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You are here: Home / Conferences / Antwerp 2018 / Programme

Mixed matrices

An investigation into type design for text sizes vs display through a revival project of Hendrik van den Keere's Small Pica Roman (1578) at the Museum Plantin-Moretus
When Wed 12 Sep 0950
Where AP Hogeschool 2
What Track 2
Who Eli Castellanos, Eloise Parrack
In November 2017 an international cohort on the Expert Class in Type Design, based in the UNESCO world heritage site of the Museum Plantin-Moretus, embarked upon a collaborative project to research and revive a Renaissance-era typeface of the Flemish punchcutter Hendrik van den Keere from the collection of Christophe Plantin. Comparing Van den Keere’s well-known Real Romain (1575) and Ascendonica Romain (1577) with his Small Pica Roman (1578), and investigating the patterning, proportions, and details, our research led to the design of a revival using Small Pica Roman at 9-point Didot size as a departure. Evaluations of the approaches of working in metal and standardization in type design at different optical sizes were considered, and were contrasted to methods and tools of digital typeface design today. The unique and rich historic archive of punches, matrices, and printed materials provided an exciting basis for our research, leading to some surprising discoveries counter to our expectations and to accepted theories found in many typography and type design texts. This project provoked a wide range of interpretations, approaches, and opinions about how to create a contemporary usable digital typeface, whilst honouring and imagining the intentions of Van den Keere five centuries past.

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