New Dimensions in Type Engineering


Frank E. Blokland

Type Designer (’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands)

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.


Jürgen Willrodt

Jürgen Willrodt

Software Developer (Hamburg)

Jürgen Willrodt studied Physics and Mathematics and got a PhD in theoretical particle physics in 1976. He joined URW Software & Type GmbH in 1983 as software developer. His first major development project was the porting of the IKARUS font production system from DEC to Sun Unix. He has been the main developer of the IKARUS system since 1985, developing interpolation, auto-tracing, and hinting algorithms, as well as special algorithms for Kanji separation. At URW++ Jürgen is responsible for the font production and the font-tools development, which includes FoundryMaster and DTL OTMaster.


Preparing, creating, proofing, and modifying variable fonts (DTL/URW++ Session) (105 Min.)

This hands-on session is especially focused on the production and modification of OpenType Font Variations. Jürgen Willrodt will demonstrate how to prepare and modify already existing fonts for the production of variable fonts , i.e., making all glyphs isomorphic. After all, there are thousands of fonts that were not developed as ‘instances’. Jürgen will also show how to create variable fonts using FoundryMaster (the successor of FontMaster for macOS, Windows, and Linux). Finally he will demonstrate how to proof and modify OpenType Font Variations with the new version of OTMaster, which for instance can display the ‘fvar’, ‘STAT’ and ‘gvar’ tables. There is also a ‘variation viewer’, which has sliders for all available axes. The ‘side-by-side’ viewer has an option to show all defined instances.

FoundryMaster finds its origin in the illustrious IKARUS system and is the result of more than 30 years of professional font-tools development. Together with Axel Stoltenberg, one of the developers of FoundryMaster, Frank E. Blokland will demonstrate some of the program’s unique features and will also address the question why there is need for a font tool that does not support Python scripting. After all, FoundryMaster contains a wealth of sophisticated (batch) functions that ease the design as well as the production process.

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