Dalton Maag: What Lies Beneath

Tonight at uni was a typography talk with Bruno and Tom from Dalton Maag and my brain is buzzing! Not only did we get to see the complete creative process on two completely different projects but I also learnt a lot which will be incredibly useful in my work in the future. Here were some of my highlights:

  • The process of creating ‘Lush’ font; a handwritten font which was originally handwritten by trained typographers. This was becoming too difficult, expensive and inconsistent and so Dalton Maag held a workshop for the typographers. The each drew out the same Lush phrases to see the differentiation in each of their fonts, though each were trying to recreate the same style. What I found most amazing about this was the detail in the final font – they coded a moveable font so that, to maintain the aesthetic of handwritten type, no two letters close to each other would be the same. The type would check five lines above so that if there were two of the same letter above or below each other, they would be a different form. This maintained the look that had become the trademark of Lush, whilst being less time consuming and saving money.
  • If a typeface is too expressive, it will be of its time and go out of fashion.
  • If a typeface is too standard and boring, it won’t go out of fashion but will never be get noticed or be in fashion! Getting the balance is important.
  • Typefaces can be both human and engineered – though those sound like oxymorons. Bruno described this kind of type as the Terminator of typefaces.
  • Your eye reads by jumping from 6-9 letters at a time, 7-8 times per line. Therefore the perfect line length is between 55-65 characters.
  • Dalton Maag typefaces can be used by students for free in academic work.
  • Always read the end user license to see if the font can be used for ANYTHING!!
  • Tom described his design process as research, ideation, design concept, concept refinement and then execution. It is important to have a creative brief and to pick out the key words. Remember this process takes time and cannot be rushed.
  • Minus tracking is BAD!
  • So is Brexit.

The talk was incredibly inspiring and I learnt a lot not only about the work of Dalton Maag and their history but the history of type and communication itself and the design process in incredibly high exposure jobs.


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