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The design of Variex was a direct result of experiments with creating fonts that made efficient use of computer memory space, a serious consideration in 1988. Two separate outlines are usually needed to describe the delicate shapes of traditional letterforms. Single line “stroke” designs, on the other hand, required far fewer data points. So Licko conceived Variex as a “stroke” design, where each character is defined by a center-line of uniform weight from which the three weights were derived.

In most fonts, horizontal alignment of the x-height is sacred and is usually accomplished with a great deal of adjustments and optical corrections to the individual characters. Variex ignores this idea and emphasizes the opposite in the service of its overall concept. Varying the weight of a stroke typeface changes the thickness around the center line and thus alters the alignment of characters. Variex incorporates these variations of alignment as a distinguishing design element, making adjustments to the center lines unnecessary when changing the weight. As a result, the x-height varies among the three different weights and among the individual characters. This generates a unusual rhythm along the x-height that lends Variex its unique quality.

To further economize data, elements from capitals and lower case letters were combined into a single alphabet eliminating the redundancy of upper and lower case symbols. Although several alternative characters are provided for headline applications where optimal letter combinations are crucial.

By reducing the letterforms of Variex to their most basic alphabetic shapes, Licko has created a series of glyphs that are reminiscent of the powerful gestures of primitive writing hands. As a conceptual font Variex has limited applicability, but when properly employed it will stand out and make a lasting impression.

Type Designers


Emigre Fonts is a digital type foundry and publisher of type specimens and artist books based in Berkeley, California. From 1984 until 2005 Emigre published the legendary Emigre magazine, a quarterly publication devoted to visual communication. The Emigre font library features more than 600 original typefaces, including Mrs Eaves, Brothers, Matrix and Filosofia.

Licensing Information
The full Adobe Fonts library is cleared for both personal and commercial use.

As with everything from Adobe Fonts, you can use these fonts for:

Design Projects

Create images or vector artwork, including logos

Website Publishing

Create a Web Project to add any font from our service to your website


Embed fonts in PDFs for viewing and printing

Video and Broadcast

Use fonts to create in-house or commercial video content

And more…

Visit the Adobe Fonts Licensing  FAQ for full details

Visit Emigre to purchase additional licensing and services, including:
Mobile Apps: Embed fonts in your app UI
Self Hosting: Host web font files on your own server
Custom Services: Request modifications or bespoke fonts directly from the foundry
Volume licensing: Use the fonts across your whole organization
Select font style

How to Use

You may encounter slight variations in the name of this font, depending on where you use it. Here’s what to look for.


In application font menus, this font will display:

{{familyCtrl.selectedVariation.preferred_family_name}} {{familyCtrl.selectedVariation.preferred_subfamily_name}}


To use this font on your website, use the following CSS:

font-family: {{familyCtrl.selectedVariation.family.css_font_stack.replace('"', '').replace('",', ', ')}};
font-style: italicnormal;
font-weight: {{familyCtrl.selectedVariation.font.web.weight}};

Glyph Support & Stylistic Filters

Fonts in the Adobe Fonts library include support for many different languages, OpenType features, and typographic styles.