Tag: typeface design

Typography in Beijing

TDC opening

Soon after the conclusion of a successful visit by students from CAFA to Typography in 2015, we commenced working on a reciprocal visit to Beijing. As it happened, several strands of activity came together to make this an exceptionally productive visit. A short report follows below; the local organisers, led by CAFA teacher Liu Zhao, recorded all presentations for translation and reposting on the Chinese social networks, and microblogged almost every minute of the trip to a jaw-droppingly numerous online audience.

Opening the visit with a more formal occasion, Gerry Leonidas and José Scaglione (Reading alumnus and ATypI president) took part in the judging of the 8th Founder Type Design Competition. The event, held every two years, included for the first time Latin typefaces by Chinese designers. The next day, the winners were announced in the National Centre of the Performing Arts (the “Egg”), together with the opening of the TDC61 exhibition, the Chinese leg of the global tour of the annual design competition; and the opening of the “Chinese Type Modern 1919–1955” exhibition with material from the archives of Founder Electronics on the transition of Chinese type-making across technologies – with clear influence by Reading’s TDi 2015 course, in which Founder staff participated in.

Font Forum line-up

Font Forum conference

The exhibition and competition awards served as the opening events for the two-day Font Forum, a conference on typeface design with speakers from China, Japan, and Europe, to packed auditoria. At the end of each day lively panel discussions demonstrated the interest of the student and professional audience, and the desire for stronger engagement with the international typographic community. (In the sidelines of the conference, plans were hatched to coordinate a BA module on typeface design between Reading and CAFA in 2016–17.)

workshop at CAFA

CAFA workshop

The main part of the visit was taken over by a workshop on typeface design at CAFA. The interest in Latin typeface design is considerable, and the skills of many students impressive. This is a sign of the gradual globalisation of Chinese design education, and the demands by the local professional employers for skills that can serve markets across language and script regions. Although the workshop was primarily focused on typeface design, there was great interest in typographic design, and especially for mobile platforms.

at Founder

Centre for Chinese Font Design and Research

Two visits at the Centre for Chinese Font Design and Research, hosted in the offices of Founder Electronics, focused on design issues in fonts for Chinese, design  tools and processes, and professional training for multi-script design. The second of the visits had very concrete aims, with Gerry orchestrating the localisation of Glyphs (the key font design application) into Simplified Chinese, to enable designers in China to experiment with new workflows.

CITIC publisher agreement

Starting in TDi 2015, Gerry Leonidas guided Liu Zhao to compile a list of books on typography and typeface design in English to be translated into Chinese by CITIC, one of the most prominent publishers in the country. The project is progressing well with many rights already secured, and schedules for the translations and launches in place. Gerry’s involvement in the curation of the series provides the opportunity for the University’s approach to typographic scholarship to be transplanted in a new market in a unique manner. This is part of a wider collaboration between the University, CITIC, and CAFA, with the aim of building up typeface design education in China.

Dongdao Design

Dongdao Design

Despite the timing on a Sunday evening, over 140 designers from Dongdao, one of the largest design agencies in China, turned up to listen to José and Gerry talk about typeface design solutions and studies. The presentations were followed by Q&A sessions and interviews, which will be posted on Chinese social media with subtitles.

p.s. ATypI in Beijing?

Seeing in person the typographically maturing environment in Beijing and particularly the concretely supportive attitude in CAFA convinced José and Gerry (president and vice-president of ATypI respectively) of the importance and timeliness of bringing the annual conference of the type design community to mainland China. They outlined the key parameters of a proposal with Dean Wang Min and Liu Zhao, and explored timing options. Look for announcements through ATypI!

Adobe publishes Bickham Script Pro 3

Bickham Script Pro 3

After several years of development, Adobe published the updated version of Bickham Script Pro, a connecting script based on the examples in George Bickham’s The Universal Penman. The typeface captures the complexity of the style perfected in the eighteenth century by writing masters, making use of a substantial set of alternate letterforms, ligatures, and swashes. Additionally, Bickham Script Pro 3 provides an extended character set that supports the Cyrillic and Greek scripts, as well as pan-European Latin. The typeface makes use of the rich variety of alternate forms in all three scripts, providing an innovative approach to display typography for Greek and Cyrillic.

In a series of blog posts by Sally Kerrigan, Adobe Type introduces  the project, the design and technical challenges, and the international team that contributed. Gerry Leonidas and alumna Irene Vlachou contributed to the project.

 

 

Reading in the US web standards

US web standards crop

Good typography is at the heart of government and public services: it enables access to information, builds trust, and ensures accessibility. This statement will not surprise anyone who appreciated the impact of the redesigned GOV.uk site, and similar efforts in other european countries. Well, now the US government has published its own comprehensive guidelines for the web, to “set a new bar for simplicity and consistency across government services”.

Dig down a bit, and the Reading connection is clear: the two typefaces recommended for all US government websites are Merriweather and Source Sans Pro. Merriweather was designed by MATD alumnus Eben Sorkin, and was based on his research at Reading for his typeface Arrotino. Source Sans Pro was designed by MATD alumnus Paul D. Hunt, as part of his work at Adobe.

It’s a nice thought that, through the work of graduates, a little bit of Reading’s methodology and attention to detail has found its way on sites that can impact so many lives.

Granshan hits the spot

Jae-joon Han at Granshan

Granshan is devoted to the development of typographic awareness in global scripts, through its annual competition and conference. This year Reading hosted the fourth conference, after Yeravan, Bangkok, and Munich. Over three days, the conference touched on the business of type design, training, support for minority and endangered scripts, the development of resources for complex scripts, and severals aspects of design for global scripts.

Victoria Sarapina

A tight schedule combined a dense pace punctuated by generous break times, to allow for new connections. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the MATD, the first day was devoted to globally prominent speakers who were also graduates of programme.

