Much of my work over the years has been devoted to text types with an emphasis on legibility. Text types, however, make rather dry and repetitive subjects for slide talks—only the most diehard typophile wants to look at endless slides of 9-point type.
For this talk I have chosen a few designs that are perhaps less typical of my work in general but which do have a more visual narrative in their backstory, in other words they are designs that make more interesting slides. They also illustrate the variety of ways by which new typefaces can come into existence.
The ﬁrst is Mantinia, a titling face inspired by the lettering in the paintings of the Italian Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna. Mantinia’s letterforms were also inﬂuenced by inscriptions on buildings and gravestones in and around Boston. Walker, designed for the identity of the Walker Art Center, tries to represent the Walker’s motto: “Open to interpretation.” The letterforms can be modiﬁed by the user depending on context.
A typeface commissioned for Yale University has two versions, one for print and the web, the other for signs on campus. The design derives from an ancient book in the library at Yale.
Van Lanen is a wood type. The Hamilton Wood Type Museum commissioned it for printing letterpress posters. It comes in two forms, positive and negative.