12/12/2017

AtF Spark

 

The world’s first code-free typeface for creating in-text charts.

Why not make data visualisation a feature in your writing? Using the new font, AtF Spark, even non-coding journalists can add charts to their headlines and graphs to their texts.

Previously, these kinds of tiny in-text charts, known as Sparklines, have always required code. Driven by a desire to make Sparklines’ more accessible, AtF Spark’s creator, After the flood, undertook to simplify their application so that non-coding journalists can also take advantage of them.

“Generalist users want a way in. The trouble with headlines is that they are often text-only. The actual visual evidence is data, which is never included in the headline. The evidence point is always relegated to a click away, making the assertion in the headline less convincing,” they explain on their website.

“AtF Spark is a font that allows for the combination of text and visual data to show an idea and evidence in one headline. This builds on the principle of Sparklines defined by Edward Tufte and makes them easier to use. Sparklines are currently available as plugins or javascript elements. By installing the Spark font you can use them immediately without the need for custom code.”

To use the font, all you need is a font file, some text, and an application that can make use of OpenType Contextual Alternates. Examples include up-to-date web browsers, Microsoft Word, and Adobe Illustrator.

Then, data needs to be formatted as comma-separated values, with curly brackets at both ends of the set, like this: {30,60,90}. Type your test around these brackets and, once you’re done, change the font to AtF Spark to create your in-text graphs.

For example, 123{30,60,90}456 becomes: 

You can get AtF Spark’s source code and font files on GitHub here.

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