This week I am finalising the format 260×260. This format is presenting the development towards Roman type and how different influences of 15th century ideologies have inflicted on that development.
I want this to be logic in visual narrative and relate to the written research without being over explanatory. I found my previous sketches of this format to be too literal, too much categorisation and they did not align with the kind of visual direction I was going for.
I printed and scanned the letters back in for a softer texture. I want a good texture for this, not too rough and not too computer-generated. I print and scan using my oldest printer. This project is in its essence implying there is a gap between hand and brain and these textures are an attempt at revoke the hand in the final outcome.
The lowercase letters in the ‘Towards Roman’ folder are there to underscore the mix of influences across different types and scripts and how they basically overlap each other. It is a way to visualise how complex the development was, not linear, not definite in either gothic or roman or uncial. A mix. This means that at certain times and places there are letters that align more or less with the other letters presented in the ‘Towards Roman’ folder. I have intentionally worked out a selection of letters that aligns better from my lists of characteristics, just to underpin my argument. In a book historical or paleographic context this would not have been accepted, but I consider this context where the main focus is the development of Roman type, this can be an acceptable way of curating the letters. I have no paleographic training, and this analog tracing was the approach that provided the most detailed of the letters.
The Subiaco was the only type or script where almost all letters were traced. Some letters are quite rare in Latin and where harder to find and therefore left out.
I outlined the letters one by one in illustrator, that way I have vector versions of them. I tried to be as true to their original character as possible. But a lot of fine detail was lost in this process.
I have recently changed the source for the Humanist script into a hand that correlates better with my exploration. I took a page from my new source, sampled the letters I needed. I wanted to ensure I included o’s from all my types and scripts, since I find them to be good for establishing the axis.
I traced them on baking paper over my light table. Then scanned them, put them in illustrator and tried to draw as precise as possible from my sketches.
These were given a sublime grain, before being printed and then scanned back in again.
I tried to position the letters in the grid to the extent that it is possible without infringing on the logic of the narrative of the page.
I tried to distinguish the different kind of components.
To the upper left are visual markers for possible influences, such as Moveable type, Latin, Humanism, Charlemagne, Middle ages, Broad nib ben, Calligraphy, Antiquity, Latin Alphabet, North/South division of Europe, etc. To the right is how these concepts can be viusalised through echoing Renaissance woodcut.
To the lower left is the final visual markers that I used to base my sketches on.
When looking through these prototypes it just did not seem right, the illustrations and letters seemed too far from the visual expression I wanted. I wanted a more book historic vibe.
Why do I struggle so much to find the visual expression? I need to define it to be able to create the rest of the material.