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Swift strokes and sampled constructs (Pt. 1)

Swift strokes and sampled constructs (Pt. 1)

Unlike the flowing, balletic movements of hand-rendered letterforms, there is nothing swift in typographic forms. Intentionally arranging typeforms is slow, staged, expensive, and always deliberate. Typeface-making invites reflection, discussion, and review. Typefaces will stretch the limits of their encoding technologies to maximise the potential to act as agents of design discourse, cultural commentary, innovation and experimentation. This observation applies across typemaking and typesetting technologies -- any variations we perceive are a factor of the number of people working on making typefaces, and the ease with which people can make one more typeface.
(This is a self-contained lecture, but part of a longer narrative; therefore the “Part 1” in the title here.)

Gerry Leonidas

June 14, 2015
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  1. ISType | 13 June 2015
    Swift strokes and sampled constructs

    Gerry Leonidas

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  2. dedicated to Richard Southall

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  3. “Developing a new design 

    the designer is concerned primarily 

    with the appearance 0f character images, 

    and only secondarily with the shape 

    of the objects that give rise to them.”
    Richard Southall

    Shape and appearance in typeface design

    PROTEXT III, 1986

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  4. De Aetna 1496/97 (+ previous slide)

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  5. Character appearance space:
    the object identifiable as the 

    character it represents.

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  6. all possible 

    renderings 

    of a shape
    all possible 

    associations 

    by the reader
    designer
    intention

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  7. Walbaum 6 and 10 pt metal, 

    and Monotype T1 digital.

    Left shapes from: Harry Carter

    Optical scale in typefounding

    Typography 4, 1937

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  8. Where is the typeface?

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  9. Punches in the Plantin-Moretus

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  10. Matrices in the Plantin-Moretus

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  11. Engraving 

    for the 

    romain du roi

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  12. Legros & Grant, 1916

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  13. Linotype & 

    Machinery

    drawing, 1943

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  14. Richard Southall:
    “models” and “patterns”

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  15. “models” and “instances”
    Redefined to avoid the overlap 

    of “pattern” with hot-metal use, 

    and Alexander’s “pattenr language”

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  16. model instance
    [Designer’s intentions realised]

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  17. model instance
    instance
    instance
    [One typeface, many outputs]

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  18. model
    encoded

    object
    instance
    instance
    instance
    [One typeface, encoded in one 

    technology, many outputs]

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  19. model
    encoded

    object
    instance
    instance
    instance
    encoded

    object instance
    instance
    [One typeface, encoded in many technologies, 

    many potential outputs]

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  20. model
    encoded

    object
    instance
    instance
    instance
    typographic
    notions
    [What gives form to the models 

    in the designer’s mind?]

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  21. No discussion of typefaces 

    is worth having 

    independently of the typography 

    that makes use of them.

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  22. The things you can readily measure 

    are not necessarily the things 

    that are worth measuring.

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  23. Gerrit Noordzij

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  24. “The crux of the matter is that 

    type is not pen-written forms, 

    but sharply-cut letters.”
    Sem L. Hartz

    An approach to designing type, 1992

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  25. We reflect, research, discuss, theorise.

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  26. William Morris and Edward Johnston

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  27. Stanley 

    Morison

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  28. “The only alternative is a sloped type 

    sufficiently inclined to be differentiated 

    from the primary type, yet following its 

    design as closely as possible.”
    Stanley Morison

    Towards an ideal italic

    The Fleuron, 1926

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  29. Herbert Bayer

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  30. Type derives from a slow, iterative,
    deliberate process.

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  31. Sketches by Marian Misiak

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  32. From Gerard Unger, 

    “Design of a typeface” in

    Visible Language VIII no 2, 1979

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  33. From Gerard Unger, 

    “Design of a typeface” in

    Visible Language VIII no 2, 1979

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  34. From Richard Southall, 

    “Metafont in the Rockies” 

    in RIDT, 1998

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  35. Emigre no 40

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  36. “It is a safe rule that he should do nothing 

    without a correct understanding of the 

    design of the letters, or having good models 

    before him to allow him to catch the 

    fashion of them, and to make such 

    alterations as he thinks necessary.”
    Fournier, quoted in Counterpunch

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  37. Why is this discussion important?

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  38. 1. Font-making environments 

    are commoditised

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  39. 2. The added value of design is redefined 

    away from the visible acts of practice

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  40. 3. A typeface does not contain enough
    information to explain itself.

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  41. adhesifny
    adhesifny
    EssayText by Ellmer Stefan

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  42. adhesifny
    adhesifny
    Fenland by Jeremy Tankard

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  43. The rules for evaluation are determined 

    by context: trends, genres, use scenarios, 

    and the allowance for creativity.

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  44. “Rejection or ignorance of the rich and varied 

    history and traditions of typography are

    inexcusable; however, adherence to traditional 

    concepts without regard to contemporary 

    context is intellectually lazy and a threat 

    to typography today.”
    Jeffery Keedy

    The rules of typography according 

    to crackpots experts. Eye 9, 1993

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  45. Teşekkür ederim
    @gerryleonidas

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  46. “A fashion in type is an encumbrance to the
    reading world until it becomes common.”
    Harry Carter

    The establishment of common idioms

    A view of early typography […], 1926

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