Plantin Institute of Typography
Plantin Instituut voor Typograﬁe
History of the Book is one of our students’ favourite courses and therefore it will be repeated in March 2021 in a new format. For the first time, the entire course will be livestreamed and given in English, allowing international students to take advantage of this three-day course.
The course will be taught in the classroom at the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp, but international students can participate remotely via Zoom, synchronously (in real time). Teacher Dr. Goran Proot approaches the subject in a narrative, accessible and interactive way. The course includes a show-and-tell with books from the Museum, and during the course students are invited to handle books from the teacher’s private book collection as well.
For the first time John A. Lane will give his series of lectures about the history of printing types in English. The course will be taught in the classroom at the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp, but international students can participate remotely via Zoom, synchronously (in real time).
These lectures discuss the influence of manuscript and engraved letterforms on the form of printing types from the introduction of European movable type to the digital era. They cover the work of the most important punchcutters and type designers from the earliest roman types (Nicholas Jenson, Francesco Griffo) to the late 20th century (Hermann Zapf, Adrian Frutiger).
Due to the uncertainty that remains over the development of the pandemic, this year’s edition of the Expert class Type design course will be completely remote. This is undoubtedly attractive for those who cannot come to Antwerp because of travel restrictions. For example, students from the USA, Brazil and Thailand will take this unique opportunity to take the classes this year. It is a one-off initiative that undoubtedly saves a lot of travel and hotel costs.
This year’s edition will have 13 participants from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, UK, USA, Brazil and Thailand.
This course is taught by type designer, font producer, software developer, and Senior Lecturer Dr. Frank E. Blokland.
The German newspaper Handelsblatt was redesigned by Garcia Media and Guyot, a typeface which started in our Expert class Type design, is now the main typeface for titles and texts.
Guyot is a type family inspired by the work of the punchcutter François Guyot, who lived and worked in Antwerp during the sixteenth century. Ramiro Espinoza got acquainted with the work of Guyot while attending the Expert Class in Type Design at Antwerp’s Plantin Institute of Typography. Researching French and Flemish punchcutters, Espinoza soon realized that the work of the most important masters of the period had already been digitized.
Eventually the examples in Folger’s type specimen – attributed to François Guyot – which were reproduced in Sixteenth Century Types of the Low Countries caught Espinoza’s attention. Although the two biggest roman sizes were cut quite irregularly, they had some attractive features, and the matching italics were positively charming. And so a digital Guyot seemed in order.
Espinoza took macro images from Plantin’s famous 1567 type specimen that features Guyot’s roman and italic Ascendonicas. These images were printed in a relatively large size, after which Espinoza cleaned up the contours and interpreted the letterforms by sketching them using different approaches. This constituted the first step in the process of defining the character of the font. Once this month-long analog stage was over, he started digitising the letters.
Espinoza decided early on that his Guyot was not going to be a facsimile typeface. He increased the x-height dramatically to accommodate the preferences of current magazine and newspaper designers and editors.
Gradually specific features present in the original metal types were abandoned in the process of improving the digital contours, making the new fonts acquire their own identity. Espinoza drew on his past experience as an in-house newspaper designer, as well as on his current work in font production for the editorial market. His background played a significant role in the decision to give the letters a sturdy appearance and sharp angles.
During his year at the Plantin Institute of Typography, Espinoza researched additionally the work of several punchcutters from the seventeenth century. Details common to the types of that period – like an increased contrast and an enlarged terminal in the a – were applied to Guyot to give its look a more familiar and universal appeal. The Guyot family was eventually divided into three subfamilies: Headline, Text and Press to take full advantage of the possibilities of these optical ranges.
In 2018 Guyot was awarded by the Type Directors Club with a ‘Certificate of Typographic Excellence’.
Ramiro Espinoza (Santa Fe, 1969) studied graphic design at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral in Santa Fe, Argentina. After graduation he taught Typography at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.
He specialized in type design at the KABK’s Type and Media in The Hague and the Expert class Type design of the Plantin Institute in Antwerp (2015–16). In 2007 he founded the Retype Foundry to market his typefaces.