Today, The Verge published an article that detailed how a large design company, Hoefler & Co., was able to use algorithms to create a new font called Obsidian:
They designed an algorithm which would rapidly light the 3D typeface and create the shadows necessary to show dimension. Because Obsidian was created in a virtual environment capable of simulating light on any letter in the set, the designers were freed from the task of painstakingly drawing shadows on each character.
To be fair, the algorithm did not create the font on its own but was rather an iterative albeit significant change on an existing font. And the algorithm can't be used on other fonts ... yet.
The algorithm does fall short on one important mark: multiple use. Hoefler says the next challenge is how to re-use the algorithm without creating the same font. Because Obsidian's dimensions are computer-generated, its gradients are made up of digitally pinpointed pixels, not hand-crafted shadows, leaving less room for unique variations.
Still pretty awesome. Read more about it here!