The view that technology replaces craft, especially in our world of typographics, has become a cliché. And the view that those enveloped, or at least threatened, by technology seek refuge in crafts, at least at the hobbyist level, is supported by statistics which include over - subscribed classes in bookbinding and calligraphy, around the globe.
Craft implies human skill and many strive to retain this element against odds, which seem sometimes overwhelming. This effort cultivates some wonderful hybrids – the handcrafted bitmap, for example.
But the underlying facts are that real commissions for the crafts of calligraphy and architectural lettering continue to decline in number, consigning the aspirations of many to the picture frames on their studio wall or to private collections. Encouragingly, Margot Coatts’ article in this issue reminds us that there is always a demand for truly outstanding letterers. From the sensual mixture of letters and materials in the pieces by Ewan Clayton, Incisive Letterwork and Pat Russell we move on to discover a heady mix of calligraphic art and its religious foundations, in the work of Arab artist Ahmed Moustafa.
Bruno Maag provides an insight into the latest technology for those ‘crafted bitmaps’, used in anti-aliased fonts, offering a higher level of typographic authenticity, and, more importantly, legibility, to type on screens.
Ian McLaren’s illustrated guide to the many applications of Harry Beck’s map for London Underground, from the inspired to the outlandish, lightens the mood; while Christian Küster’s article on the 1930s Dutch architectural magazine Wendingen gives us the opportunity to publish hitherto rarely seen material.
Our lexicon reaches C-D, and a profile of type designer Aldo Novarese completes an eclectic and rich collection of articles, which continue to reflect the almost limitless world of lettering, type and typographic design, still not overwhelmed by technology.