In 1937, occupied with “proof-reading, folding printed sheets, hounding delinquent clients, [and] writing letters and even introductions to books” in her husband and brother-in-law’s Grabhorn Press, Jane Bissell Grabhorn “suddenly revolted and decided to do some printing of her own and by herself” (Grabhorn “Mea Culpa”). The act of revolt on Grabhorn’s part would become just one instance of many in which she would defy expectations through her printing enterprise, the Jumbo Press, which she operated single-handedly from 1937 until her death in 1973. Employing typography and print to express feminist thought processes in her hand-press productions of satire, wit, and ephemera, Grabhorn exclusively utilized letterpress printing as a place of rebellion. As Grabhorn notes in her 1937 A Typografic Discourse, a piece originally published as part of the volume, Bookmaking on the Distaff Side, her press realizes the ways in which women’s work might reimagine the male-dominated sphere of printing and its influences: “Jumbo stripped the mask from typography’s Medicine-Men and their disciples have seen them as they are: —pompous, tottering pretenders, mouthing conceits and sweating decadence” (8). Grabhorn’s perspectives on the art of printing itself would prove to continually subvert expectations of women’s roles—and more importantly, the increasing relevance of the female printer’s place in printing history.
I proposed to investigate the potential of space as a pedagogic tool, especially in the graphic design classroom. Within this context, ‘space’ should be understood not only as the physical space of the classroom but instead as a broad and overarching concept: the space within typography, the space one occupies, the space of the institution, or the social and political spaces that emerge through daily interaction.
The research — Counterspace: Classroom Space as a Pedagogic Tool to Share Authority and to Empower (Design) Students — took place between September 2016 and December 2018. The practical part was conducted in my Graphic Design classes with the first year students at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague (KABK). The project was part of the Master Education in Arts at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam.
Aleksandra Samuļenkova shared this list of ‘sources concerning diacritics and special characters of the Latin script’ which is just too good to be buried on Twitter.
It would be great if we could all add more tips in the comments!
• An essay by Victor Gaultney on Problems of diacritic design for Latin script text faces
• An article by David Březina On Diacritics
• A great book about Central European diacritics: The Insects Project
• diacritics.typo.cz, a website about diacritics maintained by Filip Blažek
• Context of Diacritics, a website maintained by Ondrej Jób
• scriptsource.org by SIL International
• Find out in which (rare) orthographies a letter is used: eki.ee/letter
• diacritics.eu/en, a site by Radek Sidun
• This video of David Jonathan Ross’s talk about drawing accents
• vietnamesetypography.com by Donny Trương
• About Icelandic letters, see Gunnlaugur Briem’s site
• About Æ: Designing the Letter Æ by Frode Helland on Medium
• About Latvian diacritics: Video of presentation the Diacritics as a Means of Self-Identification by Aleksandra Samuļenkova at ATypI Warsaw
• List of pangrams in different languages by Richard Rutter
• Book suggested (and written) by Bernd Kappenberg: Setting Signs for Europe – Why Diacritics Matter for European Integration. ISBN 978-3-8382-0663-9
• Flickr Group of ‘fancy’, unusual, real-life examples of diacritics
About German ß and ẞ:
• Esszet or ß by James Mosley on his blog
• The German Capital Letter Eszett by Christoph Koeberlin on Medium
• Versal-Eszett (ẞ) – Bedeutung/Definition by Ralf Herrmann on Typografie.info (in German)
• Capital Sharp S designs. The good, the bad and the ugly, also by Ralf Herrmann on Typography.guru https://typography.guru/journal/capital-sharp-s-designs/…
• Capital Sharp S – Germany’s new character, also by Ralf Herrmann on Typography.guru
• Examples of capital-ß’s in this Flickr Group
About Polish diacritics:
• Discussion on the Polish Kreska Language Feature on Type Drawers
• Localize Your Font: Polish Kreska by Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer
• The Wikipedia entry on the Ogonek, wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogonek
• Polish Diacritics, How to? site by Adam Twardoch
About Romanian (comma accent vs. cedilla):
• Comments on cedilla and comma below (revision 2) by Denis Moyogo Jacquerye on Unicode.org
• Tcomma and Tcedilla, a discussion on Type Drawers
• Posts on Romanian Diacritic Marks on Kitblog / Cristian ‘Kit’ Paul
• The history of messing up Romanian on computers by Michael S. Kaplan
Additional tips Veronika Burian and Petra Černe Oven shared at a talk:
Compiled for the blog by Indra Kupferschmid
When man resolved to imitate walking,
he invented the wheel, which does not look like a leg.
A couple of years ago, I had the honor of presenting a lecture at Columbia University regarding my research on Venezuelan editorial design and a draft of research on its book history. It is no coincidence that I live in New York now since Venezuela’s editorial design began here, where Francisco de Miranda, one of Venezuela’s founding figures, managed to get a press assembled and took it to Venezuela in the early 1800s.
At Juliasys Studio we’ve been working for some time now on a digital handwriting style for the “NIVEA” brand of Beiersdorf AG. “NIVEA Care Type”, as we are calling the new OpenType font, is understood to be the imaginary handwriting of the NIVEA brand persona, the “NIVEA Woman”. Care Type on product packaging and in marketing material has the function to subtly present the NIVEA Woman personality in the look and feel of the brand. Care Type is to be used prominently but at the same time sparingly, “with caution”.
Halfway through 2016, as I was finishing my undergrad Graphic Design studies, I became very interested in the idea of researching the relationship between language and type. Fortunately, I stumbled upon Bianca’s dissertation, which helped me greatly as I could build upon her thoughts, draw my own conclusions and hopefully design a typeface based on language as criteria.
