Get Fit With Fonts
Welcome to another Sunday Type. Thanks to everyone who has mailed me links. To those who have mailed me questions, please be patient. I have at least 200 unanswered iLT mails, and I’m working through them in my spare time (and there’s not much of that).
Food, good food, is always a good place to start:
one big bullet point
Mathieu and Breton’s article on their experience of KABK’s Type and Media masters course has proven insanely popular. The students at Reading are nearing the end of their masters in Type Design, so hopefully we’ll be hearing from them too.
I’ve spoken here before about the importance of white space, not simply as an element of typography, but as the active ‘void’ that defines it. Just as shadow gives form to objects, so white space, carefully conceived, brings to the page structure, form and order. So, I had to smile when I saw this comic strip:
A year ago, after the ten of us settled in The Hague, we started the Type and Media masters course—excited to begin our education in type design. Expecting to immediately start drawing letters, we were surprised to find that our first course was in Python programming. Though unexpected, it was an appropriate way to begin the semester, as we quickly learned that in type design you need to understand a wide range of different tools, adapting to and preferably making them your own. Understanding as many tools as possible gives one that added flexibility.
Born in Zabok, northwest Croatia, his passion led him to Italy and then on to the Netherlands where he studied type design. Nikola now teaches at the University of Zagreb and the Academy of Art in Split. Among his types are Tempera, Tempera Biblio, Greta Display and Greta Grande (with Peter Bil’ak), and Amalia. He also designed DTL Porta for use in the newspapers of Dutch publisher Wegener. Nikola very kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer some of my questions.
Which letter do you design first?
I don’t really have a letter that I design first. I first think about construction (translation, expansion), proportion, contrast, and then I begin to make sketches in the way that I prefer; it can be a different letter each time, but it’s usually a lowercase letter, and then maybe two caps just to gauge the proportions.
A Year in the Life of…
Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes. iLT is now one year old. During year two I plan to go up a gear, with more contributed pieces, more type history, more great typefaces and inspirational lettering, interviews, more type history, more type tips, book reviews, types in use, and a readers’ questions section. If you have suggestions for content, then let me know.
I mentioned Marian Bantjes’ work for Creative Review last week. Here she is again, with a stunning laser-cut poster:
One Candle on the Cup Cake
It’s a little premature to celebrate iLT’s first birthday, but August 7th marks the day. In the coming weeks I’ll be organising some prizes and competitions as a way of celebrating and thanking you, the reader. I have numerous things planned for iLT in the coming year, so stay tuned.
Let’s get Sunday Type off to a flying start with some bones by Bjorn Johansson:
At the Press of a Button
Thanks to those who read and commented on Ben’s Letterpress from Scratch article. There appears to be something of a resurgent interest in letterpress. In fact, getting started is not particularly expensive. If you’re looking for more information on getting started, then be sure to take a look at the British Letterpress site, and the Briar Press Forums; and if you’re looking for equipment (metal type and the like), then even Ebay is a good place to start. If you know of local resources, or you’re a letterpresser, then be sure to let me know, and perhaps I can then create a letterpress resources page.
When Chris DiNicolas sent me a link to this photo, at first I thought, nice photo, but perhaps he’s sent it to the wrong person. Then I looked again:
By Benjamin Brundell
The letterpress printing process is one of the oldest ways of getting the printed word on to a page. It relies on a physical representation of each letter being inked and then pressed against the paper—and this is why it’s both interesting and expensive. Thinking a little further about it for each page the printer needs a piece of metal to represent every single character; a way of applying ink to each character and a machine to force the metal and paper together. It follows that changing from bold to italic, for example, will need a totally new set of metal characters rather than a few clicks of a mouse. Other printing processes like lithography or digital printing are more flexible, quick and less expensive. But while commercial letterpress is in decline there are many who are starting from scratch with this wonderful process.