Week 5

Week 5 is over and we’re already halfway through the first term. The last week had two firsts—the first core seminar and the first Non-Latin session with Fiona.

Monday

→ Typographic Delights, with Michael Twynman
In this session with Twynman, we saw forms—receipts, certificates, registrations, deeds. All printed text that needs interactivity. Rafael D. has compiled a comprehensive photo set from the sessions so far on Flickr.

Tuesday

→ Core Seminar: Nicolette Gray, A history of lettering
Elena presented her seminar built around the core text, A history of lettering: creative experiment and letter identity, written by Nicolette Gray. Gerry has posted a list of books and articles we discussed based on Elena’s presentation at the Typenotes blog. I found Gray’s book, Lettering as drawing: the moving line very interesting, and I’m planning to read it sometime this week.

→ History of Letterforms, James Mosley
Following up from gothic types last week, Mosley spoke to us about la littera antiqua, taking us through architectural lettering in Italy and showing us, in particular, the works of Luca Pacioli and Felice Feliciano.

→ Non-Latins 1, with Fiona Ross
I had been waiting very anxiously for our non-Latin sessions with Fiona. We started the non-Latin  sessions with a look at Indian scripts. After a brief introduction, Fiona divided us up in two groups, and handed a set of letters from the north Indian scripts to one group, and the south Indian ones to the other. We had to identify letters belonging to the same script, place them together and then arrange everything the right side up.

Along with Lisa, Ben, Rafael S., Azza and Michele, I was a part of the group tackling the south Indian scripts. This made the exercise so much more fun than it would have been had I worked with the north Indian ones. Like everyone else, I had to use visual cues from the letterforms to categorize them when my knowledge of the script was limited.

In the afternoon, Fiona gave us a presentation about Indian scripts. She gave an introduction to how syllabary scripts work, and discussed typographic issues such as defining character sets, the effects of technologies like hot-metal on the Non-Latin typefaces and the importance of being able to distinguish between embellishments and identifying features in a letter.

Wednesday

→ Pattern Languages for Typeface Design, with Rob McKaughan
Rob McKaughan, who was a student at the MATD programme last year, presented his dissertation research on pattern lanhuages to us. Pattern language is a term that was coined by architect, Christopher Alexander. By identifying how good design solutions solve a specific problem context, patterns are created. They can be used by other designers to solve complex design problems, by referencing different patterns simultaneously. Based on pattern language models for software engineering and architecture, Rob had devised a pattern language for designing a typeface for newspapers as a part of his practical project.

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