Every other month the question about who was the first female typeface designer comes up. From my armchair research, for up to the 1950s, so far we know of
(That is women credited with a typeface’s design. Many have worked in drawing offices and type production but remained unknown. And post-metal type design is another blog post.)
I have been talking a lot about this with Dan Reynolds, who is researching 19th century type making in Germany for his Phd (this is such a brief generalization of his topic that he will probably kill me). After the war, West German type foundries published a couple of typefaces designed by women, but of pre-war typefaces Dan could so far not find more than the two mentioned above — Belladonna and the Elizabeth types. (It’s debatable whether the Ballé initials count since they were “not actually cast as foundry type, but rather electrotypes mounted on metal”, as some sources state.) While the idea that Anna Simons might have designed some of the Bremer Presse types is intriguing, it seems that this was just a 1980s American speculation, not actually a fact.
Last weekend, Dan visited the printing museum im Leipzig and writes:
“I finally made it to the exhibition from Jerusalem, which exhibited work from Moshe Spitzer, Franziska Baruch, and Henri Friedlaender. That exhibition included Stam, a Hebrew typeface designed by Franziska Baruch for Berthold in the 1920s. Baruch left Germany for Palestine and died in Israel in 1989. She had a career as a designer in Germany in the 1920s and ’30s, and then in Palestine and Israel after that. Much of her graphic design for the State of Israel and for her Israeli clients was significant; however, she never wrote about her work.
While it was not mentioned in the exhibition, I suspect that Baruch was commissioned to design Stam by Oscar Jolles, who was Berthold’s director in the 1920s. Jolles was a prominent figure in the Berlin Jewish community, and Berthold’s publication of Hebrew type specimen took place during his tenure. Jolles died in 1929, but like Baruch’s mother and sister, his wife and daughter were all murdered in 1943, albeit in different death camps.”
I believe Liron worked on this exhibition and its original catalog? Does any of you type history or Hebrew researchers have more info on Franziska Baruch and her typeface Stam? I had never heard of her. Glad we can add another name to our Olden Type list.
* There is a documentary about Elizabeth Friedlander that just came out and will be shown in London on October 20. If you are in the area, this is worth watching.
Exploring the first multi-style Hebrew typeface family
Hebrew was the language of the Israelite and Judean people for over 1,300 years when around 200 BCE, it died as an everyday language and was confined to religious use.1 This affected the Hebrew script heavily, since it only developed those attributes that were necessary to present specific religious texts. Therefore, Hebrew is lacking the typographic tools that would have evolved and developed from an ongoing secular use. Moreover, the Hebrew script was considered sacred. The scribes that were permitted to write manuscripts were concerned with preserving the letterform appearance, even at the expense of the ease and speed in which they could be read.2
Hebrew was reintroduced as a spoken language in the 1880s. Since then, it experienced an accelerated process of revival. The shift from the written form to movable type was a hastened and interrupted one and did not allow for refinement and distillation of the letterforms.
Setting type in the Hebrew script was and still is a frustrating experience. Not only there is a shortage in typefaces which sufficiently address specific Hebrew script issues, but the few that are available mostly consist of a single regular style, accompanied by a small number of weight variations. So, what is a Hebrew typesetter to do when trying to create differentiation within a text? I remember how pleased I was when I found a book published in 1905 in Minsk. In it I spotted one spread that seemed tailor-made to answer my question. The typesetter used different typefaces, different sizes, increased letter spacing and underlining. These were amongst the popular typographic solutions throughout the 20th century.
A spread from the book printed in 1905 in Minsk showing the various ways to handle word differentiation and emphasis without a typeface family: 1. Underlining a word. 2. A different typeface, in a different size. 3. Increased letter spacing.
In the context of writing a master dissertation about Japanese culture at the Inalco (Paris), I dived into the history of Japanese typography, focusing on the figure of Motogi Shōzō. As there are only few sources in English about the development of Japanese typography, I want to share here some of the elements I discovered. (This article was first published on the blog of Émilie’s type foundry, www.aisforapple.fr)
In Europe, we learn at school that printing has been invented by Gutenberg, in Germany, in 1460. Johannes Gutenberg, thanks to his strong will and by dint of mysterious research, is believed to have invented from scratch the way of making books on a large scale, and to be at the origin of the democratization of knowledge in Europe. Whereas the city of Mainz keeps the printing technique a secret, it is ransacked in 1462 and printers spread out all over Europe. This is how other printing centers are created, starting with Rome (1465), Venice (1468) and Paris (about 1470). 1
When we say “printing”, it is a shortcut that means in reality “typographic printing”, that is to say printing pages of text using metal letters. This technique is divided in different successive steps : engraving one sample of each letter in metal, reproducing identically these samples dozens of time, setting text using these signs made of metal, et then finally printing the typographic composition on paper.
In 1460 in Germany, the technique of engraving metal was already in use for the making of medals, and the printing press was well known : images were engraved in wood and printed using a press. Gutenberg, pictured in history textbooks as a brilliant inventor, based his invention on existing techniques. His creation has been to bring these techniques together and to finalize the production of metal letters thanks to a specific mould. Furthermore, he did not work alone, but had business partners. 2
In the same way that we turned Gutenberg into a symbol, Japan considers that the “father of Japanese typography” is Motogi Shōzō (本木昌造, 1824-1875). Magata Shigeri 3 paid tribute to this man in a short biography in English, published 18 years after Motogi’s death : “After years of toil and experiment, [Motogi] invented types for Japanese characters and for the first time made printing a business. We owe, indeed, to him alone the success and prosperity of Japanese typography in modern times. He is therefore most deserving of our esteem, as the Father of Japanese Typography.” 4
This idea then spread out.