This past weekend, I had the pleasure to participate in Teaching Type: A Panel Conversation on Typography Education, organized by Design Incubation, and hosted at the Type Directors Club in New York. The event attracted a range of attendees: educators, typographers, type designers and even a few students and recent graduates. Armed with only the most comfortable of metal chairs, we set out on a 3-hour journey to explore best practices of typography curricula today.
Fasten your seat belt and strap on your mind reading helmet, Alphabettes reports to you from the future with a collection of potentially visionary, occasionally dystopian, and totally unfounded predictions for the type industry, and greater humanity, in the 22nd century.
Table of Contents:
Global Restructuring Organization for Alphabetical Neolatry by Jess McCarty
The Letter Lady by Meghan Arnold
CLARE by Theresa dela Cruz
The Pixel Museum by María Ramos
Emojiface Design by Liron Lavi Turkenich
XBH-17478-F9 by Luisa Baeta
Variable Fonts: The Film by Amy Papaelias
We are Alja Herlah and Krista Likar, enthusiastic and passionate type designers from Slovenia. As members of the TipoBrda society, we got the opportunity to organize a type design workshop. Type Days 2017 – a one week long workshop – was already the 31th type design workshop organized by Tipo Brda in Slovenia. It took place in Ljubljana in the House of Reading and Writing, Vodnikova domačija Šiška. This year, we invited a guest mentor Adam Katyi, Hungarumlaut, who shared a lot of valuable tips and guidelines he learned while studying at the Type and Media program in The Hague.
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.
In honor of International Women’s Day, and in solidarity with this year’s International Women’s Strike,
we’re going we went a day without Alphabettes. Don’t worry, we’ll be back again tomorrow we’re back 😘✊.
Our fellow Alphabettes continued to make the world a better place in the first month of 2017.* Here are a few of their good deeds.
Christine Bateup is the director of business and licensing at Frere-Jones Type. She’s also a lawyer. As part of a team of lawyers working pro bono on behalf of the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, she helped free an Iraqi green card holder from detention at Kennedy airport.
With partner Noel Pretorius, María Ramos released Kinetic, a sans serif partly inspired by the mobile designs of Alexander Calder.
After filling in for Tobias Frere-Jones during the fall semester, Nina Stössinger returned to Yale for the spring semester to teach her own type design class in the graphic design MFA program. Nina’s typeface Nordvest received Communication Arts’ Award of Excellence, and Fontshop named the face one of the best of 2016.
Ksenya Samarskaya talked to Print.
Adobe invited Martina Flor to take part in a live lettering session in Paris; she also gave a lettering workshop in Berlin.
ATypI posted a series of interviews Liron Lavi Turkenich conducted at the conference in Warsaw.
Alice Savoie served as a judge for the TDC 63/Typography 38 competitions and spoke at the Type Directors Club with Janine Vangool.
Colvert, designed by Natalia Chuvatin, Jonathan Fabreguettes, Kristyan Sarkis, and Irene Vlachou, has been added to the permanent collection of the French National Center for Visual Arts (CNAP).
Veronika Burian and Mary Kate McDevitt served on the jury of Print’s 2016 Typography & Lettering Awards. Ferran Milan and Pilar Cano’s Aurélie took Best in Class for typeface design; Krista Radoeva and Jason Smith’s FS Siena won a merit award; and Maria Doreuli and Katerina Kochkina of Contrast Foundry won a merit award for handlettering.
Louisa Fröhlich released Lisbeth with TypeTogether.
Several Alphabettes made signs and marched in Washington, DC and around the world on January 21 to register their dissent from the new American regime. ✊
* Yes, January. We’ll be back with February’s news before you know it. We’ve been busy!