Type@Cooper: Display Type Design

This summer I got the opportunity to take my first type design course. I was able to since the instructor, Juan Villanueva, successfully fundraised 5 scholarships for BIPOC and because the pandemic moved the course online. Someday I’ll be able to pass it forward.

A gallery of class work can be seen at displaytypedesign.com. My font Blaub can be seen here.

It was rad as heck to finally get to learn type with other people and to be part of the inaugural class. As much as I like being alone, it’s hard making type in isolation! Juan also teaches the content by responding to everyone’s questions and interests week by week, so it’s not so prescriptive or templated.

I’m trying to find time to figure this font out and a potential typeface family. And people actually like it, so I’m figuring out how I eventually want to share it.

My process was mainly a lot of sketching on the iPad using the app Paper. I’ve had friction before trying to translate pencil and ink sketches into vectors, but working on the iPad, which is digital already, narrowed the gap between materiality and pixel. I came into the class with a fairly developed idea. That helped a lot since I’m working full-time. Screenshotting words in Glyphs and leaving a space to figure out a letter in context was my main method once I got to digitizing. Drawing straight in Glyphs without any sketched image in the background is fairly difficult for me as I’m not one with Bézier curves. It’s like trying to get a rubberband to sit exactly how you want it.

iterating in context (this sketch is a manifestation of the question “what the heck is a t”)

My reaction to this font is “what the heck did I make.” It’s nice that it doesn’t have to be explained or hyper-rationalized. And yet I’m gonna redo the whole thing.

I’m not totally sure where I’m gonna go next, so per usual I’m just preparing/front-loading by being present and trying to do what I want now.

Time to go write about how to subset Source Code Pro Variable so that it properly shows up in Firefox. Totally not a painful process to figure out (if unlike me you know what you’re doing).