Firmin 1796

I’m slightly obses­sed with Didot faces and glyph inter­po­la­tion at the moment. Here’s a lit­tle expe­riment to see how far one can go about desi­gning type using extra­po­la­tion. I’ve already used extra­po­la­tion quite exten­si­vely in my on-going pro­ject, Tri­anon, but I did approach it in a very trial-and-error way. So here I am again, trying to figure out on a les­ser scale and more pre­ci­sely what good extra­po­la­tion can be and how to draw in order to obtain the best pos­sible results. The idea isn’t so much to work fas­ter than to obtain more consis­tency bet­ween mas­ters. In effect, extra­po­la­tion ampli­fies dif­fe­rences bet­ween mas­ters and maths are bru­tally objec­tive: extra­po­la­ted glyphs can be quite good reve­la­tors of dis­cre­pan­cies in the drawing.

Only three styles where drawn in the fol­lo­wing attempt, the others are either inter­po­la­ted or extra­po­la­ted. There are two regu­lar styles of dif­ferent contrast and a heavy one with mode­rate contrast. The ini­tial style — also the first in this list — is based on a face cut by Fir­min Didot in 1796 and first used that same year for an edi­tion of De la Rochefoucault’s Maximes et réflexions morales [1].


[1] Sébas­tien Mor­li­ghem, The ‘modern face’ in France and Great Bri­tain, 1781–1825: typo­gra­phy as an ideal of pro­gress, 2014

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