The Stroke: Theory of Writing & The Letter Spirit

18 May 2008

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For those of you who like to design type, I recommend reading these: 

The Stroke: Theory of Writing by Gerrit Noordzij

“Starting from basic principles, Noordzij begins with the white space that creates definition by surrounding letters. Then, using simple geometrical concepts, he describes in minute detail how the strokes of writing can be formed. His theory serves to repair the split that grew up, with the invention of printing, between written and typographic letters.” (from Google Books)

The Letter Spirit by Doug Hofstadter, Gary McGraw and John Rehling

“The specific focus of Letter Spirit is the creative act of artistic letter-design. The aim is to model how the 26 lowercase letters of the roman alphabet can be rendered in many different but internally coherent styles. The program addresses two important aspects of letterforms: the categorical sameness possessed by letters belonging to a given category ( e.g., `a’) and the stylistic sameness possessed by letters belonging to a given style (e.g., Helvetica). Starting with one or more seed letters representing the beginnings of a style, the program will attempt to create the rest of the alphabet in such a way that all 26 letters share that same style, or spirit.” (download Gary McGraw’s thesis here)

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