Type and Media

TypeMedia is a full-time one year Master program held at The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in The Netherlands, that gives participants the possibility of delving deeper in the field of type design. At TypeMedia, students work intensively in small groups of no more than twelve persons. They work under the guidance of expert and enthusiastic teachers from the permanent and visiting faculty. Although the student’s personal motivation is given primary place, collaboration with other students is of fundamental importance.

This year's graduates came from a variety of countries:

Alexandre Saumier Demers from Canada, Hugo Marucco from France, Mark Frömberg from Germany, Mark Yehan De Winne from Singapore, Sláva Jevčinová and David Chmela from Slovakia, Nina Stössinger from Switzerland and James T. Edmondson from the United States of America.

The course also had past graduates from many more countries, of which Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Turkey.

With the help, assistance and supervision of the regular faculty teachers, visiting teachers and lecturers, the TypeMedia students immerse themselves in the type design world by completing many different assignments. These assignments range from stone carving classes, Python programming, the creation of revivals of lead typefaces, calligraphy exercises, exploration of different sketching techniques, all of which are constantly reviewed and discussed. On top of that, the students go on regular field trips around the country and abroad to explore the typographic, artistic and architectural culture of the region and attend many different conferences and lectures by numerous international type design experts. All this experience is used in the student's final projects, four months spent entirely on the creation of an original typeface family.


This year's students would like to thank the regular teachers, visiting teachers and supervisors at TypeMedia for their incredible help, support and commitment:

Françoise Berserik, Peter Biľak, Erik van Blokland, Petr van Blokland, Frank Blokland, Paul van der Laan, Just van Rossum, Jan Willem Stas and Peter Verheul.

The guest critics and instructors who graciously gave us their time:

Jo De Baerdemaeker, Frederik Berlaen, Liz Bijl, Frank Grießhammer, Luc(as) de Groot, Akira Kobayashi, Kristyan Sarkis, Christian Schwartz.

And finally, a non-exhaustive list of others who have enriched us this year:

Donald Beekman, Frederic Brodbeck, Liza Enebeis, Guy Hutsebaut, Bas Jacobs, Indra Kupferschmid, Warren Lee, Tal Leming, Mathieu Lommen, Hilario Nicolaas, David Jonathan Ross, Georg Seifert, Rickey Tax, Mr. Veenstra, Johan de Zoete.


Website developed by Frederic Brodbeck with Flask. Text set in Neutral designed by Kai Bernau and distributed by Typotheque.

TypeMedia 2014

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Lewis is a typeface designed for mathematical typesetting, specifically for the TeX typesetting system. It consists of 3 text styles (Roman, Bold, Italic) and 3 math styles (Math Italic, Greek, Blackboard) for use as variables. The text Italic relates to the Roman while the Math Italic stand out with its cursive construction. Likewise, the Greek differentiate easily from latin characters. The Blackboard inlines are adapted for text sizes with their wide and open cut. Lewis features many size variants and extending shapes, ideal in displayed equations.

Alexandre Saumier Demers

Alexandre Saumier Demers is a type designer and co-founder of Coppers and Brasses, a type foundry established in Montreal. Together with his partner Étienne Aubert Bonn, they share an interest for type design, programming, lettering and stone carving. Alexandre studied graphic design at the Université du Québec à Montréal before completing the Type and Media MA at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.


Learning to typeset mathematics was the first step and the most crucial part of my project. I bought a copy of the TeXbook and quickly fell in love with the simplicity and potential of the language, especially with Donald Knuth’s writing enriched with humour, creativity and wisdom. I started to use LaTeX for typesetting formulas, a document preparation system and markup language.

For the first sketching phase, I used TypeCooker to explore different styles and avoid restricting my design to preconceived ideas. At one point I adapted 3 of the 12 parameters to fit my project goals. Then I would progressively fix each setting to conceive my own recipe. It was a good way of writing down the brief and keeping design features consistent.

My sketching process involved some marker pens and a lot of Wite-Out. I started with the roman, while thinking about the italic because of its special context in mathematics. Used for variables in text and formulas, italic letters stand on their own and therefore need to be different in proportion and weight. Instead of blending in, they can stick out to a certain degree.

I first designed my math italic to make it work in text. I eventually realized it could not perform in both cases without being wrong in one. I finally decided to take advantage of the problem and go beyond minimal adjustments. My typeface would have two distinct italics, one to blend with the roman in text and serve as a second voice, and one making full use of cursive forms to express the importance of single letters.

Since the Greek letters would be used as symbols and carry a specific meaning, they could not borrow too much from the roman. Letters like alpha, nu and upsilon can sometimes look like roman a, v and u respectively. I practiced my handwriting and looked at different Greek designs, especially earlier models, to study original forms that were not too influenced by roman typefaces. I felt quite intimidated to work on a foreign script with little experience. Luckily, I had to treat these letters as symbols and make them recognizable by mathematicians, not native speakers. I could focus on designing a distinct group of shapes that did not require text comprehension.

Many problems had to be fixed in the text styles. The serifs were too long, the contrast was inconsistent and the weight was not dark enough for text. When I look back at older files I am surprised I did not see what was wrong right away.

At the beginning of my project, I developed a script to keep a daily archive of my files. This image shows an overview in time of the development.

I was interested in the OpenType Math table and its recent support in TeX, which seemed like the best solution for my workflow. I could use python to generate all the XML then compile it into an OTF with TTX.

I developed my own extension using vanilla and RoboFont. Then, in a few seconds, I could edit all the math constants, add new glyph variants, or set some italic corrections to my typeface. This was a very exciting moment in my project, as it combined all my research and design efforts into a working font.

I developed a smaller extension to help me design the special script style. In a math font, they are the same height as normal figures, and scaled by the typesetting system. The extension was reproducing this environment. I used the Bold weight to interpolate the two levels of sub and superscripts to adjust the weight when scaling.