From 17 May till 31 August 2014 projects of the Expert class Type design (EcTd) students will be exhibited at the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp. The EcTd course is offered by the Plantin Institute of Typography, which operates under the umbrella of the renown Plantin Society. The exhibition comprises work of students who successfully ﬁnished the 2012–2013 course and a preview of the ongoing projects of the current 2013–2014 course. This is the third consecutive EcTd exhibition at the Museum Plantin-Moretus and the ﬁrst one that is combined with the Expert class Book design course.
The displayed projects are as diverse as the students, of which many have ﬁnished (multiple) bachelor or master studies in graphic design or in related subjects, and who all share a fascination for type (design) and typography. The subjects vary from an in-depth study of a renaissance typeface produced by Geraert van der Leye (latinised into Gerardus de Lisa when he moved to Italy) in the ﬁfteenth century, resulting in a revival that clearly deviates from the ‘Jenson-Griffo’ ones, to the development of a completely new present-day typeface.
In between a revival is made based on punches, matrices and type of Robert Granjon in the collection of the Musem Plantin-Moretus, a technically and aesthetically impressive line-for-line redrawing of one of the cursive ‘hands’ of Jan van den Velde, a Dutch master-calligrapher from the seventeenth century, and typefaces based on writing with the broad-nibbed pen and ﬂexible pointed pen are developed for for instance display purposes or for application in children books.
The EcTd course is a tough one, if only because the students have to combine the study with their daily work, which varies from graphic designing to lecturing. To investigate historic material, to explore the inﬂuence of writing tools on the shape, contrast and contrast-ﬂow, to draw type based on the outcomes of the research and to test different font tools cost a lot of time and effort. The quality displayed at the exhibition is therefore even more impressive.
Having the EcTd course under the roof of what can be considered the ‘Holy Temple of type’, i.e., the Museum Plantin-Moretus, provides not only the best possible atmosphere but also the very unique opportunity to make direct use of the museum’s exquisite collection of punches, matrices, cast type and prints for research purposes and revival projects.