Seminar topics and references

These headings identify the core seminar topics on the MATD, which take place roughly every two weeks. A student leads a seminar on a specific topic, having prepared both a presentation and a handout. A guided discussion follows, covering a range of related resources. Seminars roughly shadow the progress of issues raised by practical work, and other teaching. (So, the first two seminars coincide with Wayne Hart’s workshop on cutting letters in stone, James Mosley’s lectures on inscriptional lettering, and Richard Grasby’s guest lecture.)

Note all items are to be received critically — some are on the list precisely because they help illustrate the advance of scholarship, or the changing views in our field. The list is scaled to fit within the time limits of the discussion, and not offer a definitive resource on the topic.

There is a link to the main list of items reviewed and discussed in each session. These secondary listings will be populated gradually throughout the 2014–15 academic year.

Note: some key sources are not included (e.g. James Mosley’s superb blog) because they are part of a general reference list that every student is expected to be familiar with. Locating any relevant entries is part of the preparation for the seminar. Also, some items may appear in more than one list, if they are relevant to more than one topic.

 

0. Prologue: lettering and writing

Key texts: Nicolete Gray’s History of lettering, and Ewan Clayton’s The golden thread

 

Full list of items discussed.

 

1. From Roman inscriptional lettering, to early printing

Key texts: Father Catich’s The origin of the serif, and Richard Grasby’s monographs

>  Full list of items discussed.

 

2. Type making paradigms 1: letters punched, and cut, and cast

Key text: Fred Smeijers’ Counterpunch

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

3. Type making paradigms 2: hot metal and phototypefaces

Key text: [forthcoming]

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

4. Type making paradigms 3: early digital typefaces

Key texts: GU on Demos, Lucida, Proforma, Sumner Stone on Stone, and theVisible Language issue on ‘The computer and the hand
 in type design’

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

5. Typographic textures 1: designing paragraphs

Key texts: Geoffrey Dowding’s Finer points in the spacing and 
 arrangement of type

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

6. Typographic textures 2: global type, global typography

Key texts: FR in Computers and typography and Language, 
 culture, type

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

7. Designers and makers 1: The romain du roi

Key topic: the French Academy’s Romain du roi

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

8. Designers and makers 2: emerging disciplines

Key text: Robin Kinross’ Modern typography

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

9. Designers and makers 3: typeface design as an open-ended system

Key texts: Don Knuth and Douglas Hofstadter’s exchanges in Visible Language

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

10. Letterform theories 1: Gerrit Noordzij’s moving pen

Key texts: Gerritt Noordzij’s The stroke and The stroke of the pen

Seminar starting with Noordzij’s theoretical model linking writing and Latin typeforms; extending into typeface styles not covered explicitly in the key texts, and other models for typeform generation. Postscript with roughly contemporaneous models for describing typographic compositions.

Full list of items discussed.

 

11. Letterform theories 2: Richard Southall’s models and patterns

Key text: Richard Southall’s Typemaking in the twentieth century

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

12. Letterform theories 3: organic, sampled, constructed patterns

Key text: Richard Southall’s Typemaking in the twentieth century

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

13. Type families, type systems

Key texts:and full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

14. Testing typefaces 1: traffic sign systems

Key texts: Phil Baines’ “Kinneir, Calvert and the British road sign system” in Eye no 34, and “A design (to sign roads by)” in Eye no 78; Ole Lund’s  “The public debate on Jock Kinneir’s road sign alphabet” in Typography Papers 5, and Herbert Spencer’s “Mile-a-minute typography?” in Typographica 16 (4).

Full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

15. Testing typefaces 2: legibility and readability

Key texts and full list of items discussed forthcoming.

 

16. Reading type [design]: epilogue

Key texts and full list of items discussed forthcoming.