Plantin Institute of Typography
Plantin Instituut voor Typograﬁe
The Expert class Type design course comprises ten lessons in the auditorium of the Museum Plantin-Moretus over a period of roughly three quarters of a year. The purpose of the course is to facilitate students’ exploration and analyzation of the historical and technical (production) aspects of type and typography, to teach them how to design type into detail, to help them to develop an in-depth insight in the process of digital font production, and to support them to gain control over related software.
An important aspect of the course is the direct exchange of knowledge and experience between the students. This exchange is stimulated by a type-revival project on which the students have to work together. The revival is always based on unique historical material from the renowned collection of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. Besides taking part in the revival project, each student personally has to design a new typeface, whether completely from scratch or being a revival that, for example, is also based on material from the museum’s collection. The course culminates in an exhibition that yearly takes place at the Museum Plantin-Moretus, or occasionally at an exquisite location elsewhere in Belgium or the Netherlands.
This course is taught by type designer, font producer, software developer, and Senior Lecturer Dr. Frank E. Blokland.
Summer school with Dr. Frank E. Blokland, Jan Dries, Guy Hutsebaut, Dr. Goran Proot, Lara Captan, Walda Verbaenen, Dr. Wouter Soudan and Patrick Goossens.
From 2 to 6 September 2019, the Plantin Institute of Typography and the University of Antwerp organize an international summer school on ‘critical approaches to typography’. The detailed program and application form are available at www.uantwerp.be/typography-summerschool.
Already 14 students applied for this programme. They come from all over the world: Canada, USA, Mexico, Argentina, Russia, Spain, Norway, UK, the Netherlands and Belgium. The application period is extended till 10 July 2019 to give more students the opportunity to enrol. A maximum of 20 participants will be accepted. The registration fee of 600 euro includes, besides the course material (software and printed matter), a welcome drink, coffee breaks, and the farewell diner. The fee does not include housing.
As you know the rise of desktop publishing in the second half of the 1980s changed the graphic landscape completely. Within a decade the highly specialized métiers of the typesetter and typographer were merged in that of the computerized graphic designer, irrespective of whether macOS, Windows, or Linux is used. Together with these operating systems came an increasing number of fonts and today everyone is a typesetter by deﬁnition. However, not everyone is automatically a typographer too, because typography requires specialist knowledge and insight. New terms as ‘macro-’ and ‘micro-typography’ have become popular nowadays, but they are only synonyms for typesetting and typography respectively.
All present-day graphic designers are ‘macro-typographers’, but not too many are also ‘micro-typographers’. Hence, not all of them will be able to give the answers to questions about, for example, what forms the basis for the patterning in type, or on what exactly typographic conventions are based. In the meantime digital typefaces are becoming more and more advanced and sophisticated. After all, OpenType Layout features will mostly automatically insert and adjust all kind of detailed (and technically complex) matters, such as ligature substitutions, the application of contextual alternates, related positioning of diacritics, et cetera. For this, in the past the typographer had to write detailed instructions for the typesetter. However, to be able to judge and consequently handle the advanced digital outcomes, a deep understanding of what exactly typography comprises, remains required.
During the Typography Summer Course at the University of Antwerp, the fundamental aspects of typography are researched. Since the end of the 1990s Dr. Frank E. Blokland, our senior lecturer, is deeply involved in the development of high-end font tools. Some of these tools, like OTMaster, will be used at the course for a more detailed look at digital-font technology. However, one does not have to be technically savvy at all for this. Furthermore, not only technical but also optical aspects will be investigated, as well as the (historical) origin of typefaces, the type designers in question, and in case of revivals, the (interpretation of the) style periods in which the original typefaces were made.
In collaboration with the University of Antwerp and the Museum Plantin-Moretus
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