Frank E. Blokland is type designer (of among other typefaces, DTL Documenta and DTL Haarlemmer), Senior Lecturer in type design at the Royal Academy of Arts (KABK) in The Hague since 1987, and Professor and Research Fellow at the Plantin Institute of Typography, Antwerp, since 1995. Blokland founded the Dutch Type Library in 1990 and a couple of years later he initiated and supervised the development of DTL FontMaster, a set of professional font tools developed together with the Hamburg-based company URW++. October 2016 he successfully defended his PhD dissertation at Leiden University, which was the outcome of a research conducted in order to test the hypothesis that Gutenberg and consorts developed a standardized and even unitized system for the production of textura type, and that this system was extrapolated for the production of roman type in Renaissance Italy.
Lukas Schneider studied graphic design at the Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Offenbach and holds a master’s degree in type design from the Type and Media department at the The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (KABK). Lukas designed typefaces for various type foundries, including FontFont, Lineto, and the Indian Type Foundry, as well as custom fonts for design agencies.
At the Expert class Type design at the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, where he received a diploma with the highest distinction, he got a deeper insight into Frank E. Blokland’s research about standardization of Renaissance font production. This lead to the development of two tools for the auto-spacing of fonts for Glyphs and RoboFont: LS Cadencer and LS Cadenculator.
In the practice of the present-day type designer there is quite some emphasis on technical matters. Actually, this emphasis was also already the case more than 500 years ago. For the production of roman type in Renaissance Italy, Humanistic handwriting was adapted to a ﬁxed standardized and even unitized system for the production of textura type that was developed by Gutenberg and his peers (see also: http://www.lettermodel.org).
During this presentation the question of how patterns distilled from Renaissance archetypal models can be used for the analysis and parameterization of digital type-design processes will be addressed. Outcomes of Blokland’s PhD research at Leiden University have been translated into software for auto spacing that is based on the intrinsic underlying patterning in roman and italic type. This software can be used to replace optical spacing completely or it can be applied supplementally to spacing by eye.
Type designer Lukas Schneider will demonstrate the LS Cadencer and the related LS Cadenculator, which are (batch) auto-spacing tools written by him in Python. These tools can be used as extensions in Glyphs and RoboFont. The reaction from Apple’s Peter Lofting in an e-mail exchange on the ﬁrst range of outcomes generated with the LS Cadencer was: ‘It looks great!’