Programme outline

Matrices from the Museum Plantin-Moretus

This summer school is an intensive five-day programme on the value of research for a better understanding of type and typography. No fewer than 7 teachers are involved, all specialists in their field. For this week they are Dr. Frank E. Blokland, Dr. Wouter Soudan, Jan Dries, Joost Depuydt, Dr. Goran Proot, Thomas Milo, Walda Verbaenen and Patrick Goossens.

The keywords are ‘Perception’, ‘History’, ‘Convention’, ‘Technology’ and ‘Legibility’.

The morning sessions are used to introduce and explain the topic in general and in the afternoon and late-afternoon/evening sessions the focus is on the details, whether via demonstrations or via theory lessons.

Not only is there are a clear ‘horizontal’ relationship between the program parts on a specific course day, also the programs of all course days are vertically interconnected. For example, the historical aspects discussed and investigated in relation to perception during the second day are further deepened during the third day. The influence of the technical restraints in the Renaissance on typographical conventions are inextricably linked with the way modern technology is used to represent type.

Monday 24 August 2020

09.00–10.30 Introduction. Font technology past and present
Dr. Wouter Soudan, independent researcher, type designer, software engineer
10.45–12.15 Practical use of innovative font technology
Dr. Wouter Soudan
12.15–13.30 Lunch
13.30–15.30 Typography & corporate identity
Jan Dries
15.30–16.00 Break
16.00–17.30 Corporate identity part 2
Jan Dries
17.30–19.00 Welcome drink in Felix Pakhuis, Godefriduskaai 30. (to be confirmed)

Thuesday 25 August 2020

09.00–12.15 Topic: Perception (and interpretation)
How does one look at type and typography and what is exactly the basis of one’s judgement? After all, one cannot see more than one knows.
Dr. Frank E. Blokland.
12.15–13.30 Lunch
13.30–16.45 Guided visit to the Museum Plantin-Moretus.
Printing demonstration.
Demonstration of the casting of type with a handmould.
Joost Depuydt, curator typographic collections at the Museum Plantin-Moretus

Wednesday 26 August 2020

09.00–12.15 Topic: Typographic history
How much can be distilled from artifacts if there is no documentation left from early punchcutters and typefounders?
Would it be possible to reverse the argument ‘that one cannot see more than one knows’ into ‘one cannot know more than one sees’?
Dr. Frank E. Blokland.
12.15–13.30 Lunch
13.30–16.45 Visit to the library of the Ruusbroeck Institute.
Book historian Dr. Goran Proot will show us early printed books from the fifteenth and sixteenth century to explain how the design of books has developed.

Thursday 27 August 2020

09.00–12.15 Topic: Conventions
Are typographical conventions based on absolute and undeniably – empirically – proven facts, or simply only relative to the nature, i.e., the structure and properties, of specific type and not per se interchangeable with other forms of type (for other scripts).
Dr. Frank E. Blokland.
12.15–13.30 Lunch
13.30–15.45 Arabic type design: thinking outside the box
Thomas Milo
15.45–16.15 Break
16.15–17.30 Jacques-François Rosart: researching and reviving type from the 18th-century
Walda Verbaenen
19.00 Closing diner

Friday 28 August 2020

09.00–10.30 Topic: Technology and constraints
Are the proportions and details of (digital) type purely the result of visual preferences or are they the result of adapting letter forms to both the technical constraints of the Renaissance type production and optical preferences.
What is exactly the influence of the present-day digital technology on type?

Dr. Frank E. Blokland.
10.30–10.45 Break
10.45–12.15 Topic: Legibility
Are there objective criteria for legibility, i.e., can this universally be measured, or is legibility purely relative to the harmonic and rhythmical aspects of the models for specific scripts that are used to condition the reader (which partly are the result of standardization because of technical constraints)?
Dr. Frank E. Blokland.
12.15–13.30 Lunch
13.30–16.30

Visit to the private collection of printing presses, typesetting machines and typefounders’ material from Patrick Goossens.