GDV P.3.0 Hello, type

Type! That is not a new subject for me/us. I used to work in the type design-related industry for a while. I also designed my own typefaces together with my partner. We designed not many typefaces. And they were never commercially available. We mainly used them in our own documentaries or animation films. Anyway… I copied the following description from the Generative Design book: ‘Letters become spaces. In generating a vector-based font, you can directly influence numerous parameters and design with letters in time and space. Traces can be made visible of the emergence of the character and the interactive manipulation of its size and position. The size of the letter is controlled with the horizontal movement of the mouse, and its vertical movement moves the letters up and down. The letter leaves a trail when the mouse button is held down.’

Here you can find the original program were I started with. I also created a Flickr summary page where the images are located which I created during this exercise. You can find them here. And to see all the programs at once you could follow this link. Just click on the main image of the loftmatic homepage.

When I took a first look at the program it works a bit similar like the P.1.0 program of the Generative Design book: ‘Hello, color’. Horizontal mouse positions control the size of the image. Vertical mouse movements control the position. Changed the background to black. I think this program is running too fast. So I added a frame rate of 1. Also added a transparency of 4. But that gave me no good results. Added a filled rectangle over the total display. What about this createFont tool. Checked what fonts are available on my machine. FuturaStd-Light seems to be a good candidate. Although the Light extension doesn’t give me the Light version. I had this problem before so I will not get into it again. To avoid all these font related problems I decided to use one of our own typefaces (FIOTEXTRegular). Made a few variations.
P_3_0_01_GDV_01

Instead of just displaying one character I can repeat characters. The only change I have to make is that I have to type them in the program. Otherwise only one character is being displayed. Let’s see what that brings us. I Also tried to put colors under the number keys but that is (obviously) not a good idea because these numbers will be displayed in the display-window. But maybe I can switch them off. FrameRate (1.5)… did not know that frame rate could work with floats.
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Now what If I use a standard typeface and only use the characters which are not used for setting text. Characters used for punctuation, currency symbols, bullets and stars, math symbols. Or letter like symbols as the registered sign.
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Lets see if it is possible to use an outline character. With filled characters the screen is easily filled but by using outline characters you might get interesting things. And you don’t need transparency. So I have thrown some code away. Another part is re-used. I have now the same version as the original program was. Except for one thing. It is an outline character. Made a few versions.
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Made some color proposals. Color is chosen randomly. Just hit the space bar. To get straight lines I taped a Linex A 6036 Linex 60 Degree Set Square on my Wacom tablet. If you draw lines by hand you easily get some unwanted curves in the image.
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I think the colors are way too random. To make it more organized I will put them under the keys 1-5.
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Worked with the number 2 for a while now. Let’s make words of 2 characters for instance. Are there any words of 2 letters? Yes… found them at the San José Scrabble Club. Includes all 2-letter words now acceptable in U.S. Club and Tournament Play as of 2009. Used: AX, GO and PI. Removed my Linex A 6036 and replaced it with a much thinner Faber-Castell Typometer. In that way I can control my pen more accurate.
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Did some tests with a 3-letter word. While working I am watching the tennis games at Roland Garros. Thought that the word: ACE would come in handy. EON and SKY are also fine to use.
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Four letter words. CODE, TYPE and DATA were pretty obvious words to use. Experimented with bright background colors but I did not like that.
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For this last exercise I would like to try how much type/characters you can fit into the display area without the words getting unreadable. I start with five characters in width and five in height. ADDAX, ADMIX, ATAXY, AXIAL and AXION. Six words in height and six characters in width. BABOOL, BAFFLE, BAGUET, BAFFED, BABKAS, BAGNIO. Ok I got another idea… lets take some poetry from Kurt Schwitters. Make a composition with it and use he program to create an image. Hmmm… it seems that it takes some time to generate the image. But it doesn’t look wrong. It’s better than the separate words. But I think it needs some fine tuning. I make one version in which the composition of the svg file looks more like the original layout which Kurt Schwitters has designed.
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Henk Lamers

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