Last year Mathieu Christe and Berton Hasebe wrote a very thorough article detailing the general day to day of the Type and Media masters program. With this article we hope to outline an historical overview of the course and provide a brief look at the final project typefaces from the 08/09 class.
Type Design at KABK
The Type and Media masters program has a long history at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague. The roots of the program can be traced back to Gerrit Noordzij’s Letter Programme within the graphic design department at KABK during the 1970s. Some of Noordzij’s students during that time were Petr van Blokland, Erik van Blokland, Frank Blokland, Jelle Bosma, Luc(as) de Groot, Christoph Noordzij, Peter Matthias Noordzij, Albert-Jan Pool, Just van Rossum and Peter Verheul.
The course that began as a foundation in type design evolved by the early 1990s into the Postgraduate Course in Typography and Type Design. Alumni of that era include Akiem Helmling, Bas Jacobs and Sami Kortemäki (collectively known as Underware), Paul van der Laan, Eyal Holtzman, Albert Pinggera, Corina Cotorobai, Jarno Lukkarila and Pieter van Rosmalen.
In 2002, the Type and Media program officially started in its present incarnation. Currently, the ten-month course is divided into two distinct parts, and limited to eleven students a year. The first five months comprise eight different weekly classes that expose students to numerous fundamental aspects of the type design process. The second half of the course is focused mainly on the development of individual final projects.
One of the aspects of the course that is most well known is the tradition of calligraphy classes as a foundational component of the course. Three types of writing are explored: pointed pen with Erik van Blokland, broad nib with Frank Blokland, and brush calligraphy with Peter Verheul. The primary focus of the calligraphy classes is to learn the basic rules of contrast, the structure of the letter, and to attain a sensitivity towards spacing. This part of the course is based around the legacy and teaching method of Gerrit Noordzij, and while many of the current teachers were at one point students of Noordzij, each teacher has a unique view on the application of Noordzij’s theories.