With a mixture of insane relief and sentimentality, it is my pleasure to say that I’ve finished Type@Cooper. My classmates and I rounded out the three terms with a letterpress workshop and printed roughly 70 individual specimens as well as a group poster. I’m very happy with the results, though Brightcut still requires a lot more work.
Below are the slides from my final presentation, given the last day of class.
Brightcut Book, Black, and a 50% interpolated Bold:
After going to the eye doctor on Thursday I am now allowed to blame any and all weight inconsistencies on my worsening astigmatism. This past week of constant, constant, constant work has been brutal. But some good things are coming out of it.
A more consistent italic:
A hella revised black weight:
More to come…
We are sending off the files to get plates made to print our specimens Monday. That means that I have to do quite a lot of the things on the list above before then, to get my fonts looking as good as possible. The following weekend, we have our letterpress workshop with the awesome Dan Morris from The Arm in the ol’ Cooper Union type shop. We’ll be printing both our individual specimens and our group poster, and we will have shows at the TDC as well as the Lubalin Center. Holy eff.
I have neither the time nor brain capacity to explain what is going on with Brightcut. Also, I don’t know what the hell is going on with it. Fellow CooperTyper Blake Olmstead put it so succinctly last night after class in this analogy: “it’s like I had to rush home and change, and just grab things and put them on and this is what I’m wearing” — in other words, we see all these little details that feel TERRIBLE to us, but that other people probably won’t even notice (or WILL THEY??)
Following a critique with Jean-Francois Porchez last week, I redrew my roman a, redrew my bold (the point structure needed to match the roman in order to interpolate, and hopefully I’ll get another weight out of this…?), and made 2 attempts to find a new italic for this face. Ultimately, the time I spent drawing control characters with both of those attempts were a waste of time. I went back to a file three weeks old, because the reality was that it was the only italic I liked. Also, I like it. Also, 2 weeks.
Please send good vibes.
Loyal readers: you’ll excuse my lack of posting progress (Mr Moodie politely pointed it out to me yesterday.) At this moment I am busy getting critiqued by Dutch Dream Team Just Van Rossum and Erik Van Blokland. Result: I am redrawing this black weight, and seriously reconsidering the italic, which admittedly has nothing to do with the Roman weight. Stay tuned!
Side note: once you get the hang of it, interpolation is crazy awesome.
Photo by lovely classmate, Erin Fitzsimmons
Brightcut doesn’t sound like a very traditional name for a typeface, but it seemed the most apt. ‘Brightcut’ is a metalsmith term—’a type of decorative engraving used on metal objects, especially those made of silver…[causing] the exposed surfaces to reflect light and give an impression of brightness.’ (Encyclopedia Brittanica).
My husband, Ed, a silversmith for Tiffany, suggested the name when looking at the telltale ‘notches’ in the interior curves of the rounds of my typeface. With the help of a master engraver at his studio, he’s been learning the art of hand engraving. And just because he’s awesome, had these little plates made for me for my birthday.
*Sorry for the iPhone photography; it’s hard to shoot shiny things.
Apologies, loyal readers, for not updating on Monday. Our big critique with guest stars Christian Schwartz and Chester Jenkins was last night, so needless to say I decided to (this is my M.O.) immerse myself in wholly unnecessary design tasks. Complete with fake book jackets shown in-situ, I made an 18 x 24” specimen.
Higher-res PDF here.
It went well, and Brightcut was received enthusiastically, and I got some good, specific feedback — none of which was a surprise, but it is good to get consensus around issues at this stage. Because Brightcut is so wide in its individual lowercase letters, some things just don’t work well in the system, namely the s and the a. And of course there are still some spacing issues, but what I didn’t see was that a lot of it may be fixed by reducing the space around my round characters — I had been tweaking the vertical characters in my attempts to fix the discrepancies.
As a group, we got some great feedback and pointers too. Christian had a lot of helpful things to say about proofing and designing in context, having a strong notion of who will be using your typeface and why, and not being afraid to look beyond a corporate-style superfamily when developing other weights and styles. (“Maybe your family is a roman and two kinds of italics” !!) Chester made some good points about finding the spots that define your font’s personality and then letting other letters be plainer. Perhaps the dual-quote of the evening was when Christian said, “Not every letter needs to be a special thing,” and Chester followed it up with, “it’s like kids, they’re not all awesome.”
Okay I don’t actually have the full Beta set we are aiming to have for tomorrow. This part, while fun in that it fleshes out the font, makes me uneasy. I feel like I’m making arbitrary decisions when it comes to numerals and punctuation. And ligatures? Does this thing even need ligatures?
Here’s where I’m at: