fontographie

Early rising to Kreuzberg and after a time to wake Matthi up in Reichenbergerstr. Breakfast peanutbutter and coffee, talking across queer and politics and Berlin and so to work.

My project for the coming months is for Daniel Schlusser, better known as our man in berlin, though he isn’t. In Berlin, I mean. Theatre director and rather talented to boot, and perhaps other things to write of with him shortly.

A new website. Excitement of jQuery, some ideas for typography. Matthi is a typographer and genius in FontLab and Illustrator, so I ask him how to dismantle a font, remove various bits that make up a letter, all of which have names I don’t know. I thrill for beautiful typography, and it’s what I enjoy possibly the most in design, but actual making of fonts is deeply unfamiliar to me. So this is a story of how I learn about fonts.

The two things I wanted to do were convert a font into an outline (not to be confused, I think, with a outline font), and chops bits off. My approach, as Matthi laughed, was very Photoshop. Much messing around ensued, and without his help, I’d have been doing it for months in my awful untrained way.

So…

Using the serif font, Tenderness from dot colon and opening in FontLab Studio, which to be uncharitable strikes me as an application ported to OSX without much thought towards standard user interface behaviour. Then opening a single letter or glyph in its own window and exporting as .eps. Now for playing.

Opening the .eps file in Illustrator and first hacking away bits (which I haven’t done in my test glyphs as I was more interested in workflow possibilities), and then turning it into an outline. The process is quite simple, once I learnt it, but I wouldn’t have stumbled onto it on my own.

Selecting the entire glyph and then setting the fill color to transparent and stroke to black, gives a one pixel outline. Opening the stroke pane and setting the weight to 6 pixels gives it some width. Then the important bit, selecting from the menu – Object – Path – Outline Stroke makes the vector path the width of the new 6 pixel outline. Saving as .eps again finishes the work in Illustrator.

Copy-Paste, back into the glyph in FontLab, aligning with the original, then shift-selecting to select the original before deleting (fixing up the mess, I called it), and saving the results…

First to export as something useful, .ttf, though it seems to not preview properly in FontExplorer… nonetheless! My first attempts at font stuff. (I’m not sure it will even be used, and there’s more work to do yet…)

Gallery

buchstabenmuseum

I’m not sure where I stumbled upon this, but it wasn’t so long ago and immediately thought of someone whose love of fonts and typography is quite special. Then I discovered I ride twice every day past the Buchstabenmuseum, and so thought to bring it here as I am quite enjoying type at the moment and wish I had more time to write. Of course these small relics of a city touch me somehow. I wonder about the gradual change or decay from signage serving a purpose, information, advertising, to becoming somewhat an emotional fabric of this place in the city. (And a perfect accompaniment might be restmoderne.de die alltägliche Nachkriegsarchitektur in Berlin.)

japanese font orgasm

More than lines of code in Flash, or beautiful CSS and all that elegant and hidden stuff that makes web design so ART, I have a complete stalker-infatuation for fonts. Lately I’ve been on a CSS System Font trip, using only … duh … system fonts, and getting gooey for the serif ones, like American Typewriter and Georgia, and a while ago it was bitmap fonts, my still-favourite is miniml‘s standard 07_54. But in all my glorious obsession over fonts extending to the typographic genius of Asian stuff, I’ve never found really amazing Chinese fonts, I know they exist though, coz I keep seeing them. And in my daily RSS fix, I was reading Jean Snow, and there were two posts abut Japanese signage, one from Ping Mag, handwritten Japanese fonts, and one from AIGA, How Was It For You? Is there anything better than a Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch in Japanese? Nope.