The name Morisawa & company probably isn’t familiar to a lot of western designers. They are a Japanese company that sells fonts and software for typesetting and have been around since the 1920’s. They have just released the second version in their Font Park online series that is pretty cool.
The original Font Park was a series of 4 Java applications that would let you play with Japanese characters by doing things like dropping them in water, using them as a paint brush or having them form a semi-organic looking tree. This new version, un-originally called Font Park 2.0, continues what was started with the original but takes full advantage of the change from Java to Flash. The site let’s you create artwork by using either Japanese characters or any character you want by entering it into a form field as a brush you can create with. You can use different series of clicks and mouse actions lets you manipulate the characters so they work the way you want them to. Once you have finished your creation you can save it to a gallery where it can view and rated by visitors to the site. The twist that makes it work for me is that the gallery saves your creation process so viewing the art means you see how it was created from a blank canvas to the finished product. The only big miss is that it doesn’t have a mute button because the sound effects can get real old, real fast.
It will be interesting to watch the site and see how it grows and how much work gets created. I have been blown away because since I started writing this entry this morning the amount of work has doubled.