Type Paris – Week Two!

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 Two:


The second week started with a critique Monday morning with Xavier Dupré and Jean François Porchez. We reviewed the letters we created that were based on the calligraphy exercises we did. It is always interesting and useful to have fresh (and experienced) eyes to look at your work because they can immediately see what is not consistent or what needs tweaked.

Next, we were given an exercise in which we were to take our letterforms and create a variety of different weights: high contrast, no contrast, bold, black, and extended. It was a fun and challenging experiment in how to change the contrast but still keep the integrity and style of your letterforms intact. My results below:


On Tuesday we started our final typeface project – a few of us decided to keep working with our humanistic letterforms and some of the more experienced students decided to start a whole new project in a different style. It was a day of drawing and then re-drawing our letters, over and over. We use tracing paper to re-draw tweaks in pencil, then ink them and repeat. We also used the scanner and computer to scale the letters down to text size so we could what was and wasn’t working at that size.


On Wednesday we had a guest instructor, Martina Flor, who visited our class to review and critique what we had started. Martina Flor is an amazing letterer and type designer out of Berlin. She was also one of the weekly speakers for Type Talks along with Pierre di Sciullo.


On Thursday we continued to refine our letters and add new letters. In the afternoon we had a field trip to the Bibliothèque Mazarine. The Mazarine Library originated in the private collections of Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661), Richelieu’s successor and prime minister during Louis XIV’s minority between 1643 and 1661. The library in Mazarin’s mansion (which later became the historic site of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France) was opened to scholars in 1643, making the Mazarine France’s oldest public library. We reviewed their beautiful type specimens and got to see the Gutenberg Bible.


Friday was a full day with a trip to Lyon, France. We spent the morning at the Museum of Printing and Graphic Communication where we got to touch (!) and review type specimens, original tracing paper drawings and books from their collection. We also went to the top of Lyon and explored ancient Roman Empire ruins and the Musée Gallo Romain that had a large of collection of engraved roman capitals.


Now it’s the weekend which means back to drawing more letters.  Next week we will be moving on to the computer so I will be learning the Glyphs application.

Until next week!

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

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