Typostrate Video Wednesday 3
Traditional handlettering by Dan Madsen from dustysigns.com. Dan is a traditional sign painter born and raised in Minneapolis Minnesota. He’s the 3rd generation sign painter in his family carrying on the craft. Dan got his start to painting working with sign painters in minneapolis and California. We enjoy this handmade artwork and hopr you enjoy the video too!
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Why you should absolutely never freelance on freelancing sites
Back in the days, I used to be the crazy money minded programmer writing kLOCs of crap with no code quality concern, for the projects I often found on freelancing sites. Recently, there has been a lot of fuss on Freelancer.com, oDesk and likes which seem to be quite popular among employers looking for cheap third world country coders to get their whatever project done but honestly, if you think about programming as a craft, never log in to them. Why?
Cheap employer thinking: such people have pretty bad idea about what programming is. They want to get best work done and pay like pennies and the sad part is people are always ready to have the lowest bid on it, albeit, it is funny sometimes. I remember a web scraping project I had in which the employer was constantly pestering to add more and more features which was annoying to do at the price I was paid.
Day 5: Type Design, short course, Reading University
With the emphasis on developing our own typeface designs, day 5 seeing mostly practical work in the schedule guided by Gerry Leonidas and Gerard Unger:
- 09:30 - 11:00 – Lecture: Hybrib Letterforms
- 12:00 - 14:00 – Practical Work
- 14:00 - 16:00 – Practical roundup
- 16:00 - 17:30 – Final wrap-up
After cracking-on in the morning we took a short break to look at the dissertations of past MA students. Many of those shown bore more resemblance to a large PhD thesis, and this is what marks out the MA at Reading from other, the focus is very much on research and primary research is common. Generally the students find a clear direction, such as a particular non-Latin writing system or historical specialism, and start researching globally, using the University’s reach. On this process Gerry said:
As the students interest deepens their focus becomes clearer and a keen expertise is formed. This results in graphic designers producing high-level texts on a variety of subjects.
Although the dissertations aren’t online you can see the type design work of all past students here.
Later Gerard Unger took us through hybrid letterforms. We saw how historical influences can combine to create distinct design styles in type design, indicative of a particular period. We focus on the heady cocktail of Fraktur, originally of the late gothic period, being modernised with Latin influences and mixed with Art Nouveau. The latter two styles soften the angularity of the original producing a visual direction that is quite separate.
With reference to the origins of Fraktur typefaces in the 16th century, our journey centres on the late 19th century until the 1920s. We look at many example typefaces that mix the three influential ingredients in different quantities, notably by designers like Otto Eckamann through to William Morris
In typical Unger form, we enjoy a side commentary from Gerard on the type designer’s beard and moustache styles shown in their portraits (See Otto Eckmann’s wonderfully asymmetrical moustache)
The talk includes other areas of design that are evolving or influencing this hybrid style. From the Eiffel Tower to Japanese prints, from ornate candelabra to simple tea pots. It finished with Art Nouveau falling quickly out of fashion and Jan Tschichold’s deathblow: Typographiche Mitteilungen, from October 1925, advocating only sans serifs and asymmetrical layouts. We then browse a small exhibition of specimens (right up to the well-known Souvenir by Morris Fuller Benton) and hybrid style typefaces in use, which included a book printed with the author’s own blood (See above – Book of war, mortification and love by Rund Linssen)
As a wrap-up of week 1, Gerry talks about the course equipping us with a good framework to continue developing our interests independently, which I certainly think it dose. Next week the award winning Veronika Burian and José Scaglione of TypeTogether will be joining us to further develop our work. I’m looking forward to it.
Spartan, produced in the late 1930s, was Mergenthaler Linotype and ATF’s knockoff of the extremely popular Futura (Bauer). If you see Futura in a magazine or newspaper published in mid-century America, there’s a good chance it’s actually Spartan (or the other followers: Twentieth Century, Tempo, or Vogue). As is the case with many imitations, Spartan offered some things the original did not: such as a double-story alternate ‘a’ (shown in the Linotype specimen), special “Advertising Figures”, and unique “Classified” cuts (released later) for very small type. The originality of the Classified fonts could explain why they are the only styles available in digital form. For a digitization of Spartan that emulates a rough printed impression, check out Mark Simonson’s Metallophile.