Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

The workshop of casting hot metals.

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Have you ever experienced casting hot metals, or do you know a process how to make hot metals?

I’d got a chance to join a workshop event casting hot metals. I happened to hit the information of the event while I looked for info on hot metals. The workshop was held by Tsukiji Katsuji, means Tsukiji hot metals, however, it has little to do with Tsukiji-tai: 築地体, located in Yokohama where is near from Tokyo about thirty minutes by train.

Left: The Tsukiji Katsuji. Right: Six casting machines in two lines.

I expected the building was like a factory but it was very clean like a show room for an interior furniture. I prepared a fatigue, but there seemed to be no worry about getting clothes dirty. The room had some shelfs and cases which stocked a thousands of hot metals and matrices, and on the left hand, six casting machines stood in two lines on the floor. The owner of the office, Mr. Hirakou let participants look around in the room and permitted to take photos until the time the workshop would start.

After all participants had arrived at the office, first, Mr. Hirakou started to explain the outline and history of the office. Second, a craft man of the office, Mr. Ohmatsu explained the process of casting hot metals and then demonstrated it.

Left: Mr.Hirakou explained about the stock shelfs of hot metals and matrices. Right: Mr Ohmatsu, a craft man of casting metals, explained about how to casting metals.

Left: A thausand of hot metals in the stock shelf. Right: Matrices in the box.

Left: The Hakko’s auto casting machine. Right: The machine had a change-speed mechanism with the belt harnessed the shaft which tapered right to left.

Left: The ingot made from lead, antimony and tin which came from mainly mainland China. Right: The dissolution temperature of the ingot was around 350-400 degrees. “It is very difficult to control setting temperature while summer season, because if it was not proper temper, the dissolved metal would stuck inside the machine,” Ohmatsu said. The room was sizzling. The ingot melted as soon as he put it into the machine.

Left: Ohmatsu set the matrix to the machine. Right: All participants could cast the one of letters which was included in their own name. We need to set the matrix at proper position. I thought it was good position, but Ohmastu could tell at a glance that the position was wrong, and revised it immediately.

Left: The hot metal had just made. The metal was very hot, but Ohmatsu didn’t care to have it at all. Right: The composition in a galley for a specimen book of Tsukiji Katusji.

While Ohmatsu explained every process of casting, he told us some episodes when he was a pupil of the office. The customers often came to the office at midnight and asked staffs to get hot metals. So the shop staffs needed to stay there in twenty-four seven and 365days so that they provide types to customers whenever they wanted. That’s why, the staffs couldn’t go for a trip to anywhere for a long time. All his episodes he introduced us were very interesting.

At last of the workshop, one of participants, who had owned a printing house before, showed us some hot metals he had used, which included the one casted by the Linotype machine, a huge hot metal and the unique one, which had forty-nine letters within around one centimeter square, made by the Benton machine.

As I’m a digital font generation, I’d hardly used not only the hot metal printings but also photo type setting before. However, a magazine that features letter press and hot metals are increasing gradually. “So, designers who want to use a letter press are increasing now,” according to Hirakou.

Left: A type smaller than fingertip had forty-nine letters included Kanji and Katakana within about one centimeter, which made by the Benton punch-cutting machine. It reads that ‘昭和三十年十月於名古屋市第四回印刷文化典記念株式会社光文堂製ベントン彫刻母型KK活字高級凸版印刷機’. Right: A huge type and its explanation sheet.

A line of type casted by Linotype machine.

The types, reads 岡野邦彦 (Okano Kunihiko), is my name, which were presented by Tsukiji Katsuji. All participants could get types of their own name each.

The workshop seems to be held on an irregular base. I’m afraid that the workshop was in Japanese only, though.

The type designer giant, Kozuka talks about three generations of type design.

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

As you know the type designer giant Adrian Frutiger, in Japan, there is also a type designer giant for Japanese font. Masahiko Kozuka, is 79 years old, who is famous for Adobe Kozuka family bundled with Adobe applications, gave a presentation about his works.

In an impressive monochrome photo Kozuka showed at the beginning of the talk show, a young lad was standing surrounded by a bunch of veterans, he seemed to be shy but to have enormous energy for making typeface. The photo was taken when he was a newbie worker for Mainichi Shinbun: Mainichi newspaper, is one of major newspaper companies in Japan, with its veterans. And then about fifty-years passed, he was standing in front of the audience who came to hear and talk to them looking back at his old days.

He had careers for three generations of making typeface, hot metals, photo type setting and digital fonts. He showed a lot of photos and important 8mm movie archives he owned and introduced how to making typeface of each of generations.

His career for making typeface started when he joined Mainichi Shinbun: Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd, around fifty years ago. He worked to make matrices for the newspaper typeface, now we call it “Mainichi Ming-cho”. And some decades passed, Morisawa, is a font vendor in Japan and known for holding Morisawa award, asked Kozuka to come to Morisawa as a advisory staff. While working for Mainichi, he also went to Morisawa corp. once every week. After retiring Mainichi, he completely moved to Morisawa. Then Morisawa started the Shin-Go:新ゴ project. To make Shin-Go family fast, which has five weights and every weight has more than 8,000 characters, Kozuka organized a font team and built a software for group sharing, which connected to the similar way which he used in Adobe to make Kozuka family.

