O'Reilly logo

Playing with Type: 50 graphic experiments for exploring typographic design principles by Lara McCormick

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

(Ray)
(Fogra 39)Job:10-29438 Title:RP-Playing with Type
#175 Dtp:225 Page:108
102-127_29438.indd 108 10/24/12 4:20 PM
(Ray)
(Fogra 39)Job:10-29438 Title:RP-Playing with Type
#175 Dtp:225 Page:109
102-127_29438.indd 109 10/24/12 4:20 PM
108 playing with type
(Text)
32
pen-written origins of the lowercase
Using an edged pen, write letterforms
from the Italian Renaissance. Deconstruct
these letters by making pencil drawings for
a set of strokes that can be used to
reconstruct the characters in the test word
verbsgohuman.
Advanced (requires a working knowledge
of FontLab or another font digitizing tool):
Digitize the pencil drawings of the strokes
and reconstruct the letterforms.
Tools:
- Pad of translucent layout paper
- 4 mm felt-tip calligraphy pen, or a dip pen,
such as a Brause metal nib, measuring
4 mm, and bottled Japanese sumi ink
- No. 2 pencil and eraser
- Advanced: font digitizing software such
as FontLab
Imitate the letters exactly as they appear in
the sample of Poggio’s writing (see opposite
page) using a 4 mm broad-edged nib. It may
be helpful in the beginning to trace the
forms by putting the sample underneath
the translucent paper. After you get some
idea about how the forms are written, use
the Poggio sample only for reference.
The order and direction of strokes is called
the ductus of the alphabet. Strokes should
be pulled, not pushed, and made from top
to bottom and left to right. Make a visual
record of the ductus you are using. You will
need to invent a v and an s (letters not
included in the sample). Practice writing
the letters in verbsgohuman.
By tracing with a pencil, compile a set of
strokes that can be used to make all the
forms in verbsgohuman. If strokes are very
similar in two characters, they can be
represented by a single stroke. The first
strokes in m and n are examples. Try to
minimize the number of strokes without
doing damage to the design.
Refine the pencil drawings, then digitize
and edit them. Assemble the digitized
strokes to make the letters in
verbsgohuman.
Objective:
To understand the structure of the
calligraphic script that served as the model
for Roman lowercase letters by writing,
drawing, deconstructing, digitizing, and
reconstructing the forms.
Project contributed by Sumner Stone.
If you loved this, you’ll love these!
Modular Type, page 82; Script Practice, page 112
Creating guidelines
and holding the pen
For guidelines, there should
be a baseline, a line 3
1
2 pen
widths higher for the x-height
line, and a line 2
1
2 pen widths
higher than that for the
ascender line. The descender
line should be 3
1
2 pen widths
lower than the baseline.
The pen should be held so
that the edge is at a 45-degree
angle to the baseline. The pen
angle should be maintained,
except for the right-hand
stroke of the v, which should
be written with the pen held
at about 75 degrees.
Hold the pen lightly but firmly.
The knuckle of the first finger
should not be collapsed. Avoid
a death grip. A light touch is
necessary for good writing.
Opposite page: Use this sample from a
manuscript written out by Poggio Bracciolini, 1425.
Excerpt from Against Verres, Cicero, Orations.
Image credit: Sumner Stone
(Ray)
(Fogra 39)Job:10-29438 Title:RP-Playing with Type
#175 Dtp:225 Page:108
102-127_29438.indd 108 10/24/12 4:19 PM
(Text) (Ray)
(Fogra 39)Job:10-29438 Title:RP-Playing with Type
#175 Dtp:225 Page:109
102-127_29438.indd 109 10/24/12 4:19 PM

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required