I’m back in Italy for the Christmas break. I came home last saturday and will stay until the 1st of January, when I’ll be back in Reading with my sister, who hasn’t yet seen the UK. The last few weeks have been very busy. We had another week with Gerard Unger working on our typefaces some more and ending with his usual lecture on the traditional Dutch chocolate letters:
I have been going through ups and down with my typeface project. What I found interesting is that Gerard continued pushing me to try more and more experimental forms, until I finally reached a point where my “usual” shapes where gone. Now I’m moving in this uncharted territory, not sure about the outcome but glad to be experimenting more than I anticipated.
On another note, one sunday morning I went with Eben and Julia to the Reading cemetery. It’s somewhat of a must for Reading students to go there once a year, especially since it’s so big and full of inscriptions carved in stone. This is very different from Italy, where most of the tombstones only have metal or plastic letters attached to the marble or granite surface.
Before leaving for Italy, Amélie kindly took it upon herself to organise a movie night at the department. We watched some typographical movies then turned the Tschichold workshop (the room where we typeface designers tend to hang out in the department) into some kind of disco, dancing through the night with silly Eric Gill paper hats we did with Martin. We where joined later during the night by Dan, Joke and Mathieu, three of last year’s MATD students that where in Reading for their graduation ceremony. Here is Dan wearing my hat:
We also managed to squeeze in a little letterpress session right before leaving, but I’ll talk more about it later. Coming home has been good: I had many people to meet and much stuff to research for my essay, which is due on the 19th of January. I’m researching phonebook typefaces so last week I visited the archives of the italian yellow pages company, SEAT, in Torino, together with Piero De Macchi. It was a long trip during a cold and rainy day, but the outcome was worth it:
My research hasn’t stopped there, though. I managed to squeeze in a little visit to the amazing Enrico Tallone, of Alberto Tallone Editore. If you don’t know about them and you care about typography and fine printing, you should do yourself a favour and get to know who they are and what they do. It turns out Enrico also had some relevant materials for my research. I need to go back to Torino anyway in the next week to meet Piero De Macchi again about his Nomina typeface and meet a couple of other people related to my ongoing Officine Simoncini research (if you’re interested, I recentely published an artilcle about it in the Italic 2.0 book by De Agostini), before going back to the UK again. I must say I love doing this kind of research: every time I meet someone new, they give me twice as much information as I was asking for and everybody is always very welcoming to me, for some reason.
Needless to say all of this makes me very busy, but hey, I can’t complain!