Seattle type event - Karen Cheng - Designing Type - launch and talk Apr 13

Si_Daniels's picture

Hi,

The talk will be held at the Univeristy of Washington's Henry Art Gallery on April 13th at 6pm. I'll post more details as I get them.

Karen Cheng's book "Designing Type" is due out on April 3rd, in English...

http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=0300111509

...and for the true Typorati in hardback German too...

http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/3874396894/qid=1142872098/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/303-2819883-9969008

Cheers, Si

Si_Daniels's picture

Here's a link directly to info from the German publisher - http://www.typografie.de/verlagsverzeichnis/typografie/689-4.html

If any font people are planning to attend the talk and are interested in meeitng up somewhere on "the Ave" before hand for a pint or three please post a note here or contact me off-list.

Cheers, Si

dezcom's picture

Have you met Karen Cheng Si! I just pre-ordered the book because I am too impatient to wait for reviews but I wondered if you knew anything about her background and why she would be a good author of a type design book. I Googled her and could not find any type designs to her credit.

ChrisL

Si_Daniels's picture

Hi Chris,

Karen teaches the typography course at the University of Washington, and I heard about her and her book from one of her students, Microsoft's own Kevin Larson. When Kevin joined the Advanced Reading Technology group he decided to go do a type course so he could better understand what people like Mike and Geraldine were talking about. I think this was also part of Kevin's secret plan to become an A-list superstar speaker at typography conferences.

I met Karen for the first time on Sunday and got to briefly see the books (English and German) for the first time as well. It struck me as a very methodical, practical, hands-on manual describing the process of designing a western font. My initial reaction was also that it will be a bit controversial, with seasoned pro's exclaiming "you can't distil my fifty years of experience into a how-to guide!" But I think even non-beginers will get something out of it, for example the part on diacritics (some Twardochian principles seem to be in use).

I don't think people will feel cheated out of their $20, and I'm going to order copies for my team. I think John Berry is writing a review so if people want to wait, they might want to check out his thoughts before ordering, but I say go for it!

As for why she did the book? I'm sure all will be revealed at the talk, but I'll ask her and report back.

Si

dezcom's picture

Thanks Si. Good to hear!
I realize it is just a book and not the pretender to all that there is to know about type. I look forward to reading it.

Take care,

ChrisL

Si_Daniels's picture

Just a note that Karen's book is out today. I'm interested in what people think of it.

dezcom's picture

I pre-ordered mine from Amazon. I will let you know when I have read it.

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

Hrant is supposed to write a review for me ;-)

Norbert Florendo's picture

> Hrant is supposed to write a review for me ;-)

Hrant show me the book during our lunch in LA and had the chance to literally flip through the pages and at first glance it looks like it could be useful to beginning type design in the context of class study.

I'm sure there will be yays & nays and I look forward to Hrant's and John B's reviews. As Hrant explained to me, some of Karen's students assisted with the project.

hrant's picture

It's definitely worth a lot more than what it costs,
and actually to more people than just beginners.

But yes, a full (bilingual) review is in the works.

hhp

books's picture

Dearest Book buyers,

Please don't buy your books from Amazon. They are making it nearly impossible for the independent bookseller to survive. It is not acceptable to bring a discount book into a real bookstore for a signing. If you want a signed copy of a title, buy it from the store hosting the signing & keep an eye on the bigger picture.

Si_Daniels's picture

Dear Books,

Didn't mean to offend anyone. I linked to the German Amazon site as I couldn't find a direct link to the German publisher. In this case the signing will happen at a gallery, not a book shop. But I suspect the copies the author sells at the talk would be considered harmful to indie book stores too.

books's picture

Well, actually it IS at a bookstore, in the Henry Art Gallery. No offense taken - I only hope that we can avoid complete homogenization.

thanks for responding.

hrant's picture

> I only hope that we can avoid complete homogenization.

Not at this rate/direction we can't.
The core has to be rebuilt.

hhp

dezcom's picture

Dear Books,

I live in Virginia and will not be attending the book signing in Seattle. (I don't think I need to be coached on the no-no of bringing a book from another vendor to a book signing.) Am I still allowed to buy the book or do I need your approval on all my book purchases? I buy many more books than I can afford as it is. If I pay retail prices, to make you happy, I will just buy fewer books and the only person who will be happy is you. If you want me to still pay retail, send me the difference in price and I will buy from the merchant of your choice. That way everyone will be happy, the author, the publisher, the bookstore, and you.

