Type Paris – Week One!

Fairgoods Brand Director Shauna Hartsook is in Paris studying type design. TypeParis is an intensive 5-week programme based in Paris. Their unique approach continues the long tradition of type design study that started in France back in the 1970’s.

Week One:

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We started the week off learning and practicing Caligraphy. The reason for this is to learn the basic rules of contrast, the structure of the letter, and to attain a sensitivity towards spacing. We learned how to hold the pen at the correct angle – starting with the letters m, i, u, and n. The word “minimum” is a great word to practice when you are first learning to draw letterforms as you can work on consistency, flow and spacing of your word.

Slow and steady worked best when creating thicks and thins using the pressure of the pen. Instructor Mathieu Reguer gave an interesting explanation on how the Latin alphabet can be fully constructed using only a few different strokes. To understand this better, we were given an “movable calligraphy” exercise in which we drew 6 different strokes using a wide brush & ink and then cutting them out. We had to join the strokes together like a puzzle to create as many letters as we could. It was interesting to see how modular the letterforms are and how you could easily swap out or rotate strokes to create an entirely new letter.

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We were given other exercises where we had to write the same word over and over but using different techniques. For example, one way was to hold the pen at a 90 degree angle which created a reverse-contrast look, and another we had to write as small as possible, creating a very heavy feel.

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We chose some of our favourite letters from all the calligraphy exploration and scanned them on the computer and printed them large.  We then traced our shapes and played with adding serifs or elements that could be consistent on each letter.  Lots and lots of re-drawing and re-tracing but we are starting to understand how each letter should relate to each other and work together as a set.

We ended the week off with a field trip to the National Library of France where we had a private tour of some beautiful and extremely old type specimen books. One booked dated back to 1496 – meaning we were not allowed to touch it.
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Next week we have to come up with a brief for what we want our final typeface to look like, and with context on how it should be used. Stay tuned for more updates next week on the progress of our fonts!

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Bonne journée,
Shauna

Fairgoods is an online shop that sells type and fun gifts that use that type.

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