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LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland


LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland
Last Active
Member, Type Person
  • Re: New: LeMo V5

    Well, TBH I just set the royalty rate myself to make the book not even more expensive. So, Lulu is not to blame here.
  • Re: At what point of the design process do you start digitising your drawings?

    In 1978 I became a student at the KABK and the only computer-related thing at the academy was a terminal connected to a mainframe at the Delft University of Technology. This terminal was exclusively used by a technical school housed in the same building. So, we did not have the option to work directly on a screen. Consequently Gerrit Noordzij taught us how to draw letters on paper and on drafting film.

    At that time the only way to digitize analog artwork was manually using the IKARUS format in combination with a tablet plus lens cursor. However, an IKARUS system cost roughly DM 250,000 back then. In the mid-1980s the relatively very affordable (DM 7,500 inclusive Aristo tablet plus lens cursor) Ikarus M application became available and I started manually digitizing myself. And the latter is what I do at DTL still using DTL IkarusMaster (see also the most recent post on my Facebook page).

    I like to draw on paper because it gives me more freedom than drawing on the screen. Also it is easier to preserve very subtle details when for instance making a revival. The production of DTL Fleischmann is a good example of this. Nowadays at DTL we often make an analog start and subsequently proceed on screen (although printers are used for judging the outcomes).
  • Re: How big is the type design industry?

    Fonts are cheap to make […]
    I take the liberty here to utterly disagree. The development of high-quality fonts from scratch requires a long and intensive study and a thorough, i.e., costly production. The prices of hard- and software are peanuts in comparison with the development costs.
            Next week the Dutch Type Library will release DTL Valiance by Hanna Hakala, of which the development took ten years. Coming autumn we will release DTL Romulus and DTL Fell, of which the production started in 1997. Cheap fonts are perhaps cheap to make but the development of high-quality fonts takes a lot of time and efforts, and hence is very costly.
  • Re: How do you handle the finances of a project?

    Hi Abraham,
    I don’t think that I can be of much help here. The last time the Dutch Type Library worked for third parties was roughly 15 years ago. Back then we mostly made quotes on a take it or leave it basis. But I reckon the market has changed a bit during the past one and a half decade. Nowadays we fully focus on the independent development of DTL fonts and font-production software. Personally I occasionally do some work for customers only if I really, really like the job. The last time was already four years ago when I made the  calligraphic lettering of the Abdication Act of the former Dutch queen.

    Best, Frank
  • Re: Quador – a squarish serif

    Hi Arne,

    As you perhaps know, I investigate patterning and I noticed some similarities between your Quador and Gerard Unger’s Swift. Of course, it is always possible that this is purely a coincidence. In any case, IMHO the most difficult part of type design is to develop one’s own idiom. The hand of Gerard Unger is very recognizable, like the hands of Johann Michael Fleischmann, Eric Gill, Hermann Zapf, and Jan van Krimpen, to name a few illustrious type designers.

    I am lecturing type design at the KABK for exactly 30 years now and although it is nowadays very easy to investigate digitally stored typefaces directly, I still think that the best way to develop one’s insight and exclusive hand is by starting completely from scratch. Of course, this requires a very long and intensive study before a professional level is reached, but this approach guarantees a unique outcome, which is the only way to prevent our wonderful, precious, and historically deeply anchored profession from dilution. However, maybe I am hopelessly old fashioned and perhaps you did start from scratch anyway, despite the similarities.

    September 2015 I wrote this on Facebook: ‘On 10 September 2015 Adrian Frutiger, one of the absolute giants of the type-design profession, passed away. I attended a couple of Frutiger’s talks in the course of time, starting around 1984/85 when he gave a presentation on his type designs in Amsterdam. I only talked with him once, in Basel at the ATypI conference in 1986. I showed him some of my first –analog– type designs (this was eight years after my first lesson from Gerrit Noordzij). I recall that despite the fact that he considered my work authentic, he was annoyed because I called myself a type designer. In his opinion one was a type designer after a *long* period of practicing and refining one’s hand, and acquiring knowledge and experience. Adrian Frutiger was right, of course, and his remark made me realize that type and its designer have to mature. Although I was technically capable of releasing my type designs digitally towards the end of the 1980s I took my time until 1993, when I released DTL Documenta.’

    Best, Frank