Fiona Ross & Jo de Baerdemaeker in Kolkata

Screenshot of the Emayteedee Website

I don’t know when the semi-secret Reading MATD blog Emayteedee stopped being a secret. Perhaps it was when its feed was added to Alltop’s Typography section. Or perhaps in the age of Google, nothing online is a secret anymore anyway. But since the blog first appeared last year, I was always wary of linking to it, because… well… someone told me that it was a secret.

Yesterday, an article went up on the site that should not be a secret, and so I will gladly link to it:
typeface design & typography workshop in Kolkata. Fiona Ross, a lecturer (part-time) in the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, gave a typography and typeface design workshop together with Jo de Baerdemaeker in Kolkata, India. As far as I remember, Jo is still a PhD candidate at Reading. He’s also MATD Alum, and designer of typefaces for at least the Latin and Tibetan scripts (see his work at typefacedesign.org or at his own website, typojo.com. Jo wrote up the report to Emayteedee on their trip (with pictures!), and it is well worth a read.
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One more MATD ’08 post…

Walking through the London Road Campus cloister
Photo from Michael Hochleitner.

A little over a week and a half ago, I flew to England for one of the University of Reading’s graduation ceremonies. I arrived in the country on Thursday night at London City Airport, which is a delightfully small airport for a big place like London. It takes about three minutes to go through passport control, pick up your checked baggage, and get out the door. On my way to Paddington Station, I met up with Joke and Mathieu, who had each taken EuroStar trains to St Pancras. We got into Reading a little after midnight. Since we were staying with members of the new MATD class, we had to go where they were. And they were having a party.

I must admit that the sight of book and typeface design students partying in the Typography Department at one in the morning was a shocking sight. We certainly never turned the MA Studio into a disco, complete with darkness and crazy projections. On the other hand, there was plenty of beer. Who can find fault with that?

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Bibliography for Devanagari information

Image from Michael Hochleitner at Flickr
Photo: Michael Hochleitner

A few requests have come in over the past few months from designers wanting to know where to turn to learn more about Indic scripts. Below is the bibliography from my MA dissertation at the University of Reading, a view of Hindi newspapers and their typefaces. Maybe some of these books or articles will prove useful to others as well. I enjoyed examining all of them during my work.

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Reading’s typefaces of 2008

From the MATD 2007–2008 specimen's front cover

Although our program isn’t over yet, the typefaces designed by the students on this year’s MA Typeface Design course at the University of Reading are now online for all to see. Visit typefacedesign.org, where PDF specimens of our typefaces may be viewed and be downloaded.

In addition to our own work, we’ve prepared a 16-page A5 booklet showing off all 11 of our typefaces. Its PDF may also be downloaded directly from the site. Those attending the ATypI conference in St. Petersburg will be able to receive a printed copy as well.

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This brochure is on its way…

…and you know that you want your copy! Make sure to look out for it at the ATypI conference in St. Petersburg. Intrepid readers who won’t be travelling to Russia later this month may be able to download it soon – as well as all of our individual type specimen booklets – once we get our class website up and running. For the moment, we’re still busy writing our dissertations. Stay tuned!
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Reading postcard for TypeCon 2008

The postcard of awesomeness

Paul and Gerry were at TypeCon over the weekend and were able to bring back a few of the MATD 2007–2008 postcards. During the week before our typeface submission deadline, we put this little postcard together. It was printed in New York and shipped to Buffalo for the conference goodie bags. For now, it’s the only printed sneak-peek of our work. But perhaps more will come along in the near future.
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Typeface submitted

343px teaser for Martel

Monday July 7th was the submission deadline here in Reading, and I uploaded my files about an hour or so before the noon requirement. The typeface, pictured rather briefly above, will still need ages of finishing before I could call it properly complete, but I guess that I am proud anyway.

Here are the details: a text face optimized for small-sized running text, supporting both the Latin and Devanagari scripts. This means that the languages supported run a long gamut from Western Europe (English, French, German, etc.) to points further East (Romanian, Slovakian, Turkish) to India (Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, etc.). Variants include Regular (with small caps), Italic, Bold, and Heavy. The fonts have a healthy accoutrement of figure options and a few ligatures added in for good measure. During the typeface’s development as part of the MATD course, I also experimented with a Condensed Roman and Heavy. Hopefully, these will soon see the light of day, too.

