AnyType: Provoking Reflection and Exploration with Aesthetic Interaction

Laura Devendorf, Kimiko Ryokai
ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (2013)


AnyType is a mobile application that generates unique typefaces from photographs of shapes that people find in their environment. In keeping with the principles of aesthetic interaction, the design of AnyType supports opportunities for surprise, storytelling, and expression. This paper presents data collected from two observational studies of AnyType. In both studies, we found that people appropriated the application to create highly personalized messages. They found inspiration in unexpected locations, created memories from nuanced details in their lives, and creatively explored the design space provided by the system. Drawing from our observations, we discuss possible roles mobile devices could play in people’s personal meaning-making, creative process, and discovery, in interaction with elements of their physical environment.