He also had contributed to a developing country to develop letterpress system or to provide how to make typefaces, but the project often had to postponed due to war, civil war or conflict. “To improve making type face technology, it can be needed the world is peace,” Kozuka said. It was very impressive.

Left: The one of his best known works, Kozuka family by Adobe. He demonstrated how to make fonts using a customized software for making Japanese font by Adobe. Right: The facade of the event hall CCAA Art Plaza, which is an ex-elementary school in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

Kozuka looked back at his life as saying that “I think one generation was about two decades, then closing up every generation carefully, I find it has at least two or four branches.” That means he had careers at least six generations. For almost of type designers, it must be rare chance to have experience for changing printing media. However, Kozuka had a couple of chances and fit new technology with new type technology. I’m sure he was struggling to fit them every time.

Looking back at my life, I’ve never had any chance to face changing generations. But I expect to get a chance the transition to new technology within a decade. What would it be like next generation? I’ll try to get a lot of clues and hints by understanding past generations.

Robundo publishing inc., A special seminar for The Shinjuku private school. “Kozuka talks three generations of type.
Jiyu-Kobo inc., Mojimaga, means letter magajine, “The type designer giant” #2 Type designer Masahiko Kozuka

The exhibition Yasufumi Miyake ‘Moji wa Ikiteiru’

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

A typeface designer Yasuyuki Miyake’s personal exhibition titled Moji wa Ikiteiru 文字は生きている, means ‘The living letters’ was held at Nerima Art Museum in Nerima Ward, Tokyo. This exhibition had two parts. The one was themed Letter Design and the other was Letter Art.

He designed a lot of Japanese typefaces for more than fifty years, which were displayed in Letter Design room and showed 10 new typefaces as well. The famous round edged san-serif typeface family Jun from Morisawa Library and JTC Win family from Nis Library were also included. The large letters on the presentation boards were hand-trimmed black papers. He seemed to think it was important to draw letters by hand. And he showed some lettering works that designed names of sports athletes, entertainers and famous persons for several kind of magazines.

Meanwhile, there were a lot of print art works, which seemed to be silk-screen printings, in the Letter Art room. He dipicted several sceneries with Kanji letters 風 (wind), 雷 (thunder) and Kanji letters known as a symbol of nature. These letters were dynamic as if letters were alive and they were very unique and had humor feelings. I could find the difference between these two parts ‘static and dynamic.’

Left: The post card on the exhibition and Specimen sheet were provided at the gallery. Right: Nerima Art Museum.

The exhibition ‘Calligraphers Guild’

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

In Japan, speaking Calligrapher, it might remind you of Japanese style Calligraphers. However, even in Japan, there are many Western style Calligraphers.

The exhibition titled The works of Calligraphers Guild was held at Gallery Kubota in Chuo Ward, near the Tokyo station. More than 200 works got together and were displayed in four rooms. There were several styles of expressions such as classic, modern, relief and a mixture work Japanese and Western styles.

One of Calligraphers I would like to see, Izumi Shiratani showed a beautiful work. Her work was really great and had gorgeous drawing lines. I’ve been acquainted with her since I met her at some party a few years ago, so I asked her to meet there in order to ask some questions about her recent work and activity.

I also asked her opinion about designing letters. I told her that I would need a Calligraphic style Logotype for package design, so I’ve been looking for a Calligrapher to draw letters for a logotype. I would like to know her opinion about whether Calligrapher would like to have opportunity to design logotype or not, or she can get the offer if I asked her. We exchanged opinions what the difference among art work and design work is, what problems are to design logo work, what art director should do for Calligrapher when they work together. She made me clear there’s nothing to worry about. I’m glad to hear that and I would like to work with Calligraphers to make Logotypes in the future.

The direct mail and Thank you card for this exhibition.

This exhibition goes around to Sendai, Okayama, Osaka.

TypeCon 2007 Typecrit video

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

I went to attend TypeCon Seattle 2007 last year. This was the first time for me to go a type conference was held on overseas. I got a chance to take type critique named “Ten minutes type critique” known as a regular event on TypeCon. Now you can find the audio and specimens on the critique that was held on TypeCon Seattle 2007 on YouTube.

TypeCon Seattle 2007: Typecrit 1 of 4

I recorded everything so that I could listen them after I’d back to home, because I didn’t think I could listen everything due to lack of my English skills,

Eben Sorkin, was one of designers joined 10 minutes critique, asked me to get the audio and he proposed we should provide this audio to every one who was curious about this event. And then, he compiled several photos, specimens, and movies to edit this audio and uploaded to YouTube.

The 10 minutes type critique is a regular event of TypeCon. Three critics provide their opinions to the attendees watching submitted type designs. Matthew Carter, John Dawner, and Akira Kobayashi were the critics at that time. Every attendee have 10 minutes only. They explained their concept and asked critics several questions within 10 minutes. The audience also asked their question about attendees works.

photo:The member list of 10 minutes type critique on the wall of front desk.
I wrote my name third place after someone quit to attend. Great!

