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ATypI 08 St Petersburg

Sessions by theme

Starts at 09:30, 17 September 2008,
at Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, St Petersburg, Russia

Preliminary content, subject to change.

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Paul Luna
Absolutely no type
The threshold of a new era

Friday 19 September | 16:20 – 17:10 | Session A06 in Palace A

Books produced by early phototypesetting systems publicized the fact that they were produced with ‘absolutely no type’. What letterforms were chosen for these new systems? How did they relate to existing type designs? What opportunities were taken (or missed) in the creation of new founts? How did the new typefaces for new machines affect the designers and typesetters who used them? By looking at the earliest phototypeset books, manufacturers’ and printers’ type specimens, and printers’ archives 1950-1970 we can find out more about the time when the certainties of metal typography began to dissolve into the new world of film. Theme: Methods | 50 minutes

Tim Ahrens
Optical sizes

Sunday 21 September | 10:40 – 11:30 | Session A15 in Palace A

In which way exactly should I adjust the letters when designing optical sizes? This talk discusses size-specific adjustments of fonts from a type designer’s point of view. Historical, technical and perceptual background will be given as well as specific and differentiated advice on how to treat the various aspects of a design that can be modified. The material presented is based on MA course work at the University of Reading, which included the analysis of metal and digital fonts, and interviews with some of the most prominent contemporary designers. This research revealed some contrasting views and approaches, and unexpected solutions. Theme: Methods | 50 minutes

Ken Barber, Tal Leming
Pac-Man fever, quantum mechanics and the design of digital type

Sunday 21 September | 11:40 – 12:30 | Session A16 in Palace A

What do classic arcade gaming and subatomic particles have to do with typeface design? Maybe not as much as Ken and Tal would like to think, but nonetheless the inspiration behind inventive font features often comes from the most unlikely of places. Not only can the interplay of traditional type design and new technology profoundly impact the development of digital typefaces, but divergently unexpected sources can contribute to “intelligent” behavior in fonts, not to mention making them significantly easier to use. Referencing numerous cases studies, this presentation will demonstrate how outside influences— including probability theory and quantum physics—can lead to surprising font programming solutions. Theme: Methods | 50 minutes

Eben Sorkin
Contextual alternatives
The next big opportunity for enhancing Latin text face quality

Sunday 21 September | 14:00 – 14:50 | Session A17 in Palace A

Practicality and efficiency have constrained the text face in a way more profound than with any other kind of type. While this made sense in the past, and type designers have done an amazing job of making virtue from this constraint; we have also become too habituated to the constraint. So much so that now we sometimes have trouble imagining how the new freedom offered by OpenType contextual alternates could be used to subtly enhance quality and utility in text faces in the same way that optical correction for size, overshoots, or kerning can. Happily there are some digital faces that are beginning to explore this area and there is 5,000 years of tradition in scribal work, incunabula, lettering, calligraphy and stone carving to draw upon and even hints from the original Linotype drawings. Theme: Methods | 50 minutes

Oliver Linke
The Urge to Rule
Constructed Letterforms from Renaissance to Tomorrow

Sunday 21 September | 14:00 – 14:50 | Session B17 in Palace B

For some reason there has always been a certain desire to find the constructive skeleton or some kind of a “mathematically correct” description of lettershapes. Generations of designers have been searching for the best way to convert complicated characters into an easy formula, believing to discover the very essence of type. Meanwhile many have changed to another confession, where rulers become void and the impression of the eye is the only reliable guide line. With the advent of the computer, this schism in type design seemed to be given another revival. Type has become digital, shaping is done through mathematical equations, and often enough letters are cut down to a set of pixels. It’s about time to take a closer look, what’s really valuable about both approaches. Theme: Methods | 50 minutes