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Week #5 The final week!

2017 typeparis17 weekly-5

TypeParis has a funny way of bending time, making it feel as though 5 days have passed, instead of 5 weeks. So strange to think that it’s all over for another year! This week was intense and super fun all at the same time. The last #tptalks17 was a roaring success, and presentation day on Friday was really special.

On a personal note, my experience this year was special. I didn’t take on a typeface project of my own, so I had the opportunity to observe the students and their work much more closely than previous years. I really enjoyed seeing everything from a different point of view, feeling more connected with the teaching process, and more invested in the student’s individual journey’s. I’m incredibly proud of their hard work and great results. The work produced by this group has really raised the bar for future TypeParis attendees.

Week #5 The final week!

We welcomed two guests into the classroom on Monday morning: Stéphane Elbaz and Sumner Stone. Sumner was this week’s guest critic, and was generous enough to arrive a day early to familiarise himself with the students and their work. It was a great honour to have him with us. He has had a huge impact on the type design industry as we know it today, and his foundry, Stone Type Foundry, was one of the first digital type foundries to be established—even providing a basis for Jean François’ own Typofonderie. Sumner is a great friend of JFP’s, and the class really enjoyed meeting him and embracing his thoughts on their work.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

I’m incredibly proud of the student’s hard work and great results. The work produced by this group has really raised the bar for future TypeParis attendees.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Stéphane Elbaz was with us for the entire week. It was really nice to have a fresh face and opinion in the classroom, helping bring the attendee’s designs over the finish line. Stéphane has actually been closely connected with TypeParis from the beginning, having designed the identity and website. It was about time we had him in the classroom teaching!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

It was exciting to note early Monday morning that every student had some form of alternate typeface they were working on alongside their original design; be it a black, italic, or a different style altogether. Everybody had achieved a surprising amount of work, considering the time constraints typical for a intensive 5 week program like TypeParis.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

It was a great honour to have Sumner Stone with us. He has had a huge impact on the type design industry as we know it today, and his foundry, Stone Type Foundry, was one of the first digital type foundries to be established.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Gathered together in the meeting room, we discussed that at this point, it’s a good idea to begin calming down the furious pace that’s been set, and to think about things such as in-use specimens for testing purposes, to ensure your typeface is achieving the desired result within the intended usage. Then subtle changes and improvements can be made. This in addition to thinking about their presentation and unique printed specimen, due on Friday.

…every student had some form of alternate typeface they were working on alongside their original design; be it a black, italic, or a different style altogether.

Week #5 The final week!

Sumner discussed some thoughts with us, highlighting the importance of spacing, and the impact good spacing has on text at small sizes. Spacing is not only about the values we enter in our sidebearings, but also the way the glyphs are drawn. It was fascinating hearing about the impact a long serif or jutting terminal has on the glyph next to it. Tiny gaps between shapes can jump out and disturb the rhythm of text, and care should be taken to address these disturbances, and find acceptable solutions. He also mused that drawing type for long text is a very conservative discipline, and that flair and fanciness must often be sacrificed in favour of a design that achieves its purpose effectively as a whole.

Week #5 The final week!

Sumner explaining some spacing concepts to the class.

Week #5 The final week!

…it’s a good idea at this point to begin calming down the furious pace that’s been set, and to think about things such as in-use specimens for testing purposes, to ensure your typeface is achieving the desired result within the intended usage.

Week #5 The final week!

We returned to the main classroom, and watched a brief ampersand demonstration with Jean François, before returning to our own projects, and breaking for some (hastily eaten!) lunch.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

We were very happy to have Julien join us in the afternoon, and sad to learn it was his last day with us, before rejoining with us for the presentations on Friday! I heard from many students that his last words on their projects were very helpful, and enabled them to make some final important decisions. Mathieu and Julien were kept very busy throughout the afternoon, making sure they had visited every table, and ensuring everyone was happy and on-track.

Week #5 The final week!

Sumner mused that drawing type for long text is a very conservative discipline, and that flair and fanciness must often be sacrificed in favour of a design that achieves its purpose effectively as a whole.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

We whipped into our last Tuesday with much excitement! Everyone by now was familiar with the format, printing their glyphs and dividing into small groups to visit Sumner. I would often duck into the classroom to take photos (as inconspicuously as my noisy camera shutter would allow!), and each time I did I was held captive by the fascinating conversations going on between Sumner and the attendees. It was great to see how much the class got out of their time with Sumner.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Xavier getting a little tired of being constantly photographed!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

In the meantime, Stéphane had his work cut out visiting everyone in the next classroom, helping each attendee tie up their loose ends, and put the final layer of polish on their projects. By this point, the class have learned an incredible amount, and are already putting so much of this knowledge into practice! But the questions don’t stop, and every new thing learned unlocks a slew of new challenges.

