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).

Cruise control to elsewhere

I started writing this post on February 1st, and now it is somehow May 14th.

Last year’s condition was “why not,” a form of optimistic nihilism and attempt to be less timid and more open. It is a wandering attitude, not a spirit of chasing known desires, but keeping an eye out for shy unknowns waiting to be found.

At the end of 2019, I aimlessly drove, something I hadn’t done since late September. I ended up slightly north of Minneapolis in Anoka around 9pm, where the lack of light pollution allowed the sky to be a dusty mauve and everything below to be vague blacks. What was farther was at the foreground.

What does “elsewhere” mean? Escape? Parallel realities? New from here? Displacement? Establishing place in somewhere familiar? Previously uninhabited? Moving islands? Unlearning through relearning? Going “there”? Changing thinking patterns? Constantly moving, not just pivoting?

I read most of A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit back in February, weirdly before quarantine began. Her elaborations on the blue of distance have stuck with me: the color of that distance is the color of emotion, the color of solitude and desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go and the far becomes the near, and they are not the same place. Distance and longing is what keeps one walking. Knowing that something is there, even if unreachable. The feeling is optimistic, exciting, but also presently melancholic.

Collecting and documenting material is essential for me to make anything, but I have been woefully out of practice doing so aside from sporadic Are.na saves and Google Docs annotations for a variety of half-read books. I have started a new reference repository to get back into active observation in addition to pinning up scraps to a foam board. I don’t know if I’m really interested in answers but rather a continuation of inquiries always leading elsewhere. Every time I arrive, I hang out in the corner, slowly move toward the center, but then exit to elsewhere. Problem is I’ve been in the ether for about a year now. I need to find that center of gravity again. I have always pulled toward type but perhaps the output is broader and just as much about language as it is form. Maybe I want to be more like a library than a type specimen. Senior year of college felt like Phase O. So here is Phase 1, if it is even discrete.

New sites

  1. Website

    I learned how to use git and the static site generator Jekyll back in 2017, because I was bothered by the idea of having a pre-templated website. I ended up making a website that looked like a Squarespace site. This new site is an evolution of that.

    I bunch of ideas came to me after napping multiple times, so I went with it instead of overthinking. I don’t really get to use my favorite fonts, so I implemented them in the titles. Gotta say it feels good to buy fonts. I couldn’t not buy Orientation. Feeling uncertain about using Beastly justified, but good thing it’s not a tattoo. As for the shapes, the reuleaux triangle (Projects) is a refinement of the square (Fragments : experiments, past snapshots) which is carved from the circle (Annotations : thoughts, observations, context).

  2. Homesite

    ↗ Lizzo — Good As Hell

    I moved to ✨Minneapolis✨ It feels nice and homey here, and life currently is fairly simple in a non-complacent way. I don’t take sunny days and pretty skies for granted as much. And folks are quite welcoming here. What is this supposed Minnesota nice? I sense an undercurrent of hard work and humbleness in this city. I also became aware of Lizzo since she started out here. She makes the most uplifting music I have heard since discovering Talking Heads.