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Counterpunch : making type
in the sixteenth century, designing typefaces now

Fred Smeijers
184 pages (February 1997)
Princeton Architectural Press
ISBN: 0907259065

This book will be an appreciable source of information for typography professionals. It deals globally with every aspects of type design from history to traditional type composition. In particular, the historical part is very well documented. For specialists only.

Western typography is still dominated by letterforms designed in the first hundred years of printing. What were the processes that lie behind these forms ? This book provides a close-up view of the work of the sixteenth-century French and Flemish punchcutters. On the basis both of his own experience in making type and a hard look at the surviving evidence, Fred Smeijers blows away the antiquarian dust that now covers the topic. As an introduction to this discussion, he outlines fundamental issues in letter and type design. The last chapters consider punchcutting in the light of current technical and social developments.
Counterpunch shows that the old processes echo on, giving lessons for contemporary practice. The book will appeal to anyone curious about type and what can be done with letters.

Fundamental factors
1. Why this book?
2. Terminology
3. The three ways of making letters
4. Type: a game of black and white
5. Comparing typefaces
Punchcutting in its contexts
6. Letters and the Italian intellect
7. The place of the punch in type production
8. The punchcutter and the historians
9. Where does the punchcutter come from?
10. The rise and fall of the punchcutter

Punchcutting in the sixteenth century
11. Punching and digging
12. The delighs of steel
13. Fournier and punchcutting
14. How did they really do it?
15. Fixing the image
16. Sequence of design and production
17. One punch a day
18. Where are the counterpunches
19. Hendrik van den Keere and outlines
20. Linearity

Punchcutting and the working of type
21. Does technique influence form?
22. The unconscious eye
To the future
23. Punchcutting in the digital eye
24. Type design and language
25. The limits of roman
26. Opening and changes
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