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LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland


LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland
Last Active
Member, Type Person
  • Re: Unlimited LIcensing

    If you are not able to come to terms, you could tell them to pick a libre font
    Hi Dave,

At the risk of being off-topic too, I am just wondering what the intent of your message is. Do you mean that customers should realize that there are free alternatives and that basically all fonts are interchangeable anyway? This will make Libre fonts forceful weapons in the hands of potential customers for negotiations, I reckon. If that is what you mean, then I think that you should rephrase ‘Libre/open fonts are about freedom, not price’* into something like  ‘Libre/open fonts are about restricting the freedom of non-Libre designers because of their price’.

  • Re: Untitled serif, student type design

    And there's nothing wrong with that! It's just not something you could write a thesis about. ;oÞ
    No, there is nothing wrong with that as such. Obviously it is a manner that leads to good results. But one can actually write a thesis about this IMHO; at least I’m writing about this in my dissertation.

    The fact that one can judge aspects by the eye does not by definition imply that these aspects find their origin purely in optical ones. How you look at harmonic and rhythmic aspects of type is for a large part the result of your conditioning. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century descriptions of type-foundry practices put a lot of emphasis on the role of the eye. But perhaps it is a bit short-sighted to project these descriptions literally on the practice of the fifteenth-century punch cutter without further investigation. Perhaps the standardization and systematization I measured in Renaissance type find also its origin in technical matters that had to be solved by the engravers and goldsmiths that we now know of as punch cutters. Perhaps it is possible that later punch cutters could mostly rely on the eye because for them optical judgment took for granted the underlying patterns, almost without awareness. Perhaps it is possible that production methods of foundry type changed over the centuries, for example because precious metal like copper became more affordable.

    And no, there is nothing wrong as such to investigate whether there is more than only the equilibrium of white space. And there is nothing wrong to investigate whether Renaissance patterning can be (additionally?) used for spacing too, or even for parametrized spacing like Lukas and Pablo do. And there is nothing wrong with countering my arguments with solidly-based other theories (which is not by definition the same as an opinion ;-) IMHO.
  • Re: Untitled serif, student type design

    Look for a good rhythm of negative space. Some letters can't be helped in any typeface, such as the /L.

    IMHO that is only true if one purely looks for an equilibrium of white space (or red in the image below):

    Those who are familiar with my research, know my ideas about the role of the stem interval for the standardization and systematization of the capitals in roman type by the early punchcutters, as I also describe in my article for The Eternal Letter. From that perspective the width of the L is forced into the pattern of the stem interval of the lowercase. Present-day type designers can do this by the eye because of their conditioning with the archetypal models.

    The example below has been made with DTL Haarlemmer. I did not change the proportions of the original capitals from the brilliant hand of Jan van Krimpen.

  • Re: Streamlining Dafont Creation?

    I think that parameterized type design as presented in Prototypo and Metapolator is an interesting development and that these tools provide at least a valuable preview of what will be possible in the (near) future. One can emphasize the shortcomings in the programs and underline the superiority of the type designer’s eye and intuition, but at the same time one should acknowledge their increasing versatility. Also I believe that by mapping the underlying harmonic and rhythmic aspects of type more insight in what exactly comprises the creative process in type design and what are its constraints, can be gained.

    I can’t resist briefly mentioning the development of the chess-playing computer here. In the chapter ‘Computer developing a human game’ of his book How life imitates chess, former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparow describes his first encounters with these machines in the 1980s. At that time he underestimated the potential of the chess computers because in 1985 he made a 100 percent score against 32 different top models. Kasparow writes about the ‘doomsday scenarios about people losing interest in chess with the rise of the machines’, but comes to the conclusion that the gloomy predictions didn’t became reality. He notes that the ‘heavy use of computer analysis has pushed the game itself in new directions. The machine doesn’t care about style or patterns or hundreds of years of established theory. It counts up the material, analyses a few billion positions, and counts up again. It is entirely free of prejudice and doctrine […].’*

    Actually I believe that if something can be defined, it can be programmed. Also in type design. And I believe that if something can’t be defined, it doesn’t exist. That is a highly controversial statement, I know.

    When it comes to education, I think that the value of tools like Prototypo and Metapolator is purely relative to the quality of the educators. In incapable hands every tool is a disaster. The only critical comment I can make, is that the applied parameterization is from the outside, i.e., not organic. Based on my research I’m developing LeMo, which I believe is more organic, i.e., it applies parameterization from the inside.


    As an exponent of his pen-oriented school, I started lecturing in line with Noordzij’s theories when I succeeded him at the KABK in 1987. After canonizing Noordzij’s doctrine for a number of years I began to realize that making the step from writing to drawing letters was quite complex for the students. One does not necessarily need to handle a pen or brush to study and apply the effects of such a tool IMHO (it can help to literally refine one’s hand, though). For this reason I developed in the course of time LeMo as (geometric) representative of a formalized Humanistic minuscule. My students use this model for exploring the construction of the supported letters, for creating their own writing examples instead of copying my hand (see above), and for experimenting with the basics of typography. Therefore the emphasis is less on controlling pen and brush, and more on the research into the basic patterns of writing, and subsequently on these in typography, as it is a related medium.


    Fernando Mello is a former Plantin-Society student of mine (2012–2013 EcTd course) and he is one of the exhibitors at the Inside/Outside expo, which opens on 17 May 2014 at the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp. He used LeMo as basis for a new typeface that will be published by Fontsmith Ltd in London.
    On one of his exhibition panels Fernando writes: ‘The DTL LetterModeller was the real beginning of my practical design during the course, as I have defined main proportions (also the basic spacing) by going to LeMo, taking the 'Renaissance' preset with visible serifs as a starting point, and adjusting proportions and dimensions from there. After that a basic schematic font was exported from LeMo, and then imported into Fontlab. Modifications in spacing and general dimensions of the font were made as long as the design progressed, but the core essence of the dimentions and the broadnibbed pen scheme generated through LeMo stayed through the whole design process like a skeleton.


    * Garry Kasparow, How life imitates chesss (London, 2008) p.134.
  • Re: Family name


    In a swampy atmosphere the boxing referee lost track while counting: 16, 17, 18, no, uh… 1, 4… Just seconds earlier Mike Simon Offensive, better known by the crowd as ‘The Bug’ had knocked down Isaac Developer, number 18 on the appropriate ranking system and whose odds of winning were 4 : 18.

    With his lack of technique MSO had clearly changed the rules of the game. Actually he did not follow any rules according to the spec(tator)s. That made it tough to coop with him, as Isaac Developer painfully experienced!