Adi Stern

Lively discussions followed several presentations, and engaged gatherings continued long after each day’s talks had ended. Feedback for the event was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, creating combination of in-depth but accessible discourse in global typeface design:

The conference included two special events. The first celebrated the Murty Classical Library of India series by Harvard University Press, with a salutation by Tim Jones, and presentations by Fiona Ross, Rathna Ramanathan, and John Hudson. The second was a very special calligraphy duet with Timothy Donaldson representing Europe and Kang Byung-in representing Korea, in an impressively packed studio in Typography.

Granshan calliduel

The conference ended with an after-party organised by the current MATD students. More than twenty countries were represented by speakers, and many more by attendees, underlining the strength and extent of the current network of typeface design.An exceptional AV team produced a liveblog of the conference, and had uploaded most talks before even the end of the conference on the Granshan YouTube Channel.

The conference generated wide coverage and social media recorded very enthusiastic comments by attendees as well as speakers, exemplified by this tweet:

During the closing statements Boris Kochan announced that the 2016 Granshan will take place in Seoul. Follow @GranshanConf for updates!

 

Apple’s new system fonts

Antonio Cavedoni at WWDC

 

There is a good community of Typography graduates working at Apple, and in recent days we got a peek at what they’ve been working on. During the annual World Wide Developers Conference held in San Franscisco MATD graduate Antonio Cavedoni took to the stage to introduce the new system fonts for the Apple platforms.

The talk is an excellent overview of the work that typeface designers do “behind the scenes” to ensure the texts we read on our devices are readable and well-structured – and a superb introduction to the level of detail that typeface designers work every day.

Reading in Eye’s typography issue

Eye magazine cover

The latest issue of Eye magazine, the international review of graphic design, is dedicated to typography and typeface design. The Department is very well represented in the issue: it includes an extensive profile of Fred Smeijers, long-time collaborator of Eric Kindel on research in stencil letterforms, and past External Examiner for the MA Typeface Design programme. Our graduate Paul Barnes wrote a tribute to James Mosley’s contributions to scholarship in typography, and Gerry Leonidas led Beyond Latin, a panel article on typeface design for global scripts featuring John HudsonNeelakash KshetrimayumKamal Mansour, and Pascal Zoghbi.

Google PlayBooks have new typeface by Reading graduates

literata typeface

Google’s PlayBooks application features a new typeface family by Type-Together, which was founded by Reading alumni Veronika Burian and José Scaglione. The brief for the new typeface demanded an outstanding reading experience across a wide range of devices and high resolution screens utilising different rendering technologies. Furthermore, the new typeface family was expected to avoid conventions for e-Readers that have roots in the lower resolutions of earlier devices, and demonstrate how e-Readers could provide a typographic environment comparable to printed pages.
The typeface, called Literata, not only had to define a distinct visual identity for Google’s native app, but achieve this across the three scripts required for pan-european coverage. Fellow MATD alumna Irene Vlachou worked on the Greek character set, with support from Gerry Leonidas. Images of the typeface are available on Flickr.

 

A very special ATypI

Jan Tschichold's corrections

As students were settling into their Halls for Welcome Week and the start of the new academic year, Sunday marked the return of several members of the Typography family from the annual ATypI conference, a highlight in the calendar of international type professionals. Held in Barcelona’s impressive new Museu del Diseny by MBM Arquitectes the conference was especially significant for Typography: to celebrate the award of the Sir Mischa Black Medal to Michael Twyman, the Association invited him to deliver the Keynote lecture on the topic of  “Typography as a university study”. (The image above, of visuals marked up by Tschichold for a facsimile edition of Vespasiano’s 1572 writing manual, is from Michael’s collections – and seen by postgraduates who join his seminars.)

Forty years after the foundation of the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication (and a few more since the inception of the original course, in the late 1960s), Michael’s integration of history, theory and practice continues to define typographic education. These ideas have proven not only resilient, but prescient: graphic communication education worldwide is moving towards these ideas, holding Reading as a model for both new courses and institutions realigning their design studies.

Fiona Ross and Michael Twyman

(Above: Fiona Ross and Michael Twyman in Barcelona. Photos by Elena Veguillas)

Reading’s presence at the conference was notable. Eric Kindel and Gerard Unger delivered presentations, as did no less than ten MATD alumni, with two more taking part in panel sessions (Azza Alameddine, Nathalie Dumont, Paul Hunt, William Montrose, Toshi Omagari, Michele Patane, Dan Reynolds, Dan Rhatigan, Alice Savoie, Liron Lavi Turkenich; and Veronika Burian and Nadine Chahine respectively). Fiona Ross co-curated (with the regrettably absent Vaibhav Singh) the exhibition “Making news: type technologies in transition in newspapers across the world”. The selection of items from the Department’s Collections & Archives are a source of fascination and discussion by type designers, and reflect the growth of interest in global scripts.

Making News exhibition
Borna Izadpanah and Behdad Esfahbod reviewing the Urdu section of the exhibition.

ATypI president (and Reading alumnus) José Scaglione’s announcement that ATypI 2015 will take place in São Paulo, the first South American location for the Association, which will bring the conference closer to the substantial community of Brazilian alumni.

Web designers go for typefaces

slide from SmashingConf

Kicking off a busy week for Typography staff, Gerry Leonidas spoke to a full hall at Smashing Conference in Freiburg. The new talk focused on typefaces from a web designer’s perspective, and included key notions for evaluating typefaces. Web design professionals are increasingly interested in typography and typeface design, where the Department’s expertise has many contributions to make. By way of a reminder, Marko Dugonjić (amongst many other things, SmashingConf reporter on Twitter) noted: