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Genuine imitations: a type designer’s view of revivals
Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 7:00 PM (BST)
London, United Kingdom
The Justin Howes Memorial Lecture 2009 will be given by Matthew Carter on Thursday 28 May at 7.00pm.
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A number of Matthew Carter’s designs have been based on historical types: ITC Galliard, Big Caslon, Big Figgins, Miller and Vincent among them. Others, like Snell Roundhand and Mantinia, were derived from non-typographic sources from the past. In this lecture he explains his debt to the historical legacy – especially to the resources of St Bride’s. His type revivals have varied in faithfulness to their models, which raises questions about the responsibilities of the continuator of traditional forms, about degrees of interpretation, adaptation to current technology, ancestor worship and travesty. Justin Howes would certainly have disapproved of some, at least, of Matthew’s revivals. This lecture is offered, therefore, in affectionate memory of a historian and fellow type-reviver who might not have agreed, but certainly enjoyed a good argument.
Matthew Carter is a type designer with fifty years’ experience of typographic technologies ranging from hand-cut punches to computer fonts. He is a principal of Carter & Cone Type Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, designers and producers of original typefaces. His type designs include ITC Galliard, Snell Roundhand, Bell Centennial, Big Caslon, Skia and Miller. For Microsoft he designed the screen fonts Verdana, Tahoma and Georgia. Carter is a Royal Designer for Industry and a recipient of the AIGA medal and the Type Directors Club medal. In 2004 he received the Special Commendation of the Prince Philip Designers Prize ‘for outstanding achievement in design for business and society’. He has taught for many years at Yale’s graduate school of Graphic Design.