Type Blog

Monday, February 26, 2007

PingMag has a great article on Akira Kobayashi's work, covering his work with Adrian Frutiger and Herman Zapf for the Linotype Platinum Collection revivals including Univers, Syntax, Frutiger next, Sabon next, Optima nova, Avenir next and Palatino nova.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

love the typographic details included in the different version of Freight here.
Freight Display
Freight Big
Freight Text

also an article on graphology and how it may apply to typefaces (near the bottom).

Saturday, February 24, 2007

TYPE JOKES - most of these are so bad (great), but i couldn't help it.
i just discovered another one of the many nice features on Linotype's FontExplorer. from the preview window, you can select the samples and drag them onto your desktop and FontExplorer will export them as images.

you can also choose what file format you want the exported images to be. handy stuff.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Intro: Jenson, Griffo & Arrighi

this is a general summary of reading from last night paraphrased or quoted verbatim. this serves as a main background historical foundation for drawing romans and italics. Chapter VI through the beginning of V in A Short History of the Printed Word by Warren Chappell & Robert Bringhurst.

pg. 65
The word "incunabulum (plural, incunabula) comes from the Latin cunae, meaning "cradle." It can refer to the earliest stages in the development of anything, but it has come to stand particularly for those books printed in Europe before 1500.

pg. 73
The Press at Subiaco
Printing first came to Italy in 1465 through German craftsmen Konrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz under the support and patronage of the church. Their press was first set up in Subiaco in a Benedictine house, where they lived as lay brothers. Sweynheym and Pannartz were part of the exodus of German and French printers from Mainz around 1462 because of the spreading demand of printing. Their types had strong humanist influences while still carrying some traces of gothic blackletter. The capitals are Roman and vertical, not rounded like blatantly different like in the textura of Fust and Schöffer from Mainz.

Sweynehym & Pannartz, 1465.

the Mainz Psalter of Fust & Schöffer, 1457.

pg. 75
Printing in Venice

roman type by Johann van Speyer, Venice, 1469.

in 1469, Johann van Speyer (Giovanni da Spira) printed the first book in Venice, Epistolae ad familiares by Cicero. Johann and brother Wendelin together printed books with purely roman forms and extraordinary clarity. The brothers considered this an invention and sought to patent their design - and succeeded with legal protection until Johann's death. This was the year Nicolas Jenson published his famous Eusebius De Praeparatione evangelica.

Nicolas Jenson

Eusebius' De Praeparatione evangelica, Nicolas Jenson, 1470.

Born around 1420 in Sommevoire, northern Burgundy, he began his craft as a goldsmith possibly in Tours. This was before he started learning type-making at Mainz.

Jensons' Latin background and his proficiency in roman forms were of incalculable importance in translating humanistic script from manuscript to type. Some critics have complained that Jenson's type lacks perfection in detail. The answer to this charge lies plainly on the page, where the even color of the type mass and the great legibility of the forms prove without a further word that the punchcutter and printer achieved his aims. It is the elusive inevitability of Jenson's forms that has made them models for over 500 years. Part of the character of a Jenson page derives from the fitting of the letters; there is sufficient space between them to match the space within the counters. His fame nonetheless now rests on his contribution to the form of a roman type and to its mise en page, its composition and arrangement on the page.

The Eusebius is a milesetone in the development of the roman type page. It is Jenson's first book, but it was not, perhaps, printed in his first type. There are reasons to suspect that Jenson was the author of Johann van Speyer's roman type and of the Greek used by Wendelin. It may be that Jenson's own fine roman and Greek are really revisions of fonts he cut for the Van Speyers.

Aldus Manutius & Francesco Griffo
Aldus Manutius' 1499 printing of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili by Francesco Colonna was one of the forward-looking books marrying type and illustration.

Manutius founded the Aldine Press in Venice in 1494, where he later adopted his printer's mark of the dolphin and anchor, an old Roman symbol for the motto festina lente - "hurry slowly."

festina lente

He employed Francesco Griffo, master punchcutter to cut his Roman and Greek fonts as well as the first italic. Griffo's contributions to roman type include an improved balance between capitals and lower case, achieved by cutting the capitals slightly shorter than the ascending letters such as b and d, and by slightly reducing the stroke weight of the capitals.

The Introduction of Italic
cancelaresca - chancery script, imitating Italian vernacular handwriting.

Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi
Among the writing masters of the period, there are three whose names stand out: Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi, Giovanantonio Tagliente and Giovanni Battista Palatino, all three produced writing manuals. In 1523, Arrighi, a papal scribe, published a second manual – but this book contained several pages printed from italic type of his design. This type, the first of six that Arrighi designed, was more formal than Griffo's first italic, cut for Aldus. It had longer extenders, and so consumed in vertical space everything it saved in the horizontal measure.

Though more extravagant in form, Arrighi's type was open, legible, and required fewer ligatures than Griffo's. It also used upright roman capitals of medium size. Arrighi also introduced the decorative swash italic capitals.

Arrighi type, early 1520s.
Cognitive Dissonance - video
an eyemagazine.com article by Rick Poynor on globalization, featuring a Martin Firrell public art piece for Curzon Cinemas.

Drifters - Kapitaal
another globalization article by Rick Poynor from eyemagazine.com, this time featuring a Dutch short film portrayed entirely in first person and stark black and white. the vision is further filtered to show only signs, symbols and graphics in order to underscore the idea of how much marketing stimuli we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
a recent string on Typophile brought me to some links:
designingwithtype.com - student designs
KLIM - some nice faces by one Kris Sowersby

Pummel FontBook - FontShop has a funny promotional video game for the new FontBook.

also added Type Directors Club to the links.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

funny type in motion assignment from SCAD found on motionographer.com.
eye | feature
this is an article i came across on Cyrus Highsmith by Jan Middendorp that first got me seriously thinking about doing type design for my degree project.

Emigre Essays "Call It What It Is" by John Downer
When Cyrus suggested thinking about doing a type revival, i found this Emigre essay about defining type revivals. Downer categorizes his descriptions from truly faithful revivals to marketable counterfeits.

My Type Design Philosophy by Martin Majoor
Jon Cho referred me to this article about Martin Majoor, the designer of Fedra. a generally informative article on type design process.