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Type design dialogues

When Thu 18 Sep 1005
Where BAU Design College
What
Who Nathalie Dumont

Designers apply different design methodologies to realize their works, from coming up with a
ully formed concept into their mind before ‘committing a mark’ (Hurlburt, 1981), to drawing and comparing ‘several alternative ideas simultaneously’ (Tovey, 1989). Drawings and proofs were used to develop typefaces before the advent of the computer. For example, W. A. Dwiggins (1940), would draw a lowercase alphabet, and have two letters, usually h and p, cut and cast. By studying his drawings, enlargements, and proofs, Dwiggins would know ‘how to go forward […] or how to start over again’. Schenk (1991) found that drawing contributes to ‘maintain a degree of critical evaluation alongside spontaneous ideation’ in the graphic design process. Sketching supports idea generation; a dialogue is established between the designer and his sketches. The sketches are approximations of stored mental images, and once given form, they slowly progress into new shapes by an additive process (Goldschmidt, 2003). Nowadays, it seems that a large number of experienced type designers prefer to move on quickly from a few handmade sketches, including often a limited sample of letters, to type design software. But what happens if drawings and sketches for a type design are made digitally? Can it produce similar idea generation effects? The preliminary results of this enquiry into digitally mediated type design dialogues will be presented.

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