ATypI 2012 Hong Kong: Day 5 Morning Sessions

These are live blog notes from the 2012 ATypI in Hong Kong, 14 October 2012.

Usual disclaimer for live blogging: These are informal notes taken by Dave Crossland at the event, and may or may not be similar to what was said by the people who spoke on these topics. Probably if something here is incorrect it is because Dave mistyped it or misunderstood, and if anyone wants corrections, they should email him immediately ( – or post a comment.

A study of punctuation marks’ history in Hanguel – Jaehong Park

Here you can see the ancient comma and period marks, comma are small circles connected to the foot of a stem and periods are the circle under the glyph.

Jungshik Q: Western punctuation marks are well established in Korean print. Will your suggestion be adopted?

A: No, its not a suggestion for adoption. Its an experimental typeface design. In 1933 we borrowed English, and I couldn’t find so many in the history. Korean type designers made type designs without thought to this aspect. This talk is just to show and rethink the punctuation marks.

Q: Quotation marks; the good reference for a quote mark, the French/Italian/German style << >> looks better than the English ” ” and would perhaps fit the forms of the Korean script better.

Jungshik: Korean do use French style quotation marks, such as in book titles.

Q: Thanks for this interesting presentation. 2 questions, 1, your design is experimental but doesn’t reflect the characteristics of the script, the forms seem unusual to the current korean forms.

I’m a type designer. I work at MS. I wrote a brief, Can a true italic be designed for Korean? The next question is SHOULD an italic be designed?

I don’t believe western type concepts should be added to non laitn scripts, but this case, its a genuine fit. Roman italics is a faster handwriting style, then it became part of an emphasis.

We saw earier today the emphasis mark as traditionally done. Why we need an italic? Korean italics, you have mechanically slanted forms be used. Its a mark of coolness, differentiation. Users see slanted text in latin and want to harmonise the korean so it looks better. the emphatic use of slant is useful.

But auto slanted doesnt look good. The handwriting type in korea is from beautiful hadnwriting; these are sandoll’s foundry specimen book pages. Here is the upright form, and in an example of use in their book, its artificially slanted to the right. Maybe harmonised with latin, maybe it feels cool. Not sure.

But why not use the handwriting forms with the type forms? In a headline it can work (example) but it wont work in text.

At U o Reading I looked at signage. You have many sytles, fat rounded, uneven alignment lines, brush styles. But an Italian restaurant “Santa Rosa” had this signage. A right slant, a brush style forms, calligraphic. But it has a horizontal axis, not vertical.

Traditional korean claligraphy has very vertical lines. Its part of the key elements of beuatiful korean tyep. So this with its horizontal axis/stress was special.

The cursive form or veernacular is not the masters of calligraphy, its just fast writing. it jeeps the vertical stress and axis but it adds ligated forms for speed so you get cool interesting forms.

I wanted horizontal forms, high contrast – brush inspired – but it was too brushy. ‘This reminds me of Edwardian Script’ – too decorative, too far from upright and scribal hands.

We just saw a lot exmaples of this handwriting. The writer said slanting it was unnatral. Why? I tried to write Korean quickly and it has a right slant. I realised my elbow position was differnet. Close to my body, there is more slant, than away.

Here is a piece of lettering on a CD cover that has horiznal axis.

So I made Saja, a different feel to normal uprights. Its ligated forms, 5-6 strokes, the top has 1-2. This merges latin slant, brush forms. Here it is like emphasis in an upright body of text, like latin use of tialics. how can we do an italic that stadns out? I think this will do it, a slight slant and a cursive form.

This works well when mixed in to roman tialics. if you have design elements that work well together, you cna put them in use together and they work well. You can do separate-but-equal typesetting as well as interleaved.

This is a new concept fo rkorean. Noramlly thye just have slanted type, its not beautiful, so i think a new appeoach is imprtant, but its not unprecedented. its already done but poorly. A new dierction will help diversity while maintaining teh value of the text.

Q: The tilaic you did, will that be a style?

A: Yes, just hit the itlaic button 🙂 thats the magic

John Berry: The last 3 talks all focused on modulation of text, especially punctuation. They all seem to be able ‘how to read the text’ like brinhurst says all punctuation including spaces are like musical notation.

A: Yes, i am excited about korean type because there is a focus on function and form, people think about how to display content.

Q: How does yours compare? in every script there is their own italics. can korean italics

This entry was posted in Knowledge. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • What we do

    Understanding Fonts is a type design training business. If you'd like an event in your college or city, let Dave know: