Ghosts of Calligraphy

10-11 Nov 2018

Letterform Archive, San Francisco

Calligraphy has always been an important inspiration for type design. Now, we will turn that around by examining dozens of 20th-century European calligraphic typefaces and use them as the starting points for our hand-made lettering.

By doing this, we will strengthen three distinct and important skills. First, you’ll get a crash introduction to some of the most innovative type designers, and an appreciation of the construction of some of their greatest faces. Secondly, attempting to reproduce these letters by hand will increase your calligraphic dexterity — sharpening hand, eye and mind. Last, using these models as inspiration for new letters fosters interpretive ingenuity, and will lead you to designing your own unique letter styles.

The class will also be about modern pen and brush techniques and handling, with the unusual approach of using many different artists’ unique letterforms for our models. We’ll cover obvious classics like Legende, Neuland, Post Antiqua, and Hammer’s uncials, as well as the more obscure and eccentric like Georg Trump’s five wonderfully different calligraphic script faces, Oldrich Menhart’s romans and uncial, and original letter design by Zapf, Excoffon, Reiner, Lange, Hoefer, and many more. Your fat, bounda workbook will include about 100 faces and some of their origins, plus many modern interpretations. Whether you become a calligrapher yourself, or just become more solidly familiar with these innovative inspiring artists and their letters for your drawn work, your repertoire will expand dramatically.

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