Michael Harvey’s Teaching Notes 1983–1995, part 8D
READING 1995–1999 : Letterforms
These ﬁnal notes from the Letterforms course are devoted to type design from punches to pixels. They were scattered about in the Reading 1995 folder so I have arranged them in an order that seems to make sense to me. Perhaps one of Michael’s Reading students will be link the notes to the actual classes.
It is not clear exactly where this page belongs in the Letterforms course notes. I am placing it with the notes about type design since it is at the beginning of that sequence in the folder, but it also follows the notes on engraved letters. Though the references to freehand drawing and Michael Pratley—a London lettering artist—as a guest speaker suggest otherwise, my assumption is that this is a bridge between the two categories. (The notes in red were clearly added later and may have nothing to do with the drawings underneath.)
This last page is about Multiple Master fonts, a technology that Adobe developed as a spin-off from its Illustrator program. The idea behind it is that interpolation—a technique pioneered by Peter Karow and his colleagues at URW in the 1970s—can be used to create letters between two sets of already designed letters. That is, from the design of a regular and a bold weight of a typeface a medium weight can be interpolated by a computer using a drawing program. Although the resultant design needs some optical tweaking by a human being, it is otherwise complete. The MM concept is not limited to weight but as Michael’s drawing indicates, can also be applied to width. Adobe even went beyond these two parameters and applied the technique to serif structure, decoration and optical sizing. The MM technology was built into fonts so that the user could create new variations on an existing font “on the fly”. It was abandoned by Adobe in 2003. As far as I know, Michael never worked on an MM font.