Sum of Particles

I consider grapheme systems and subsequently formalized representations, i.e., type, as the sum of particles. Defining these particles not only provides means for a better understanding of the underlying harmonics and dynamics, but also creates parameters for the artificial creation and computerized measurement of type and typography. Computerized measurement could even form the basis for parametrized
legibility research.

Type design: the sum of partcles

The figure above shows the systems involved in the creation of written letters (1–4). By adding the factors formalization and idiom the result is a formal group of graphemes, which may form a ‘typeface’. Of course, the tweaking of the first four systems already creates personal structures and patterns, but type design offers more options for adding sophisticated and refined details, i.e., idiom, than writing with a prefixed or partly customizable tool, such as a broad nib or a flexible pointed pen.

Frank E. Blokland

About Frank E. Blokland

Frank E. Blokland is a type designer (including typefaces, dtl Documenta and dtl Haarlemmer), Senior Lecturer of type design at the Royal Academy of Art (kabk) in The Hague since 1987, and Senior Lecturer / Research Fellow at the Plantin Institute of Typography, Antwerp, since 1995. Blokland founded the Dutch Type Library in 1990 and a few years later he started and supervised the development of dtl FontMaster, a set of professional font tools developed together with Dr. Jürgen Willrodt.
        On October 11, 2016 at 11:15 a.m. Blokland successfully defended his dissertation on the standardization and systemization in archetypal Renaissance font production.