Former Google Developers Launch Synthetic Image AI Startup Ideogram With $16.5M Raise and Typography Focus

Former Google Brain researchers have launched a new synthetic media AI startup called Ideogram with a $16.5 million funding round led by Andreeson Horowitz and Index Ventures. Ideogram has created a free web-based text-to-image generator with notable writing skills and apparently no fear of copyright lawsuits, judging from the number of images with Minions, superheroes, and other corporate-owned creations.

Ideogram Calligraphy

Ideogram users write out their image prompt and then select whether they want the images to be landscape, portrait, or square-shaped. They can either describe the style and look they want or select one or more of the buttons with suggestions provided by Ideogram. There’s a “typography” category, alluding to Ideogram’s goal for better text rendering. Each prompt leads produces four variations, with the option to make any of them the ‘parent image’ for a new prompt if the user likes it but wants to further refine the result. Ideogram produced the image at the top of the page from the prompt, “Three happy robots facing the camera and holding up a banner that reads “We Love Voicebot.” You can see the others below.

Ideogram has a flair for legible typography, an issue the startup’s founders partly created the company to address, as the name hints. Coherent lettering is in high demand but often difficult for otherwise impressive synthetic image generators to accomplish. Ideogram looks to leapfrog rivals by delivering readable lettering on signs, apparel, posters, and more. While lacking the editing or uploading options of Midjourney, Adobe Firefly, OpenAI’s DALL-E,  and other potential rivals, Ideogram’s specialization and funding highlight investor enthusiasm for pushing boundaries in AI creativity. As generative AI image generators proliferate, startups addressing specific weaknesses like typography may best position themselves competitively. Ideogram will need to prove its advantages as more generators emerge, but focusing on typography appears savvy given common existing limitations.

“This technology is transforming visual expression—we’ll be able to communicate our ideas in visual form much more easily. The ability for anyone to quickly generate video, the highest-quality photos, game assets, marketing clips, or 3D content will soon be at our fingertips,” Ideogram CEO Mohammad Norouzi wrote in a statement. “Our kids will see their wildest dreams come to life in front of them, and we’ll be able to generate personalized educational videos and animations. AI will help humans become orders of magnitude more creative.”

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