For the course, I’ve given the design the name Martel (मार्टेल), after that cheery French fellow Charles Martel. Of course, the world already has at least one display uncial font with the same moniker, so upon eventual release I’ll try something more clever and trademark-able.

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Two nights in Jaipur

Bazaar shop sign

Sunday, May 18
I woke up on Sunday morning around 5am and took a 6:10 express train to Jaipur. This only took a few hours. I reserved a seat in an air conditioned car, and the experience was better than I expected. My car was only about half full, and the seats have more than enough legroom. Moreover, there is complementary service on board the train: first newspapers were distributed, then bottled water, followed by tea, breakfast, and more tea. The ride to Jaipur was scenic as well. I guess that Rajasthan is more or less a desert. On the roads and in the fields along the train tracks were a number of camels.

In Jaipur I stayed at the Hotel Pearl Palace. This is just a two star hotel, but it ranks among the best hotels I’ve ever visited. It really was quite beautiful. The floors are marble, and there was local art and craftwork throughout the open buidling. On the roof is a terrace overlooking the city, and a restaurant whose food was excellent. Both the hotel rooms and the restaurant food were so cheap that I have no idea how this family-run business turns a profit.

After checking into the hotel and having lunch on the roof, I walked into Jaipur’s historic old city, which I believe had just reopened after the tragic terrorist bombings that occurred the previous Tuesday. The walk was was about a half an hour, and the decision to go it on foot instead of in an auto rickshaw proved a mistake. The men I passed on my walk were anything but nice, with many professing their love for me and my hair, and a few of the making sexual comments. I guess that a memo had just gone out the day before stating that all different looking male tourists travelling alone were homosexuals…

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In Delhi, part two

National Museum, Miniature painting 01

Friday, May 16
This morning I went to the National Museum of India. This was a pleasant visit; the museum has a lot of sculpture from throughout India’s historical eras. Back in my second semester art history survey, we quickly tried to cover the bases of of Indian art; various other art museums I’ve visited have had South Asian departments as well. It was nice to see so many of the sorts of things I’d viewed in the past in such quantity. The manuscript section of the museum was closed, but the Indian miniatures exhibition space had some paintings with Devanagari writing in them, instead of Urdu. An audio tour was included in the price of admission, and this was fun to listen to.

In the afternoon I visited Manohar books, which is in a part of town not too far off from my hotel. Back in January, I bought a booked from ZVAB, and the order was fulfilled by Manohar, so it was a pleasure to look them up. Their shop is located in an area predominated by booksellers—the Oxford University Press, for instance, is right across the street. Even their building had several sellers in it, so I first went into a store that sold mainly new historical non-fiction and pulp fiction titles, and after a thorough look around for something juicy, left in disappointed. Only then did I realize that the storefront I was looking for was much more secluded…

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In Delhi, part one


Delhi, or Dilli. These characters still need work, I know. Sorry for the lack of images; I haven’t any photos yet.

Wednesday, May 14
My flight left Heathrow in the morning, quite early. I flew with Air France to Paris, and then switched planes to fly to Delhi. While I was waiting in the terminal in London, I went online at one of those pay-as-you-go Internet terminals. They also had sites that you could surf for free, like the UK Foreign Office travel advisories/country reports. I looked up India and saw that it had just been updated—on the 13th, a coordinated series of bombings hit Jaipur, where I’m travelling to next week. Oh dear.

On the plane I read more about the bombings in The Times. It seems that several blasts hit the city center, where tourists congregate. Many people were killed or injured. Although I worry about everything, I still guess that it is safe to travel there. Is Jaipur significantly more dangerous than New York or London?

My takeoff from London was delayed. As a result, I didn’t have much time to catch my connecting flight. I did make it to the airplane in Paris on time , but my luggage did not. Air France only flies once a day to Delhi, which means that they won’t deliver my bag to my Delhi hotel until Friday morning…

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