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• • • • • • on letters, words, books and graphic design • • • • • •

Abstract lettering

Letters are as much about the inner spaces as about the printing part. No new thought to anyone familiar with type, of course. It’s about the tension between outer and inner contours, sometimes fragile, sometimes bold. Good type, when enlarged, gives me the same breathtaking shiver as good sculpture. Just as woodblock printing, type design has more affinity with sculpting than with drawing. Cutting mass away, bringing light in the black. Not adding form but revealing it.

In my sketchbook I sometimes play with the anatomy of lettering, not making actual letterforms. Abstract lettering? Maybe I will place one here now and then…

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freewheeling: blind lettering!

Fontstruct is fun, but square. Time to break out of the grid.
Let’s play a game.
The tools: paper, a pencil or a brush and a free mind.
The rules: put the point of your pencil somewhere on the paper. Visualise the limits of your sheet of paper. Then close your eyes and draw a letterform. Use the whole field and make broad, clear strokes. No hesitation and no peeping. Open your eyes when finished.
If what you see provokes a smile, you are allowed a fresh cup of coffee. Next sheet. After 5 cups, replace the coffee by chocolate bars: too much coffee is not good for you.  Every 10th reward is replaced by a fresh pint of beer. If you keep smiling at every new try, stop playing: too much beer is not good for your judgment. Continue tomorrow.
Happy blind lettering!

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