On the first day of TYPO Labs, Sahar Afshar and José Solé Bruning presented their collaboration.
With an introduction on the historical background Sahar explained how to use Kashida, a type of justification in some cursive scripts related to Arabic. She pointed out that Kashida is used in Arabic typography because of aesthetics, legibility, and justification. Kashida has a long calligraphic connection between characters and this connection can be regulated using variable font features. However, the point of connection causes problems when creating a variable font. José Solé showed how they tried to solve the problems of Kashida connection in a collaboration between the designer and type engineer.
John Hudson referred to the history of type as the history of adapting technology to design. Of course, non-Latin scripts share the same fate. He showed specific details regarding the design of the Indic scripts Nirmala UI for Windows OS. Vertical space issues caused by marks, accents and their positions make Indic scripts that were designed with other technical circumstances in mind, a unique challenge in font technology.
On the last day of TYPO Labs, Rod Sheeter and Garret Rieger presented Korean on Google Fonts. They shared their struggle regarding font size optimization and their history, minimizing transfer size, cross-site caching, a specific issues of delivering Korean fonts and more.
They are currently working on Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese which bear even larger file sizes and show their own problems compared to Korean. The presented cutting-edge solutions of Google are always staggering to the technology obsessed TYPO Labs audience.
Rod Sheeter’s and Garret Rieger’s fonts can be found here:
Minjoo Ham gave a talk about Korean script Hangul and her typeface projects. The best thing was how easily we can learn to read some Korean and be able to order our own delicious Bibimbap when traveling over there: Once you have acquired 14 consonants and 10 vowels you will be fine, as Minjoo promised in her mouth-watering presentation with many slides showing traditional Korean dishes.
In Addition, she showed her own type design theory Cultural Bakery which she was inspired by Type Cooker by Paul van der Laan and Erik van Blokland. In her work routines Minjoo combines the method of rational Type Cooker and her conceptual Cultural Bakery to make a new Korean typeface from Latin script.
The most interesting insight we obtained from the non-Latin talks at TYPO Labs 2018 was that the Variable Font technic has started to show a great potential to correctly display complex font systems with intricate ligature constructions for the first time. Let’s roll up the sleeves and see what’s next!