:: syllabus :: overview :: class google drive

Professor: Andrea Herstowski
Office: 353 Chalmers Hall
Office hours: by appointment

email: herstow@ku.edu

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The Rationalization of the Letter (in progress)
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Romain du Roi
In 1694,
King Louis XIV of France commissioned his own typeface for use by the Imprimerie Royale. It was so named "Roman of the King" or "Romain du Roi". The type was first used in 1702.

The Romain du Roi stands as a landmark of typography in the Age of Enlightenment. (The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was a philosophical movement that took place primarily in Europe and, later, in North America, during the late 17th and early 18th century. Its participants thought they were illuminating human intellect and culture after the "dark" Middle Ages.)


click through.pdf

Romain du Roi is constructed on a square divided into a grid 8 units subbdivided into 36 smaller units.

The conception of the letterforms reflects a difference in attitude from the prevailing roman typefaces before it. Whereas previous roman typefaces developed naturally over time, evolving in the hands of punch cutters from the typefaces of the fifteenth century, the Romain du Roi was the result of rational design: the letterforms were mapped on grids before being cut into metal.

The design of the letterforms was the work of a committee assembled from the Academy of Sciences. The capital letters were drawn on 8×8 grids*, the lowercase letters on rectangular grids. The committee's designs were engraved by Louis Simonneau. Punches for the metal type were cut by Philippe Grandjean, who took some liberty with his type, to moderate the cold geometry of the designs. The type was first used for Médailles sur les principaux événements du règne de Louis le Grand.


Reading Letters: Designing for Legiblity, Sofie Beier

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Louis Simonneau 1645 - 1728 (French). Engraver. Drew and engraved plates for Romain du Roi The roman Capitals engraved as large copperplate prints by Louis Simonneau

The Romain du Roi, because of its allegiance to the grid, shows a distinct shift in style, with an increased emphasis on verticality and increased contrast between thick and thin elements, a style that influenced the Transitional typefaces of Pierre Simon Fournier and John Baskerville.


Revival Type, Paul Shaw

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The Romain du Roi was not the first "constructed alphabet", Felice Feliciano, Geoffroy Tory and Albtecht Dürer studied the letterforms about 300 years before Romain du Roi. However, it was the start to the develpment of the modern (as in not old style) and lead to the Transitional classificaiton of type.

Stepping further back, as early as 1463, Felice Feliciano (italian) geometrically recreated the alphabet of roman inscriptions and published as Alphabetum Romanum Codex Vaticanus 6852. In 1529, in his Champ Fleury, Geoffroy Tory (french) mapped letterforms on grids and showed their construction. And somewhere between 1471 – 1528 Albtecht Dürer (german) created On the Shaping of Letters.

The idea of geometrically created letterforms was again attempted but this time in sans serif. San Serif was the new life: simple and pure. It also is associated with the machine age. In 1925 Herbert Bayer, the father of Bauhaus typography designed the Universal Alphabet. (see the modular part one)

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Alphabetum Romanum Codex Vaticanus 6852 (orginal)

Felice Feliciano, 1433 – 1479
Felice Feliciano lived just long enough to see printing arrive in Italy. He was the first to recreate geometrically the alphabet of Roman inscriptions, in 1463. Alphabetum Romanum –written on vellum and colored to simlate the V-cut (found in stone inscriptions) – is his treatise on the geometrical construction of Roman capital letters using the square and circle. He geometrically constructed compass-and-ruler roman capitals alphabet in Alphabetum Romanum Codex Vaticanus 6852 (orginal) available as a facimile.


Aphabetum Romanum Codex Vaticanus 6852 facimile.

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Geoffroy Tory,
1480 - 1533.
In 1529, Tory published his own book, Champfleury, one of the most important and influential works of the time. It set a standard for French publishing that in many ways is still followed today. Champfleury was written by Tory and published in 1529. It is divided into three books, and is concerned with the proper use of the French language, dealing with topics ranging from the elegance of the alphabet to the proper use of grammar. It was subtitled "The Art and Science of the Proportion of the Attic or Ancient Roman Letters, According to the Human Body and Face". Tory used a square grid to describe the shape of letters, which eerily predicts the use of pixelation in modern-day typefaces. Although "Champfleury" roughly translates to "flowery fields", it is also a French idiom for "paradise". Translated to english Champ Fleury.pdf (1827). Library of Congress. *The Spencer Research Library has a copy of this book if you want to see it live.

"I have arranged the Muses & Apollo around the I, I propose in the like manner to arrange the seven Liberal Arts, not around the O, but within it,..."


