsa-CLI (
samsa-cli.js, for execution via Node.js), and a simple browser VF polyfill, Samsa-Polyfill,
samsa-polyfill.js. These are both very short scripts that depend on the Samsa-Core library.
- Samsa is the main web app.
- Samsa-CLI is a command-line utility for generating static instances from VFs. It is executed using Node.js.
- Samsa-Polyfill is a demo that uses Samsa-Core to implement a VF polyfill in browsers.
There are several ways to try Samsa:
- Visit www.axis-praxis.org/samsa
- Download the repository and double-click
- This works fine for drag-drop usage, but does not allow fonts to be loaded from a server.
- Download the files and install on a web server
- You can make a symbolic link from index.html to samsa-gui.html or simply rename samsa-gui.html to index.html
fonts/_fontlist_.jsonto make fonts available from the
fontsfolder on your server.
The Samsa project grew out of:
- 2017 work to write a VF browser polyfill
- 2017–2018 work to extend Axis-Praxis in order to visualize what happens inside VFs as designspace location changes
An early version of the VF polyfill was demo’d at TYPO Labs 2017 [video]. The visualization project took a separate development path from Axis-Praxis, and an early version of Samsa was demo’d at TGA Raabs 2017 and TYPO Labs 2018.
With support from Google Fonts in 2019, Samsa now has numerous fixes and other improvements including a new UI, and is released under the Apache-2.0 license.
The name Samsa comes from Gregor Samsa, the protagonist of Franz Kafka’s story, The Metamorphosis.
Feedback and contributions (UI ideas, feature ideas, code) are welcome. Please use the GitHub issues system to report bugs and to suggest improvements.