News

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

2017 typeparis17 weekly-3

Week #3 was a wonderful week for many reasons, but a highlight for me was welcoming Xavier Dupré back to the classroom for a second year! Xavier is one of our core instructors, and his input is concise, pointed and backed by many years of experience and successful typeface releases.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Welcome back, Xavier.

The attendees’ main projects are now in full swing, and the quiet hum of laptop fans and the occasional scratching of pencil on paper are almost the only sounds we hear in-class now! That said, the silence was welcomingly broken by a visit from Veronika Burian, as well as another great #tptalks17 session, which included talks from Thibault Caizergues and Olivier Alexanian, (creative and art directors respectively for the Emmanuel Macron administration) and of course Veronika herself. The class also took a day trip to Lyon, visiting Musée de l’imprimerie de Lyon (the top image was taken at the Musée, it’s a detail from the Lumitype interface), enjoying a picnic by the Saône and finally studying the ancient roman inscriptions at Musée Gallo Romain.

The attendees’ main projects are now in full swing, and the quiet hum of laptop fans and the occasional scratching of pencil on paper are almost the only sounds we hear in-class now!

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

The week began with everyone continuing to draw their Bézier paths. Xavier’s first order of business was to meet with everyone together in the next classroom for some global critiques. It’s valuable to be able to listen to the advice given about other student’s work. We tend to learn just as much from this as when our own shapes are critiqued.

Later everyone returned to their seats, ready to put the skills they learned last week to good use, and build out some key glyphs (n p f e E G) in black, very high/low contrast, sans serif and even italics. Great effort has been taken this year to keep the students working efficiently, and this is the first TypeParis to feature a session dedicated to italics, lead by Xavier.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Introducing the class to basic italic forms.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Xavier & Jean François discussing the work of one of the attendees.

It’s valuable to be able to listen to the advice given about other student’s work. We tend to learn just as much from this as when our own shapes are critiqued.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Teddy hard at work on his tittle.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

It was such a pleasure to welcome Veronika on Tuesday morning. She, together with José Scaglione, co-founded TypeTogether, an independant type foundry specialising in high quality editorial and custom typefaces. The feedback I heard from all the attendees was very positive; she critiqued their work thoroughly and with great attention to detail. Veronika’s visit came at a formative time in the process; this is the first week that the class has been all-digital, and many students are still searching for their final shapes, so an interesting juncture to give—and in the student’s case receive—feedback.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

A group photo with Veronika.

That afternoon we took a break from studying lowercase forms and talked more with JFP about capitals. This was the third session on these Roman inscription-inspired letterforms, and there’s always more to learn about them! We covered stroke direction, and how that impacts whether a stroke is thick or thin, and also some very useful guidelines on establishing the right thickness for the cap stems. We also got a little philosophical, and discussed the importance of respecting these time-tested shapes we as type designers are playing with. Being humble about what we design, remembering we are simply re-approaching or remixing existing historical models, and not strictly creating anything totally new. A sobering and valuable dose of perspective.

… we discussed the importance of respecting these time-tested shapes we as type designers are playing with. Being humble about what we design.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

JFP talking about capitals.

We briefly delved further into point placement, particularly discussing the more complicated shapes (such as /S, or curves that terminate before reaching a horizontal/vertical angle), before packing up and setting off for Le Tank, for this week’s #tptalks.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Amanda deep in thought.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Jon obviously poring over something very pivotal!

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Everyone gathered together at the end of the day to go over what they’ve learnt, and hear some final insights from Veronika.

Thibault Caizergues, Olivier Alexanian + Veronika Burian talks

This was a bit of a special week at #tptalks17. For starters, our very own Mathieu Réguer facilitated! But just as exciting was hearing from two talented designers with an intimate insight into the En Marche movement, and the presidential campaign for Emmanuel Macron. Thibault Caizergues (creative director) and Olivier Alexanian (art director) shared the stage, describing their experience as the En Marche movement grew, transitioning from a small grass-roots movement to a successful candidacy ending in presidency.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Mathieu getting ready to facilitate.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Olivier (left) & Thibault (right).

Each also shared a little from their own creative journey, giving context to their design choices within the campaign. It was fascinating to hear Olivier talking about how rapidly he was required to respond to sound-bites from President Macron whilst listening closely during a speech. If something was said that was catchy and succinct, Olivier, Thibault and the rest of the team would spring into action, hastily deciding on a suitable colour palette and strong typography (often using fonts from Jean François’ foundry Typofonderie e.g. Mencken), creating a social-media-friendly graphic, getting approval from the PR team and posting it online, all before the inevitable passage of time rendered the moment irrelevant.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

… if Macron said something that was catchy and succinct, Olivier, Thibault and the rest of the team would spring into action, hastily deciding on a suitable colour palette and strong typography.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

After the break, we happily received Veronika, who spoke on the topic of custom typography, and how she and the skilled team at TypeTogether work to meet the needs of their clients. No two projects are alike, and it was interesting to hear the inside story about type for newspapers, children’s educational material, the challenge of creating something new that must sit alongside something old, complex connection systems and much more.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

TypeTogether operate uniquely, in that their team is large, and spread out across the globe. They meet regularly via video chat, to catch up on projects and keep everyone updated. It’s impressive to note how seamlessly the team seems to operate, despite this geographical dispersion. Impressive also is their TypeFace Publishing Incentive Program, which aims to equip young type design students with mentorship and finances after their studies are complete. The idea is that the successful applicant will focus on their graduate typeface project over the course of a year, checking in regularly with the TypeTogether team for critiques and guidance. The financial contribution enables the students to keep food on their tables, and roofs over their heads, whilst the time they would typically spend working a day job is devoted to designing type. It’s a great initiative, and many beautiful typefaces have emerged as a result, including Roxanne Gataud’s Bely.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Click here to read more about the TypeParis Talks, and watch the videos of the talks themselves.

