Purpose. To bring
back the craft, art, care, warmth, and ultimately the physical
conception of typography through the careful study and reviving
process of typefaces and type composition.
Experimental Typography class is composed of students and groups
of students creating and carrying out experiments. In the first
few weeks of class students observe, question, and hypothesize.
The balance of the semester is spent in attempts to prove typographic
theories. The revival process does not necessarily stand for
a straight imitation of old metal type, but it is an act of bringing
back the physical spirit of typography and making it adaptable
and acceptable to modern day readers and the new metaphysical
realm of digital type setting.
Study of Interpretation. Scan from John Baskerville's
printed metal type (top). An exact tracing of the outlines resulting
from the irregularities of letterpress printing (middle). An interpretation
of the form, still full of irregularities in need of correction
to withstand current printing technologies and to be transparent
to readers (bottom).
Photostat of Romulus from Original Printed Material. A
type experimentally cut by hand by Paul Helmuth Rädish (despite
Jan van Krimpen's opinion that sans serif type should be machine-cut).
The forms show irregularities inherit in hand-cut type, unlike
many sans serifs seen today. This photo served as the basis for
Ink Drawings. Ink drawings were made for characters
missing from the specimen.
Initial Pencil Outline Drawing. Tracing over
the photostat, curves and details were interpreted into more regular
forms. Even so, the drawings still show subtle tapers and details
that are irregular.
Advanced Pencil Outline Drawings. This series
of drawings are larger and more refined than the previous. Many
problems have been fixed and decisions have been made through the
Advanced Pencil Outline Drawings for Text Figures.
The original design did not include text figures. Finding inspiration
and guidance from Romulus serif counterpart, text figures
were drawn in ink and then traced with a pencil outline.
Digitization. After refinement in pencil,
the outlines were translated into digital form by scanning and
carefully placing Beziér curve points. The forms become
even more regularized and unified through this process.
Specimens. Romulus Sans Serif was designed
by Jan van Krimpen and cut by hand by Paul Helmuth Rädish
circa 193137. This was the first attempt to create a sans
serif type to match a serif counterpart. It was also one of the
first attempts at "humanizing" a sans serif. The digital
revival captures the idiosyncrasies and softness of the hand-cut
type rarely seen in digital sans serifs today. It is intended for
use in 12 point and below.
The project was completed in three stages: research,
drawing, and digitizing. Letterforms, as drawings and as digitized
forms, were critiqued on a weekly/bi-weekly basis
Time. 30 weeks