Week 3

Time is going by faster than I would have ever imagined. It does not feel like I was in London just a few days ago. Blogging is becoming harder. I have so many things I want to write about, but I don’t even know when to write drafts. All I manage to do is document events, the time to distill my thoughts about everything we see and hear and write about it takes too long every time I try.

Monday
Typographic Delights, with Michael Twynman
Following up from last week, we saw English posters this time. Some of these posters were significantly larger than the French ones, especially this one that spread across a few tables.

Georg Seifert
Georg Seifert visited us on Monday afternoon to introduce us to his application Glyphs. I found myself not being able to appreciate his presentation as much as I would have liked. My limited experience with typeface design and FontLab means that I know little about how cumbersome some processes can be. That being said, Glyphs certainly looked far more friendly than FontLab. Because the application seems to have been built to overcome some of the obstacles that Georg himself faced during getting tasks done in FontLab, the application came across as being intuitive. Glyphs will soon have support for Devanagari, and will eliminate the need to work on Volt, which works only on Windows platforms. For that reason alone, I’m eager to try it out.

Tuesday
Stone-cutting, with Wayne Hart
The highlight of week three, without doubt, was stone-cutting with Wayne Hart. No one in the class had ever done anything of the sort before, and everyone was very excited about getting their hands dirty. Some of us even braved the rain, just to be able to carve our letters on stone. We have two left-handed people in class, Elena and me. Both of us ended up spending a lot of time adapting Wayne’s (right-handed) technique of holding the chisel and dummy, and moving along the letter.

History of Letterforms, with James Mosley
This week we moved on to the history of printing and typefounding. The manner in which Mosley talked about Gutenberg and his business relationship with Johann Fust, Peter Schöffer and his marriage to Fust’s daughter Christina, and the possibility that Jenson who was sent to study moveable type to Mainz did so under Gutenberg’s tutelage, make it so easy to imagine this history as an epic drama.

Some digging around revealed that there is a German beer label called Schöfferhofer named after Schöffer. There is even a picture of him on the label! Read more about that here. I cannot wait to ask Mosley about the beer label next week.

Thursday
We had one of our bi-weekly review sessions with Gerry. I had digitized my sketches on FontLab over the weekend and in the first version what was supposed to be the regular weight looked more like a bold. I spent the day fixing that and getting feedback about the shapes.

Friday
Fred Smeijers was visiting the department, and he gave us a talk about his work and about the financial viability of different ways of practicing typeface design in the current economic and design climate. Fred is going to be our external examiner. Having him in the department was a bit like having a celebrity around—Dot and Elena were very excited about getting their copies of Counterpunch signed by him.

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