Frank E. Blokland, Lukas Schneider

How archetypal patterns can improve (the production of) digital type

TYPO Labs 2017 New Dimensions in Type Engineering | Thursday, 06 April | 4:00 pm | Cupola | English

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:

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!’


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…
Lukas Schneider

Lukas Schneider

Type Designer (Frankfurt/Main)

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…

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