We propose a new, highly flexible font description method that explicitly describes characters as assemblies of parameterizable shape components. By varying global parameters, we can derive fonts that vary in weight, condensation, and shape. Fonts made of shape components are flexible parameterizable designs, which we can easily adapt to various display and printing conditions (such as condensed font when lacking display space, high-quality optical scaling, adaptation of fonts to existing character metrics). Besides applications related to typeface design, fonts based on parameterizable components may be used in portable devices where memory is scarce. A single parameterizable design and its variations may allow enough flexibility for providing both high-quality antialiased fonts at low resolution and typefaces for high-resolution printing