When it comes to writing content online, there’s always the problem of giving readers the context that they need so they can be able to actually grasp the impact of data, numbers, and facts in your story. After the Flood, a design studio based in London, created "AtF Spark," which is typeface aimed at helping journalists, bloggers, and writers solve this particular issue.
The "spark" of the name of the font is from "sparklines," which is an idea from Edward Tufte, a data visualization expert. It's where a type of graph is included in a text of a story in order to communicate exactly how big the change between two numbers is. It's also to give you a quick data, so you can back up a point that you are trying to make.
If you have been going through financial publications as of late, you may have seen them as they are now included in their sites. AtF spark is being used to show the recent performance of stocks that are mentioned in stories.
Before, this type of application would require a certain amount of coding knowledge, which is why sparklines used to be outside a typical writer's reach. Fortunately, After the Flood gave us an OpenType file that will allow you to use it if you are capable of dragging and dropping files from the downloads folder into the fonts folder.
This is how it works:
After you type in two numbers that you want to appear in your post just like how you normally would, the numbers that you intend to turn into points of a graph will be placed in between curly brackets. You may think of it like putting a set of data between your graph's two endpoints. Then, all you need to do next simply change the numbers or the font to AtF Spark.
Below is a before and after photo, so you know how it will look like.
Max Gadney, a designer and the founder of After the Flood, told Fast Company that they intended the font to be utilized in headlines in order for the enormity of a particular set of data to be communicated to the people who are scrolling past stories on their feed.
"One way of grabbing attention is to present the evidence right there and then, and not one click away," said Gadney. "It was hard to present the visual evidence in headlines because it needs to be coded or it's a graphic, which means it's not possible for you to embed it in a feed. This is the reason why we smuggled in Spark as a font, instead of a code or graphic."
AtF Spark, in reality, is not just a mere font because it’s a brand new user interface. It creates UI, which will allow anyone from editors and reporters to writers and students to include data visualization to their work.
They can do so without taking the time to learn coding or making graphics. This means data visualizations can be created effortlessly and with nothing aside from the tools that you're already using when typing.