It had reached the afternoon, and it was time to head off to #tptalks.

Week #5 The final week!

Our group photo with Sumner.

Stéphane Elbaz + Sumner Stone talks

The last #tptalks! And the TypeParis team had a cracker prepared for us this week. Stéphane Elbaz and the great Sumner Stone, what a treat! I must take this opportunity to congratulate each and every one of our international guests, who tirelessly critique student work all day, and spend the evening delivering a lecture to a big room full of people. A huge effort, and we greatly appreciate it.

Week #5 The final week!

Jean François was our facilitator for the evening.

Stéphane was first up, and I was blown away by just how good his work is. I was familiar with some of his endeavours, but had never had the chance to be guided so intimately through his projects. The way Stéphane marries his graphic design and creative direction skills with his type design abilities is very impressive, and his output is stunning. It was so cool to hear about his creation of new typefaces based on the specific needs of a project—and enjoyed a story about how he once got in touch with Gerard Unger to seek his blessing when creating the logotype for The Intercept; inspired by Gerard’s beautiful typeface, Swift (a personal favourite of mine).

Week #5 The final week!


Week #5 The final week!



Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Next was Sumner, and what a wonderful way to finish up #tptalks for the summer. Sumner was the 25th employee at Adobe, hired in the late 80’s as the first Director of Typography for Adobe Systems. He conceived and implemented Adobe’s typographic program including the Adobe Originals along with consulting on the development of Adobe’s type editing software. He, along with his team including Carol Twombly and Robert Slimbach, was responsible for many of the high quality typefaces we use so commonly today, including Myriad, Minion, Trajan, Lithos, and Adobe Garamond to name a few.

Week #5 The final week!


Week #5 The final week!



Week #5 The final week!


Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Sumner shared his adventures over the years, how he got his start in type design, sharing work he produced in the 70’s and 80’s, his calligraphy, and love for outlined forms, his first foray into digital type in the early 80’s, early adoption of computers in the workflow of the graphic designers of that period, his work at Adobe and much more. It was fascinating. Thank you for being with us, and sharing your knowledge, Sumner!

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

* * *

On Wednesday it was time to really begin thinking beyond the typeface project. Jean François took the students through example presentations from previous years, to help give some context to what they were required to make. It was fun to flick back through time and enjoy some other designer’s typefaces. The students spent the rest of the day working on their project’s finishing touches, and beginning their own presentations and unique specimens.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Thursday was here. The due date for the typefaces was today! I was impressed with how organised the attendees were, no one seemed to be panicking. Lots of heads staring at laptop screens, concentrating hard. As I walked around the classroom, it was so much fun to see the graphic design skills of all the students coming into play. The presentations were beginning to look amazing, and seeing the typefaces in context was a thrill.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

There was an air of quiet and intense focus that day, as the deadline approached. Jean François kindly stayed back late that evening, to allow the students to remain in the classroom right up until the 8pm deadline, getting the most out of their time. They had worked hard for 5 weeks to get to this moment, and I’m sure it must have been bittersweet to close up their working files and send them all off, not to be opened again—at least for now.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Group photo with Stéphane.

Presentation day

I had really been looking forward to Friday. I had almost purposely not paid too much attention to the student’s screens over the last few days, as they’d slaved away on their presentations and specimens, so as to be blown away as possible for presentation day. And I was exactly that: blown away.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

The group simply did a stellar job. They out-performed every expectation that the instructors had, and set the bar high for future TypeParis year groups. It was really wonderful for me, Laura and Isla to be able to sit in the presentation room and listen to the students, applauding and cheering after each one finished. To see more of the student’s work, head to the TypeParis people page, and select Attendees from the menu. All of this year’s projects have been uploaded, complete with images and descriptions for each.

Week #5 The final week!

Some people filing in to see the presentations and take home some specimens.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

The classroom looking very empty now!

The group simply did a stellar job. They out-performed every expectation that the instructors had, and set the bar high for future TypeParis year groups.

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

Week #5 The final week!

After the presentations, Jean François and the team handed out the TypeParis17 diplomas. This year the instructors introduced a new way to recognise outstanding work, by presenting some of the students with a ‘diploma with distinction’. After the proceedings had ended, we all departed for the sprawling grassed area nearby Invalides, and enjoyed a well-deserved party, chatting long into the evening, with delicious food and drinks (this is Paris, after all).

Week #5 The final week!

Final group photo of the summer! Thanks for the memories, all the best everyone.

— By Dave Coleman

Watch #tptalks17

Stéphane Elbaz + Sumner Stone talks replays
Subscribe to TypeParis channel.

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