Code as icon and infinite bitmaps that scale

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While still thinking about typefaces on screen, I’ve been trying to remember a small part of a presentation that I saw from Marissa Mayer at the AIGA National Design Conference in Memphis a couple months ago. One slide that I thought I had do with an icon and how by turning it into tiny square vectors there were able to improve the page load considerably. While I can’t remember word for word what she said, looking at the image above it seems like things became much more efficient by not using a graphic, but by using code to create tiny squares to build a shape. It looks like a bitmap and shows some of the same properties, but differs in that there a bit of contrasting color to make the icon feel smoother when it’s displayed at a small size. It’s a concept that I haven’t been able to find much info on.

So why did I choose to display some bitmap g’s below the first slide? To be honest I just like using bitmaps when ever I can which unfortunately isn’t too often. Obviously people like smooth text but there’s something pretty smart about a vector shape that can scale infinitely larger or smaller and not degrade is form. Sure it doesn’t look pretty to some people at big sizes, and the level of enjoying something that reads in pure geometric form could be questioned, but as an exercise it seemed like a good idea to explore. Plus I think it would make for a great poster.

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