* * *

Wednesday was here already, and it was high time we talked more about spacing. Mathieu took everyone through a demonstration over the projector, and discussed the importance that spacing plays in our designs. Drawing and spacing share the same significance, and one cannot work without the other. As much as may feel we are merely pushing black around on a white canvas, we are as much designing areas of white as we are areas of black.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Mathieu outlined the relationship between the white inside and outside the letters, beginning with an /n to demonstrate. We lined up a row of /n’s, and explored different values for the left and right sidebearings, learning the impact that serifs have on final spacing. We then introduced a round shape, placing the /o between the /n’s, ensuring each glyph appeared centred evenly between its fellow letterforms, and discovering that round shapes require tighter spacing that straight verticals. Rainer also joined the discussion, sharing some helpful tips and keyboard shortcuts for spacing in Glyphs.

As much as may feel we are merely pushing black around on a white canvas, we are as much designing areas of white as we are areas of black.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

There was a tonne of information to be absorbed, and by the time lunch rolled around, brains were full and stomachs were empty. After eating, the attendees continued work on their projects, refreshed, under the guidance of Xavier and Julien.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Thursday marked the last day of Week #3 spent in-class, so there was a lot to cover to ensure momentum was maintained over the weekend. Xavier and Rainer supervised the group in the morning, and Rainer spent some time taking the attendees through the drawing and distribution of diacritical marks across existing glyphs, with a little help from anchors and components in Glyphs.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Rainer dropping some Glyphs knowledge.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

In the afternoon, Xavier chatted about figures, and charged the class with completing old-style figures, accents, and some initial punctation for Monday! The workload is intense, but the outcomes speak for themselves. Each year the students keep up admirably, and this group is no exception. TypeParis encourages people of all skill levels to apply, knowing that the concepts taught are relevant across many backgrounds and proficiency levels. This means that everyone in the class is at a different stage in their work, and it’s encouraging to see not only the instructors but the students themselves working together to share their own insights accrued over the course of the program, and supporting anyone who feels behind in a particular area or discipline. It’s a team effort, and no-one gets left behind!

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

After the lunch break, we got a surprise visit from David Březina, a cool guy and talented type designer from Rosetta Type, invited to visit by Mathieu. He was kind enough to give his time to meet each attendee at their table, and provide feedback on their designs alongside Mathieu. It was much appreciated, and everyone enjoyed getting to meet and chat with David.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

David giving Margaux some tips.

Lyon trip

Finally, the day of the Lyon trip was here! We piled onto an impressively comfy TGV train (some of us a little earlier than others!) and chatted together for the 2 hour trip. JFP even managed to squeeze in a few type critiques along the way. We did pretty well, all 16 of us managed to arrive and group together at our pre-designated meeting point like a well-oiled machine.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Off we go to Musée de l’imprimerie de Lyon!

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

The view was beautiful.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

We struck out, enjoying a brisk walk through the city of Lyon to get to our first destination: Musée de l’imprimerie de Lyon. The building, which dates back to the 15th century, is home to countless book and printing specimens and artifacts—and apparently used to house both a church and a brothel! We were taken care of by our guide, Matthieu Cortat, who first took us upstairs to flick through a variety of type specimen books. There was a range of styles and publication dates; some ancient, and some as young as the 70’s/80’s. I particularly loved Albert Hollenstein’s phototype book, housing some truly wild, attractive and even silly specimens.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

We split into two groups, and were escorted by Matthieu around the bowels of the museum, admiring one-of-a-kind specimens, containing artfully printed type and gorgeous etchings. We inspected ancient letterpresses, and even beheld the intricate majesty of an Intertype typesetting machine (based on the patents for a Linotype); a steampunk lover’s dream-come-true.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

A lovely old Intertype typesetting machine.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

There was a truly impressive amount of printing ephemera contained within the museum, and it was both fascinating and overwhelming to take it all in. Technology has so profoundly impacted the print industry, and seeing the progression from bulky wooden metal-type contraptions, to characterful, rounded, plastic post-war machines, to the boring, shapeless, beige-and-grey printers of today was an amazing experience.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

We left the printing museum behind and raided Monoprix in preparation for our picnic lunch. It was nice to get outside again and take another stroll. We stopped for a while near the edge of the Saône, enjoyed our food, and also sung happy birthday to Adriana and Sean, celebrating over Merveilleux cakes (thanks jfp!).

After resting awhile, we packed up and continued on our way. Next (and final) stop was Musée Gallo Romain, a museum built upon an important site dating back to Roman occupancy. We ascended the steps leading up to the museum entrance, and basked for a short time in the cool foyer. We then made our way down a set of spiral steps, into long halls and corridors filled with large stone lumps, upon which the most beautiful Roman capital inscriptions were carved, with astonishing care and precision.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

There were many other items to admire, in glass cabinets and displays, scattered across the halls of the museum. Studying the inscriptions was a real treat. The intricacy, forethought and planning that clearly had gone into each carving was incredible. We continued wandering until we made it to the end of the museum, and left together to find a cafe, to sit and enjoy a drink together.

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

Week #3 Digitising letterforms and exploring new design spaces

— By Dave Coleman

Watch #tptalks17

Thibault Caizergues, Olivier Alexanian + Veronika Burian talks replays.
Subscribe to TypeParis channel.

Register for upcoming #tptalks17

Sylvia Tournerie + Albert Jan-Pool

Sponsors

Thanks to our Platinum sponsors: Adobe, Adobe Typekit. Interested in sponsoring? Download the Sponsor pack.

Platinum
Steel
Copper
Wood
Paper
Media partners