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Briem’s notes on type design: Modules on a grid

How to make a typeface in a day

Here’s a design that my students at the Royal Academy and I assembled as our first exercise. It was the start of the BriemAkademi typeface family.

This character set is made of capitals, lower case and basic punctuation, both in normal width and condensed. Most of it is put together from three building blocks.

The first building block is a rectangle.

The second building block is a curve.

The third building block is a diagonal.

Two stages

The first is simple assembly work, roughing out the characters. In the second stage, they are changed a little where the modules don’t look quite right on their own.

Some sculptors say they “chop away anything that doesn’t look like a statue.” A similar approach will take you a long way with lettershapes; we’ll get to that later.

Modules are one way of making a start. First of all, we’ll make a grid.

Notes on type design. Copyright © 1998, 2001, 2022 Gunnlaugur SE Briem. All rights reserved. Republished with permission in 2022 by Fontlab Ltd.