ChrisL

hrant's picture

Indeed, there's something to be said about
encouraging people just to buy books at all,
instead of putting them off by telling them
where not to get them signed.

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

>Well, actually it IS at a bookstore

Oops again. Didn't realize that the signing would not be happening in the auditorium - if Karen will only be signing books in the store then I'd agree it would be very bad form to bring in your Amazon purchases for her to sign. I'm sure no one on typophile would do that. As for me I don't tend to line up for book signings, line up at the bar maybe, but not to have a book signed.

dezcom's picture

"...line up at the bar maybe,..."

Well, I guess I'll know where to find you in Boston this summer :-)

ChrisL

david h's picture

> It is not acceptable to bring a discount book into a real bookstore for a signing.

> I’d agree it would be very bad form to bring in your Amazon purchases for her to sign.

Only one 'problem':

Amazon.com:
Availability: This item has not yet been released. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com....

Product Details
• Paperback: 224 pages
• Publisher: Yale University Press (May 11, 2006)
• Language: English

Si_Daniels's picture

The publisher still lists it as the 3rd - oh well

http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=0300111509

hrant's picture

Fancy-pants Yale can't properly space its own name.

hhp

david h's picture

What's the right date?

Si_Daniels's picture

I'll fire off mail to Karen.

Cheers, Si

Si_Daniels's picture

Got a reply from Karen - Amazon has it wrong - the book can be ordered directly from Yale - http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=0300111509

Si_Daniels's picture

Kevin Larson and myself have picked a location for the pre-talk pints - http://www.bigtimebrewery.com/ (based on location and the sites use of Comic Sans) for those who wouldn't recognize us we'll likely be at the bar wearing our KERN zipups.

Also talk details...

Designing Type
A Lecture by Karen Cheng
Thursday, April 13/ 6:00pm - 8:00pm
A reception and book signing will follow the lecture.
Henry Art Gallery
15th Ave NE and NE 41st Street
University of Washington

Typefaces are one of the graphic designer's most essential tools; they can determine the success or failure of visual communication. In her new book, Designing Type, Karen Cheng examines what makes a good typeface, describing in detail how to construct letters, numbers, and accents in serif and sans-serif systems.

Cheng analyzes a wide range of classic and modern typefaces, including many from today's premier contemporary type foundries. In the rapidly broadening market for original and custom fonts, Designing Type is an excellent reference for experienced professionals and novice designers.

Hosted by Peter Miller Books
Co-sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities

Cheers, Si

david h's picture

....reading the book right now.

dezcom's picture

David, but are you reading it at the "Big Time Brewery" with Si and Kevin? :-)

ChrisL

david h's picture

Where's Si? the grain room? :)

Si_Daniels's picture

Sorry, I was out back helping the owner load some kegs into the delivery van. The things I'll do for a free pint. Kevin's explaining the parallel processing model to the brewmaster.

Cheers, Si

Stephen Coles's picture

Aww, man. Wish I could be there, I look forward to your reviews of the lecture.

Typographica will have a review of the book very soon.

antiuser's picture

I might go... it all depends on whether I can get off work early.

canderson's picture

I'm going. I'm also going to show up at the Big Time Brewery beforehand.

david h's picture

Review - book, lecture? Hrant? Si?

hrant's picture

My book review is in the works, and thanks to Dan
it will be published (in English and German) here:
http://www.typeoff.de/

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

I'm still waiting for your text, Hrant ;-)

hrant's picture

It needs to be translated. But first it needs to be finished.

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

No worries. I'm looking forward to reading it! (the book, too… I still have to go check it out)

Si_Daniels's picture

>Review?

First off I had a pint of the Amber, it was okay, but had a bit of that fizzy homebrew aftertaste. Then when some others arrived we got a pitcher of the Scarlett IPA, described as an “experiment” by the barkeep it was actually pretty nice, had good color, and didn’t have the kick of some other IPA’s. It was pretty smooth.