Geofroy Tory believed that the proportions of the alphabet should reflect the ideal human form. He wrote, “the crossstroke covers the man’s organ of generation, to signify that Modesty and Chastity are required, before all else, in those who seek acquaintance with well-shaped letters.”

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Albtecht Dürer
, 1471 - 1528
In 1535 Albtect Dürer, created a Roman style typeface, based on geometry, the Golden Mean and the proportions of the human form. A facimile is avaiblabe Of the Just Shaping of Letters download.pdf.

Dürer born in Nuremberg in 1471, is perhaps best known as an influential illustrator, who introduced chiaroscuro to wood cuts and engraving during the early days of printing. In addition he was a painter, book designer, mathematician, theorist and as we see here, type designer. His Roman style typeface, which is covered in the book, is based on geometry, the Golden Mean and the proportions of the human form.

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Constrsted by Albert Ross


Letters & lettering https://archive.org/details/lettersletteringa00brow/page/n1

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Visual Explainations, Edward Tufte .pdf

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RESOURCES
Riccardo Olocco lecture http://www.riccardolocco.com/img/romain_du_R_Olocco_slide_12.2013.pdf
David Lance Goines’ A Constructed Roman Alphabet. http://www.codex99.com/typography/58.html
Digital version: http://www.goines.net/acra_book/acra_content/files/text_a.html
Luc Devroye article http://luc.devroye.org/fonts-89919.html
Champ Fleury: Library of Congress
Alphabetum Romanum Codex Vaticanus 6852 (orginal) available as a facimile
Of the Just Shaping of Letters
download.pdf
The Mathematical Quest...The Quest for the Perfect Letter.pdf

Resource pdf
Sketching Techniques
Drawing Vectors
Construction
Spacing
More grids if you need

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CALENDAR
Capital proportional studies | ai | pdf (build reference pdf in class)

Look at the proportion of the letters: use https://www.letterfountain.com/drawingtofont.html
and pages 12 - 70 in Designing Type as a reference for proportion and construction of each letter

Romain du Roi, Modular Letter, Serifs, Adding Weight.
Read/watch one of the links under Resources
Reference: Capital letters

Based on what we discussed in class. Construct different kinds of serifs so you are comforable with serifs then Construct 6 capital, constrast the stroke (no mono-weight), serifed letterforms, using your defined construction/rules. Work by only hand, not on the computer. Work at least 3 inches tall (letters do not have to be a square). If you work in pencil make sure you fill in your letters so we can see them from a far. Start with the H (h) and pick the other 5 letters based on your desire. Capital letters only. Try to add wieght to your letters not just monoline (see sketching techniques). Must be constructed. Must have some sort of serif.

Repeat. For the next class you should have 3 different sets of 6 letters. (it may take you time to figure out your system so you should have some misses before you come up with a direction). Looking for a range of solutions. Each set should fit on 8.5x11. Bring in originals, place a scan of your 3 sets, any process and notes about the assignment in your folder on the google drive.

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Next. Pick a set, refine letteforms and THEN put into Glyphs get them as perfect as you can in glyphs. Think about how / where could you use these letterforms?

OR MONDAY
Start thinking of your favorite cartoon or game show and your favorite piece of architecture.
Select the set of capitals you want to refine.

Refine the thins and thicks to where you want them. Are your bowls symmetrical (transitional, modern, geometric) or asymmetrical (like old style). In type design this is called TRANSLATION vs Expansion. The fonts you are most comfortable working with and most likely drawing are Expansion (symmetrical bowls)


Define your stem width
Define your bowl width it should be a bit wider than the stem (the thickest part of the round)
Define and refine your serifs

Build out all 6 letters in Glyphs Start with the stem and serif and get them perfectly drawn then move to a round letter. Think of it as a system. Set the stem. Make one perfect serif that you can cut and paste. Letterspace as your build your letters. Space as you go then edit later. H start with 40 on both sides. Then get a round letter into Glyphs. Once you have an O you can properly space HOHOOHHO. Spacing.pdf

Add the vowels : A E I O U you may or may not need to go back to drawing them by hand first. (think about the proportions and look at the Designing Type for reference.

*if you didn't read one of the references for today please do it over the weekend.

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Build/Refine and add and any letters you want to create at least 8 words.

Due 9/25:
Sketches or Images
Glyphs
Presenation and
Project Overview all on the class google drive..

pdf presentation (landscape), design it professionally: show all the letters, show them in words, show the construction, show the sketches and show and verbally point out at least 3 design attributes.

(optional) any branding you did to show off your letters



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