«Type designers have been using Bézier curves to design typefaces for more than thirty years and, except for the introduction of new formats such as OpenType or Woff, the design processes used in digital type have remained pretty much unchallenged since three decades.

In comparison, the thirty years that preceded the digital era witnessed great changes, as metal type was superseded by photographic processes. Phototypesetting represented a radical transformation in the way typefaces were produced and handled, challenging years of well-established practices in type design and manufacturing. The typographic matrix was freed from the weight and the physicality of lead to become the pure product of light. With phototypesetting, most typographical conventions inherited from metal type had to be swiftly reinvented, and relationships between designers and type manufacturers had to be redefined.

In this talk, Alice Savoie will tell us why she thinks the phototypesetting era is a fascinating period that is often overlooked, and why it is still of relevance for practicing designers today.» ©IT