As for the talk, the auditorium was full, I’d guess about 180 people, with a number standing. Karen stood at the base of the stage and her style was pretty entertaining, a touch of self deprecating humor, and jokes which seemed to be a hit with the crowd. Using questions reproduced from four or five student evaluation forms, her short (no more than half an hour) talk was really an entry-level introduction to the appreciation and understanding of type – and was at the right level for the audience who seemed to be mostly students, ex students, friends and local celebrities (Kevin Larson & John D. Berry being two I recognized). One question, “What’s the absolute best font in the world and what is the absolute worst font in the world”, was typical of the questions, and provided a way for Karen to show bad type used badly, and student work, and spreads from her book. There was plenty of time left for audience questions and these again were the typical, legibility type questions “why do you use sans fonts on signage” and standard fare “how do designers name their fonts” – again reinforcing this as not a specialist font crowd. Still a worthwhile event.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

The book looks worthwhile, too. I just had my first look at it today...

Sebastian Nagel's picture

Does anyone know the difference between the englisch and the german version? On the german publisher's website it says:

"Es ist toll, hierzulande auf hochkompetente Schriftentwerfer wie Henning Krause bauen zu können, der daraus mit Akribie die Anatomie der Buchstaben [weiter]entwickelt hat."

"It is good to be able to rely on highly competent type designers like Henning Krause in this country, who, with meticulousness, developed [further] the 'Anatomy of Typefaces'" (which is the german (sub)title of the book).

It also says in the credits:
"[mehr als nur] übersetzt von Henning Krause"
"[more than just] translated by Henning Krause"

So, does anyone know the differences?
I know that Hermann Schmidt always produces premium-quality books at high price (german edition: 68€, english edition: 27€), and as native speaker and book-lover i will get the german edition anyway, but it would be interesting to know what has been changed...

Sebilar

Si_Daniels's picture

I've asked Karen, but I'd guess Henning would be the best person to answer the question.

kcheng's picture

Hello Sebilar,
There are very minor differencesbetween the German version and the English version. The largest difference is that the German version has a different type classification chapter, since their system goes by different terminology. Also, the German version uses Quadraat as the body text (rather than Univers) — and it is printed as a casebound book (hardback) with a different title.

I think the "more than just translated" bit refers to Henning's self-appointed role as an editor, fact-checker and proofreader. Henning made many editorial suggestions throughout, especially in the section on accents/diacritics. He was particularly helpful (as a native speaker of German, and as an experienced type designer) with questions I had about the German eszett.

Karen

dezcom's picture

Karen,
Thanks for the insight. Amazon just informed me that my copy of your book has shipped. I look forward to reading it. Perhaps you will take part ion discussions about it here online when several of us have had a chance to read it?

Thankyou for making the effort not only to write the book but to give us your thoughts here on Typophile.

ChrisL

dezcom's picture

Oh, and Si, I kinda miss that Seahawks helmet:-)

ChrisL

Si_Daniels's picture

> Oh, and Si, I kinda miss that Seahawks helmet:-)

Don't worry, you'll be seeing a lot more of it later in the year. ;-)

dezcom's picture

Like maybe about September Si?

:-)

ChrisL

Sebastian Nagel's picture

Thank you for the feeback, Karen. I'm looking forward to the release, I think this will be a lot of new input, especially for type design-beginners like me.
Maybe I don't have to bug people on typophile that often, with more or less basic questions :)

Sebilar

canderson's picture

I purchased Designing Type at the Seattle event. Although I haven't been through the whole book yet, here's my take:

The book is a mostly visual compendium of the options presented in the design of letterforms. Each page could potentially comprise a Typophile thread. For example, how would one design a 'Q'? The advantage here is that hours and hours of discussions are distilled into a single useful reference. I'm not aware of any other documentation, web or print, that is this focused on the shapes of letters.

Many books on typography tend to cover too many topics and end up being fairly shallow. This book only makes historical references when it is necessary for classification purposes. This is a good thing. The book also avoids much technological discussion. The information would useful for someone cutting Monotype matrices or working in FontLab.

Also, I think I had a taste of the Scarlet IPA out of Sii's pitcher. It was quite good. I owe him, or someone he was with, a pint.

Sebastian Nagel's picture

This might be of interest to some of you:
http://www.fontshop.de/pdf/Anatomie_der_BS.pdf

It's from the german edition of the book. The PDF is authorised by the publisher, as www.fontblog.de (blog of fontshop.de) states.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I was sorry to miss the event. Unfortunately, I was just flying back from the Uk that day, and my flight was delayed 3.5 hours, so I was just landing as the thing ended! Oh well.

I really want to read the book and post a review on my blog. My first 5-minute appraisal was quite positive, but I think I need to spend a little more time than that before I do a full review.

T

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