Crafting Type is coming to Portland, March 16-17-18!
A 3 day intensive class, morning to evening and Saturday-Monday, for anyone wishing to start designing type or to quickly move their existing skills forward.
Instructors confirmed are @tphinney
and Octavio Pardo, with @ebensorkin
Pacific Northwest College of Art is hosting the event, and its priced low for students ($300) and professionals ($500) with good discounts for AIGA/ATypI/TUG members ($400)http://craftingtype.com
With TypeCon coming to Portland in August, we will certainly mention that in the workshop, and put up a slide about it.
Eben expanded a little about the content of the workshop. I’d be especially interested to learn more about Dave Crossland’s variation on the Noodzij method. What exactly does he stress or alter?
I didn’t study at any of the schools offering MA’s in typeface design, but I offer similar (free) courses myself, incl. Noordzij’s ideas and an overview over current software, so I’m always interested in how other people approach this. I never managed to pack all this into just three days though.
I’d be interested in seeing an impartial comparison of workshops like Crafting Type with Type Camp, the CooperType Condensed program, Underware’s workshops, Type Together’s workshop, Workshops at German Universities like those from Martin Flor or 26plus-letters, etc. (I’m sure that I’m leaving plenty of names out in this short-list…).
Also, I suspect that FontForge is used in these workshops both from a cost-saving point-of-view, as well as an ideological point-of-view. Some sort of workshop licensing option may be worth it for FontLab/Glyphs/Robofont/etc. to considering, to fill in this gap.
In my own type design courses, I’m sometimes able to get the university responsible to purchase enough licenses the software for their labs, and sometimes I’m not able to make that budget argument. Still, in a short-term class or workshop, the trial versions of FontLab/Glyphs/Robofont/etc. may offer enough options. Participants can always license full-versions of the software on their own after the workshop or course ends, if they want to continue working on font-related projects. Or use FontForge, I guess.
My variation is to use a soft pencil's tonal range and minimise the use of an eraser to manifest the proportion, contrast, weight and negative spaces, to arrive at a conceptual sketch rather than a precise specification; and to redraw the concept on screen rather than scan and trace.
I've made FontForge easier to install: http://fontforge.github.com/en-US/downloads/mac.html
I guess I think of Noordzij’s ideas in a more fundament way, like how to think of different types of contrast and form model, and not so much about what kind of tools exactly to use for sketching.
"One of the key ideas behind the Crafting Type is to break the sense that type design is impenetrable. It certainly complex and rich and takes a long time to master but the tools to get started are free and so anyone who is interested can start. The main barrier may be that of having some help starting. We provide that help.
Although most students don’t want to be type designers we hear from architects, UI/UX designers, people who work in identity and branding and of course graphic designers that the process of learning how to make type has given them new insights and helped them to be better at what they do because they see it in a deeper and even more analytical way afterwards.
We emphasize the idea that designing type is more question of designing characteristics that are applied to forms than it is a process of designing letters one by one.
We introduce the practical skill of using an iterative process to make decisions about these characteristics.
Students are given a variety approaches to rapid sketching to capture the expressive aspect of letter design: the Johnston double pencil method, the Noodzij volumetric model, we discuss the Reading approach, and finally offer Dave Crossland’s variation on the Noodzij method.
Time in course is split roughly in two between lectures and hands on work with a small number of key letterforms.
Lectures can vary with who is teaching at a specific location but always cover how to recognize and control characteristics as well as optical illusions and compensations. Letter history, and what we know about the science of reading are usually covered as well.
Time is split fairly evenly between lectures to provide information and theory that may be applied in class or afterwards and hands on experience making and testing fonts.
Because we keep the student to instructor ration low we are able to work with a range of skill levels as well."
Indra, the 'volumetric model' that Eben attributes to Noordzij is scoped to simply about mark marking; perhaps calling it a model isn't accurate, maybe its more a sketching _method_. Erik's video at attributes the sketching technique to David Gates' "Lettering for Reproduction," but I attribute it to the first few pages of Noodzij's The Stroke, as that's where I can find it in my personal book collection. I have no idea who I first learned it from, as likely from a KABK student on a napkin during one of my trips there as from Gerard Unger in a tutorial moment at when I was at Reading. shrug
Erik, the somewhat more abstract deconstruction of pen stroke forms which is so closely tied to Noodzij's name isn't focused on in the workshops. So I don't have an explicit variation of that deconstruction.
- How similar/different is it?
I would say that Dave doesn't explore the Noordzij method as a tool for describing a shape in a deep parametric manner. This would mean going deeper than he has to at the beginning. Instead he uses the side to side technique to show how you can rapidly create a sense of overall volume, shape and proportion. It is a "dumbing down" to a purpose. It creates very rapid access for a beginner.
- What if any advance or improvement is there?
In some ways as I have suggested already there is a kind of decline in the sense that the full depth and power of the Noordzij theory are not explored. There is however an important procedural improvement.
This is how it works: Dave encourages students to begin making fairly faint or light marks and then to go over that same drawing again while using a slightly heavier pressure. Depending on your skill you can do this 4-7 times in a row before the sketch becomes to heavy to build up any further. The nice thing about this technique and the reason I think it is so useful is that it gives a tracing paper like process without the need for fancy materials and perhaps more important it allows the students to keep working in an iterative process without interruption. It is a very organic method. Students are able to build up increasing precision while maintaining the primacy of overall volume, and proportion. In contrast, if students sketched using outlines they would probably get lost in details.
Indra's comment that "Drawing over a draft is sometimes easier" is very much the idea here.
First things first. Sketching area is what I think is the most important first thing; people default to drawing outline contours, and its not as useful at manifesting the shapes because it requires iteration over sheets rather than iteration inside the drawing process on a single sheet, which slows things down.
By stroking the pencil back and forth with a fixed amplitude and direction, we can mimic the contrast forms from broad nib or pointed pens. If students want to draw such forms, then this is how to do so quickly. When students want low or no contrast letters, I show them how a spiralling line creates area with a different kind of stroke control.
You wrote, "I mention these two because I find them particularly easy to draw in for beginners." What is it that makes them easier to draw in?
I think I've seen RoboFont has by default bigger point and handle widgets than FL, which are tiny, but then I saw a screenshot of RF recently where they were smaller.
2. The simple interface and the intuitive, easy drawing of a curve. You can adjust the size and appearance of points and handles in all applications.