Beowolf was drawn and engineered in 1989 – the dawn of digital typography. It was part of the first release of the then-new FontFont library.
Beowolf demonstrated that digital fonts are data and code, and therefore instructions that can modify themselves. It was a collaboration between Just van Rossum and Erik van Blokland and was heralded in their publication “LettError”.
The article for Emigré 18 in 1991 explores the ideas of the RandomFont.
A modern version of Beowolf, now in compatible OpenType format can be licensed at FontFont.com. These fonts do not contain the original random instructions: the modern font format just does not allow for such silliness. However, we used the original PostScript fonts to generate 10 alternative shapes for each glyph in the font. These are mixed up by an OpenType feature so complex it had to be written by another program.
Together with 22 other typeface families, The Museum of Modern Art acquired FontFont Beowolf in 2011 for its Architecture and Design collection.
MoMA Architecture and Design