Provoking Reflection and Exploration with Aesthetic Interaction

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. Our paper discussing AnyType presents data collected from two observational studies. 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.


Laura Devendorf and Kimiko Ryokai. 2013. AnyType: Provoking Reflection and Exploration with Aesthetic Interaction. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '13 - Best Paper Honorable Mention)

Laura Devendorf and Kimiko Ryokai. 2012. AnyType: creating typography from anything, anywhere. In Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp '12)


San Francisco Urban Prototyping Festival, Open Call Selection

New Mobile App Turns you Environment into a Personalized Typeface, UC Berkeley School of Information Website

Android Release

We plan to release the app on the Android marketplace as soon as we are able to devote some time to bug fixing and optimization. Let's hope for Summer '13. For those who might be technically inclinded and interested in working with the existing AnyType code, feel free to fork the project on GitHub.


This project is a collaboration between Laura Devendorf (PhD Student) and Kimiko Ryokai (Assistant Professor) at the UC Berkeley School of Information. If you have any questions about the project, please email ldevendorf (at)