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You are here: Home / Conferences / Amsterdam 2013 / Presentation programme

Ala has a pen - a remixed type workshop in Katowice

When Thu 10 Oct 0900
Where Krasnapolsky B
What History/Education
Who Verena Gerlach

Between February and November 2012, the typeface design workshop ‘Ala has a pen / Ala ma pióro’ took place at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kotowice, Poland.

This unique programme for students and postgraduates from all over Poland assumed a quite experimental role: two to three international teachers, from quite varied backgrounds, were teaching 40 students, changing the combination of the teaching teams every session.

The first session was guided by Martin Majoor and Verena Gerlach, following the instructions of German lettering artist Rudolf Koch (1876–1934) in drawing and constructing Fraktur (German broken script). The methods of drawing and writing the Roman Italic type using the double pen technique were also imparted.

After having just started with Fraktur, the students were very quickly able to draw their first Roman Italic shapes. From a didactic point of view, the two type systems are very different, which was the key to their quick progress. Drawing / constructing Fraktur is much more focused on putting black (and white) modules onto paper, combining them into patterns, and learning to actually see the counter-spaces. Roman Italic is predominately formed through the outlines and the writing moves; the ability to already see these outlines as black and white shapes provides the perfect base for type beginners.

In the subsequent workshop sessions, the students had to merge the significant features of the two alphabets, while maintaining a personal ‘style’ within the designs.

After a completely analogue start, the next sessions became digital, and under the guidance of Filip Blažek and Marian Misiak the students were working in Fontlab or Glyphs—going back and forth between the computer and pen and paper. In between, the students learned everything about calligraphy and swashes from Sarah Lazarevic.

An award-winning (Type Directors Club, New York, certificate of excellence) book on the workshop, called Fajrant, presents articles on type design and the stunning workshop typefaces.

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