This critique was very useful and helpful learning designing typeface. Not only I got several opinions from three critics but also it was useful to hear the opinions to the other designers.
I could understand easily where he important point was or how I should compare with the difference in the element. I’m pretty sure it is worth listening.

I couldn’t believe some famous type designers attended this type crit. Gabriel Meave, who is a really gifted type designer, attended this crit to show his font “Darka”, as you know, got the TDC prize. I though he didn’t need to join this crit because he could do everything! The other two Mexican type designers were also talented. AtypI conference will be held in Mexico City in next year. I guess type design in Mexico must be better to improve drastically.

At the farewell party of TypeCon Seattle, Mr. Dawner told me I should bring my revised type design to Buffalo. Thanks, Mr. Dawner!

Related thread on Typophile.
TypeCon 2007 Typecrit video

National Treasures from Yakushi-ji and The Lantingji Xu

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

For big fan of ancient Buddhist art, especially for those who hunt National treasures, it was very exciting season and busy to go to museums where hold the exhibition during Golden week holiday. I went to Tokyo National Museum in Ueno park to see the Exhibition of National Treasures from Yakushi-ji Temple. Last week, I went to Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple to see the Twelve generals, and this time, I could see the bronze sculptures of Nikko(日光), means the sun, and Gakko(月光), means the moon, made in Hakuo period (A.D.672-686) as National Treasures.

That’s a good chance that you’ll be able to see the back shot of the sculptures. In most cases, a statue set on the proper place in the hall of temple, you would not be able to see it from behind of it. However, in this exhibition, every statues were standing alone and displayed without their nimbus, besides, there was a deck in front of the Nikko and Gakko so that visitors could see on the same level with both of statues. So I could tell the difference of these looking between the one when I saw on the deck and the other when I could see from lower point.

The appearance of Buddha statue changes depending on where you look at it from. I walked around every bodhisattva statue to find out the best view, but it was hard to decide it. As bodhisattva statue twisted the body, so the outlines of the body gradually changed at every step I took. I enjoyed the variety of the lines.

At the Kichijouten (吉祥天), is also designated National Treasure, booth, it was hard to see it because a lot of people gathered in front of the Kichijouten picture like a wall. The museum staffs made the visitors move along not to stack in front of it, but the visitors tried to stay there as much as possible. Indeed, it was worth watching.

The number of works in this exhibition was small, but almost of them were designated as National Treasure or Important Cultural Properties. It must be rare chance to see them at once, I do recommend you go there. This exhibition is showing untill June 8, 2008.

After watching the Exhibition of Yakushi-ji temple, I went to another exhibition whoch was held at the same time in Tokyo National Museum on “The Lantingji Xuin(蘭亭序)”, which is one of the most well-known East Asian style Calligraphy works, but as I was exhausted to see the Yakushi-ji’s works, I couldn’t concentrate on the works of the exhibition “The Lantingji Xuin”. It was a pity that this exhibition will finish on May 6th, but I was relieved to know that another exhibition will be held at Edo-Tokyo Museum in this July named “The Palace Museum. A well-known treasure on Calligraphy” and will display “The Lantingji Xuin” works. I hope to see them again.

TAB Talks #4 with a N.Y. based type designer Christian Schwartz.

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

I didn’t think that I could meet him in Japan. Christian Schwartz, based in New York, held a talk show at 5tanda Sonic event space in Gotanda, Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo . There was huge audience to see his show in spite of hard rain.

Wearing a lovely “I love N.Y.” T-shirt, he started to show some customized fonts for some major companies like Esquire, Deutsche Bahn (the German national railway company) and the Guardian, and explained the background stories of these customized fonts using a lot of specimens.

One of them, a typeface called Haçienda was developed for the Guardian, which is a famous news paper in UK. Haçienda, eventually renamed it Guardian, had a dynamic family more than 100 styles covered wide range weights and several kinds of styles like Serif, Sans and Slab styles, which would be released by the end of this year. Christian told us a full story of the design process from beginning to end.

After the show, I met him to ask some questions about his works, and I showed him my portfolio to get some opinions. He seemed to be interested in my heavy weight style fonts and told me some opinions. Thanks for the opportunity to meet with you, Christian!

(Left) Christian explained the difference among three styles of Hacienda. (Right) A brochure for the audience of this presentation and a Christian’s autograph on it.

And I must say thank you to Chris Palmieri of AQ design studio. He was a coordinator to hold Christian’s presentation in Tokyo. He was very familiar with Latin typefaces and had some interviews with type designers that he was interested in such as Jeremy Tankard, which was on AQ’s web site. He helped me out a lot to have communicate with Christian. He was a very nice guy and really kind to me.

Christian’s presentation was held again at Robundo inc., a well-known publisher on typography in Japan, in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, before his leaving from Japan due to a request by a member of Society of Typography in Japan.