Workshop at Reading

Workshop Conducted by Jean François Porchez, at Reading University, 22 October to 25 October 2003. Part of the MA Typedesign under the direction of Gerry Leonidas.

The result
The movie: Here you can download and watch a 13 mn QuickTime movie (27mb) from the workshop done in October 2003. be careful, its quite heavy to download! Well don’t look too much at the style of movie itself, its really amateur work with IMovie.
The pdf: Here you can download and take a look to the typeface itself.

27mb QT movie

27mb QT movie

Analogic material
For the first 2 days (22 to 23 October), you will mostly need: paper with squares 5×5 (or similar), tracing paper in quantity (90 gr. preferably), dry pencils (3h, 5h, 7h), black felt Stabilo stylist, felt Pentel N50, cutter, rule, square, gum, adhesive tape, 1 or 2 broad edge pen Brause type or Speedball (2-3 mm) and ink (standard ink ‘cartouche? tank?’ it is perfect, not China ink).

Digital material
For the 3rd day (24 October), it would be good to envisage a charitable participant which takes care of all the drawings scans, so that everything will be ready in the next morning! On computer side, you should have FontLab 4.5 at least, and Photoshop to copy and past the scans (?), InDesign 2 for testing sheets.

At least you need a Macintosh who run MacOs 9.2 or, or better, one like that with MacOs X.

Wednesday afternoon: First contact, presentation of the workshop, students. Discovered of the calligraphic models. Practise. Selection of the best letterforms from all the students work, all put on a common sheet of paper, enlargements made at 7 centimeters high for the xheight. Then, set up of 3 to 4 by sub-groups.

Tuesday morning: Each group will work separately. Research the best typographical forms according to the calligraphic structure, in group of 3-4 people. Then, a joint discussion of all groups to select the model and its style (serif structure, contraste, general style, proportions). Set up of the ‘grid’ issued from this research. At this moment, all will follow this unique ‘grid’.

Tuesday afternoon: Adaptation of the whole alphabet to the ‘grid’, for lowercases, then most of the capitals, then figures, punctuation if possible? At the end of this day: Scans of all the drawings made during the day for use the following day on computers. Scans: make .tiff B&W, all the same height in pixels, at a resolution of 400 px.

Friday morning: Computer work. Drawing in Béziers curves from the scans, lowercases first, and key caps, then, first font, tests if possible at the end of the morning. During this day, you will learn Béziers drawings, tips for better rendeering of some forms, and basics for letter spacing.

Friday afternoon: Computer work. For the rest of the glyphs, most as possible! Corrections from the first test done in the morning. New tests done at the end of the afternoon.

Saturday morning: Computer work. Depending where we are the day before… then Champagne!

Models for the first day
Calligraphic models (pdf files):
Caroline 1 and 2

Creative Lettering Today, by Michael Harvey is an (30 euros, at, to see the cover) essential book for better including/understanding the process of the passage from writing to typefaces design, its the only one I know who cover this subject. You can see some extracts of the interior pages here .

Designing Typefaces, is a beautiful collection of articles on typeface designers (resulting from interviews) with many examples of their own work: J Hoefler, J Barnbrook, A Kobayashi, Z Licko, J F Porchez, R Hughes, C Segura, E Spiekermann, J Tankard, Mr. Carter and E v Blokland are those who appear on this book. The design of this book is simple and general quality is good compared to Hot designers make cool font of Alan Haley.

Jean François Porchez, 14 April 2004

typographie, design, typofonderie,