How it's Made: GenType Alphabet Creator

JUN 10, 2024
Trudy Painter Creative Lab is a place to push the boundaries of what generative AI can do. It’s a place to explore unique visual aesthetics, delightful interactions, and new ways to use AI tools.

One of our newest experiments in the series is GenType. This tool uses generative AI to create an alphabet out of anything you want.

Idea Spark

One of our teammates is a parent to young children, and wanted to use Imagen to help his children learn the alphabet. He generated letters from objects that his child was familiar with, making the learning more fun and visual. The video below is the result of his experiments.

We loved this inventive way to use generative AI, and were delighted with results from Imagen of individual letters made out of fun (and unexpected) materials.

This alphabet-centric use case sparked the question: What if we could create a tool that generates an entire alphabet from a single user input?

How we made it: Building Using the Imagen 2 API

We made GenType using Google’s Imagen model, and a simple prompt recipe. Each letter of an alphabet is generated following the prompt recipe

The letter “{letter}” made out of {prompt}

Our prompt recipe for GenType

For example, this “A” was generated just with the prompt

The letter “A” made out of grape jelly, on toast, aerial shot

Example output for “A” made out of grape jelly on toast

The GenType tool is clever because it takes a single input from the user and turns it into a full alphabet of 26 letters.

Here's how it works:

  1. User Input: You tell the tool what material or object you want to use. For example, you could type in “grape jelly, on toast, aerial shot.”

2. Prompt Recipe: The tool then uses this input to create each letter of the alphabet from A to Z. It makes a separate request for each letter using a format like this: "The letter 'A' made out of grape jelly, on toast, aerial shot."

3. Automation: Instead of making one request at a time, GenType automates this process. It sends out 26 requests, one for each letter, all from your initial input of “grape jelly, on toast, aerial shot”. The result is a complete set of unique letters, all consistent with the theme you chose.

By giving GenType one simple input, you get a whole set of creative, customized letters. This makes it super easy to watch an idea turn into an entire alphabet!

Diagram of the 26 requests sent for the input “grape jelly, on toast, photoreal, aerial shot”

Here's what you can do with the GenType tool after creating your letters:

  1. Type out phrases: With your custom letters, you can spell out anything you like, from your name to a special birthday message.

2. Save and Copy: You can save your favorite phrases, the entire custom alphabet, or individual letters. You can also copy them to use in other applications.

3. Regenerate Letters: If you're not satisfied with how a particular letter turned out, you can regenerate it using the same prompt to try for a different style or look.

“Want to get lunch” spelled out using a generated alphabet of “grape jelly, on toast, aerial shot”

Recipe for an Awesome Alphabet Generation

As with most instances of image generation, specificity is key to success. In particular, when generating multiple images in a similar style, being clear and particular helps maintain a consistent aesthetic throughout your entire alphabet.

A breakdown of our prompt recipe for GenType
Diagram of the foreground, background, and style in the prompt “Ladybugs, on a green leaf, aerial photo”

Consistent alphabet prompts usually have a strong combination of three qualities: foreground, background, and style.

  1. Foreground - What are your letters made out of?

Specify the letterform, for example ”Ladybugs”

2. Background: What is the background of each letter?

Describe the backdrop, such as ”on a green leaf”

3. Style: What’s the overall look of each letter?

Define the aesthetic such as “aerial photo”

All together, our alphabet prompt ”Ladybugs, on a green leaf, aerial photo” produces a consistent alphabet.

Out in the Wild

GenType is designed to be flexible in its use cases, helping users to spend less time processing, and more time creating. And on our team, it's already been embraced in a wide range of use cases – from making jewelry, to designing unique title sequences, to brainstorming new type designs, and to add an original touch to event invites and posters

The bigger your imagination, the more useful the tool becomes.

Try it Out

You can play with GenType at:

A Final Note About GenType

As new technology, AI can feel overwhelming and intimidating. However, it has the potential to become much more accessible, even playful and fun. A tool like GenType is a small part of creating a world where AI can empower creativity as much as it does technological progress. Overall, we hope tools like GenType help enable people to explore ideas they might not otherwise have had the tools to before.

Submit Your Experiment

Google has released an open call for more submissions for experiments like GenType. If you have something fun you’ve made, please submit it to be featured on Google welcomes submissions ranging from a video to a game to tools to an experimental interface – anything that makes AI more approachable and fun.