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  • Danielle Hayden

Letters as Art




I didn't think I'd write about typography this soon; I'd planned on doing it later, saving the topic for one of those "I don't have anything to write about" moments. But a day and a half ago I happened to watch a virtual presentation by a young designer named Joey Grable and wanted to write about the topic since I had something fresh in my memory to relate it to.


It was organized by The Society for Calligraphy and Handwriting, where I used to be a member, but I didn't know what to expect and I hadn't looked him up before the meeting. I knew what the art form was, and had arrived with a vague notion of what went into it, but of course Grable illuminated some of the nuances and made apparent how complex typography is. I left that presentation with a greater appreciation for font creation and for graphic design in general. I just started a Graphic Design class last week as part of a photography program I'm doing (had to leave it for a few months but I just resumed), so this was especially timely for that reason too.


Grable first presented a new font he created, called Concourse Display, which he said was inspired by Seattle's Union Station. It took him several months to create as he thought about variable vs. non-variable fonts and tinkered with shaping and spacing and proportion and all of that. There are also some mathematical calculations that go into typography, which I also found exciting as a woman who loves math. I have been drawn to this field more lately as I keep thinking about the nexus of (visual) art and words. I think it's beautiful when the two worlds collide.

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