GT Academy: Type Design Tutorials

GT Academy: Lesson 12: Spacing

The Grilli Type Foundry has been publishing a series of small bite-sized tutorials on type design: the GT Academy.

Currently, it features 17 “issues” published ranging from drawing basics to advanced optical compensations. It starts in a slightly different approach from ours: with the letter “a”. But then, the method is almost the same. Starting with the lowercase, and addressing it in groups. I believe they should introduce the lesson 3 first, and do the circular and arch shapes in a sequence. Then again, their method also makes sense and is slightly less “boring”, as it allows to keep going back and forth between design decisions.

They introduce uppercase letters in lesson 14. And they’re still publishing a small tutorial each week. This format resembles Sofie Beier’s Type Tricks book, we also make good use during the last part of the semester. So it’s a great resource to keep an eye out for

  1. The “a” general introduction:
  2. The “c e o” circular shapes:
  3. The “h n m u” rhythm basics:
  4. “b d p q” circular shape letters:
  5. The “i j r” arch branches:
  6. The “t f” horizontal crossbars:
  7. The “x” shape and diagonal strokes:
  8. The “y” and additional diagonals:
  9. The “s”:
  10. The (single or double-story) “g”:
  11. Lowercase review:
  12. Spacing (sidebearings):
  13. Lowercase and uppercase proportions:
  14. Uppercase horizontal strokes:
  15. Triangular (apex) uppercase shapes:
  16. Uppercase diagonals:
  17. The “M N” proportions and strokes:
  18. The “C D G” proportions:
  19. The “B P R” counter and cross stroke balance:
  20. Short “interval” to have a little fun with “Q” and its tail:
  21. The “J S U” capital letters. Not happy — not happy at all! — with their over-simplistic explanation of the spine of the “S”. It’s cumbersome and plain right misleading. This is the reason why knowing calligraphy is important to type design. Nevertheless, it may prove to be some an easier (?) of starting point to design it, from a beginner’s point of view? Not all is lost. Loved the fast and easy “U” trick:

By Pedro Amado

Pedro Amado. Assistant Professor at FBAUP. Integrated researcher of the i2ADS research institute.