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Its actually not. I think we might have mentioned about that we increased the x-height which generally improves (to a point) the legibility. I'm not sure if its possible with variable fonts, or if its actually something you would want to be variable.
It's unfortunate that CJK and many other other script types don't get that much custom typography love, especially on web because of the technical/load time challenges (a single Chinese font file can be close 10mb which causes problems for apps and specially for websites). We would hope to find some solution this. One example was Google's optimized delivery system for Korean fonts that was based on the natural usage of the language whew more common characters would be downloaded first.
We do have plans to bring Cereal to other script types too, but it will take some time.
Depending what you mean by per seat pricing a.) number of machines that have the font installed b) number of users viewing the font through your app/site. In our case, we would need both, but the issue mostly comes from b), since our userbase is so large. We cannot follow the regular pricing, but need to have a custom contract with a foundry. Needless to say that is not exactly free, so the pricing definitely plays in to the consideration do you buy(create) vs rent.
Creating your own typeface will also give you other benefits, such as you can exactly get what you want, and you modify or make changes if you want to.
Thank you Tony!
One of the people involved in the project and answering questions in the article. Happy to answer more questions here!
Also wrote the case study on integrating it to our UI: https://airbnb.design/working-type/
Its not actually that hard to do if you google: google spreadsheet json. You basically publish the spreadsheet in json, the website fetches it and renders the content
Read more about why we built Lottie on Airbnb Design http://airbnb.design/introducing-lottie/
In the second paragraph on announcement it reads "As with last year’s winners, we’re highlighting specific aspects of Material Design used in creating apps which satisfy their users while appropriately expressing their brand.". I think the intention with Material Design, as many other design/ui systems (ie Bootstrap, iOS), is to provide a framework, not necessarily a design solution you need apply as is.
On the Airbnb app we actually do use some of the material design components and guidelines but have styled them to fit our brand.
Related to this, I answered some questions yesterday about the system here in DN. https://www.designernews.co/stories/69628--ama-karri-saarinen-designer--creating-design-systems-at-airbnb
I think it’s definitely a challenge to try to build the system at the same time as product work is happening. In our case, we kind of tried to minimize it by doing and releasing the system in a short timescale (months).
However, I think is entirely possible and overall easier approach to just build the system over time, and understand that there will be an transition period, where certain things are in the system, and some are not. If you can just get all the new experiences created using the system, over time you should be in a good spot.
If I would design a new product own my own, would a build a design system first? This is actually a question I’ve been thinking about as well. In a way it’s like a chicken and egg problem. It’s hard to create system if you don’t know what you’re building, and it’s hard to define the system after you have already build a lot.
After design and building several products, I do now see value of defining a simple system early on. Just even to restrict yourself. I’ve personally spend countless of hours of tweaking margins, types and color, trying to come up the best possible view for an app I can for an app. While do think craft and pixel perfection is important, in the end it won’t usually make or break your company. The wholistic experience and the value you can create to your users always trumps the pixels.
Most likely I’d try take some hybrid approach. Once I would have general idea of the style and structure of the app, I’d start defining basic things like spacings, type sizes, colors. Are there certain patterns and parts that could be re-used? Name them and define them. Rinse and repeat and try to stick to the system you created, so you can use your time for thinking about other things.
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