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Cover: Title produced on IKARUS computer using Futura light, book, medium, demi bold, bold and extra bold. Design by Banks & Miles


Editorial Mike Daines

In this edition of Baseline we are taking a look at the people behind the faces. As a counter-balance to the technical detail of type technology Baseline 8 adopts the theme of the importance of individual designers and craftsmen using their inventiveness and labour to create some new valuables for our typographic strong-room.

The men of lettering are sometimes hidden in the workshop. David Kindersley, whose work is sampled in this magazine, is less hidden than most. Carl (or is it Carlos?) Winkow laboured for two years punch cutting the Reporter typeface, whose story is revived here.

W.A. Dwiggins set style and standard for a generation of American graphic designers. His personality, as much as his skill, shone through at the exhibition of his work reviewed in these pages.

The type designer of today works alongside the computer scientist to build up new digital libraries of alphabets. We ‘type-technologists’ use jargon and shorthand. Recent editions of Baseline have reviewed type ‘created by computer programs’, and have looked at new typeface weights ‘interpolated by software’. The primary responsibility of the computer assisted type designer is to know and respect out typographic heritage, to re-model’ existing typefaces only for valid design and application reasons and to avoid cynical copy.

Type designers working with computer can choose no more fertile area than the development of non-latin forms. Having discussed the current state of Arabic typography in a recent edition it is fascinating to look at the skilful application of technology to the creation of types for India. Worldwide communications link the workshops of Mahendra Patel and Ninad Mate with those of the ‘type-sophisticates’ and their computers in Europe.

But men create greater structures than individual typefaces. William Morris played a part in the creation of a whole movement – ‘Art Nouveau’ described by Jackie Wedgewood later in these pages. Dai Davies, a British lettering artist looking for a way to create more flexibility in headline setting in the days of metal and ‘repro’ created a company, Letraset, which is now a world-wide organization. Aron Burns, a New York typographer, co founded ITC with a desire to create a new generation of American typefaces. As Letraset acquires ITC we can pause and see how the ideas of individuals can profoundly influence our world of type.

So ideas become projects and projects become typefaces, or companies, or even whole movements, like Art Nouveau. I am sure that by examining the efforts of others and showing them today’s designers Baseline plays a part in helping us to strive to maintain high typographic standards, which are of more importance now, in our world of mass communications than they have ever been.

Mike Daines

Art Nouveau Lettering Jackie Wedgewood
Scripts – lettering with personality Editorial team
Image from article Image from article

Scripts, when appearing in typesetting systems have always held particular fascination. Often, they represent the work of the type designer at his most ingenious, overcoming the problems of fitting irregular forms together mechanically. Sometimes, as when Roger Excoffon worked to imitate his own handwriting in the development of Mistral for the Olive Foundry in Marseilles, they come closest to reflecting the designer’s personality.

The recent revival of interest in Mistral reflects not just the general nostalgia for the 1950’s, but more evidence of increased appeal of script forms in a typographic world burdened with the technological constraints of digital imagery…

Editorial team

Letraset acquires ITC Editorial team
Newtype – Locarno Editorial team
Letter – Slate Cut Mike Daines
Image from article

In this era of type technology we have come to expect the lettering studio to be aware of things digital. A visit to David Kindersley’s workshop in Cambridge, England is no exception. I recently made such a visit to discuss applications for Logos, the system of letterspacing by computer in which David Kindersley is a principal. The system works on Kindersley’s theory of optical letter spacing. In applications tried so far it seems to work, further tests are underway and things move forward…

Mike Daines

Typefaces for India Editorial team
Image from article Image from article

Baseline has looked at the development of non-latin typefaces in previous issues. Yasaburo Kuwayama gave us an introduction to Japanese alphabets, Arabic scripts have been analysed by Walter Tracy and, most recently in Baseline 7, by Mourad Boutros.

The sub-continent of India, with 14 basic forms of script presents the typeface designer with similar challenges.

In 1967 the National Institute of Design at Ahmedabad invited Adrian Frutiger (see Baseline 3) to begin a design, training programme at the institute. This led to the development of New-nagari, a family of Devanagari design based on Frutiger’s work with the Univers sans serif family…

Editorial team

Typographic Treasures: the work of W. A. Dwiggins Mike Daines
Letragraphica Premier – a successful first year Editorial team

©1986 Published by Esselte Letraset Ltd.