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ATypI Antwerp 2018 Program

Wednesday, 12 September 18


Romanian archaic alphabets

The aim of this research is to present an overview of the Romanian archaic alphabets used in the 19th century, a period of transition from Cyrillic letter forms to Latin. In 1862, when Moldavia and Wallachia were both ruled by Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the decision to go back to the Latin roots was taken. It… Continue reading Romanian archaic alphabets


The state of the spec

Where OpenType is, and where it’s going Bianca Berning opens the day with an update on the adoption of Variable Fonts, the development of solutions for VF rendering, and progress on workflows for VF testing and development.


Reviving Rosart’s heritage: In honor of an 18th-century Belgian punchcutting master

Over a period of four years, five alumni of the Expert Class Type Design (2014–2015) of the Plantin Institute of Typography in Antwerp thoroughly investigated the text and display types, decorative capitals, and ornaments by renowned 18th-century punchcutter Jacques-François Rosart. The purpose of the quintet’s research was twofold: to gain more insight into Rosart’s design… Continue reading Reviving Rosart’s heritage: In honor of an 18th-century Belgian punchcutting master


Mixed matrices

An investigation into type design for text sizes vs display through a revival project of Hendrik van den Keere’s Small Pica Roman (1578) at the Museum Plantin-Moretus In November 2017 an international cohort on the Expert Class in Type Design, based in the UNESCO world heritage site of the Museum Plantin-Moretus, embarked upon a collaborative… Continue reading Mixed matrices


The Long Path towards Parametric Model of Chinese Type

The Chinese script, as an ideographic writing system, is used by a large proportion of the world’s population. Over the centuries, its large character set has been the biggest issue facing type makers. In this presentation, different historical methods of production of Chinese type will be covered. ATypI Antwerp is the right moment to introduce… Continue reading The Long Path towards Parametric Model of Chinese Type


Typo/graphic texture

Woven language The word “textura” is derived from the Latin verb “texere,” meaning “to weave.” The texture of a paragraph is carefully built by a typeface designer out of relationships between the positive forms and negative counterforms, both horizontally and vertically, which sit in an intricate system of interdependent parts, repeating and reconfiguring to express… Continue reading Typo/graphic texture


The problems that need to be solved when developing Chinese Variable Fonts

There are about twenty-eight thousand Chinese characters that need to be designed. The average number of strokes in a Chinese character is 12. In Arphic JingXi Hei, for example, the average number of control points for each stroke is about 100. Therefore, there are about 33,600,000 control points to deal with when developing a Chinese… Continue reading The problems that need to be solved when developing Chinese Variable Fonts


Performativity of written language

Written language mostly is associated with written words on a surface. But before written words, there is always gesture. There is action and reaction. Movement and mark. Written language is often perceived to be bodiless but in fact it is inseparable from the human body. The mind and intention are primary, the action and gesture… Continue reading Performativity of written language


Steal this typography

Global lessons from Linux OpenType development Linux desktop systems effectively got variable-font support for free by virtue of sharing core software components with major web browsers. Thus, Linux software developers have spent considerably more time working on variable-font UI concepts, packaging, and documentation. This talk will present recent progress modernizing OpenType interfaces, packaging, and system… Continue reading Steal this typography


Legibility research today

Characteristics of typefaces in focus The legibility of typefaces has been the subject of scientific investigations since the 19th century, but never as an independent field of research, always as part of other disciplines like psychology, ergonomics, physiology, or engineering. Unfortunately those scientists lack the understanding of design subtleties like the effect of the design… Continue reading Legibility research today


Evolution of digital typographic needs

This presentation will cover how user needs have evolved over the last 25 years with digital typography for Adobe products, showing how Adobe product features have evolved around type rasterization, layout, font formats, etc. Since the mid-1990s, Adobe’s customer base has moved from print to web and mobile. As we moved along, Adobe products have… Continue reading Evolution of digital typographic needs


Reinventing commemorative design

Throughout human history there have always been specific religious and cultural rules for commemorating our dead. Today, designers in all fields draw inspiration from old grave markers and monuments, collecting, sharing, reinterpreting, and reusing their discoveries in all areas of design. But why do modern technologies and design trends so rarely influence our contemporary culture… Continue reading Reinventing commemorative design


Korean + Japanese on Google Fonts

Google Fonts delivers free, open-source fonts to billions of pages across the web. In recent years Google has improved the quality of this collection, and added support for more and more languages. In 2018 they explored, validated, and shipped a data-driven CSS-only solution for CJK fonts, starting with Korean. In this presentation, software engineer Evan… Continue reading Korean + Japanese on Google Fonts


How to rethink the typeface family in the context of the market

The concept of typeface family has been challenged several times in history. Nowadays we start to see different approaches to what a typeface family can be. We will reflect on the type family from a designer’s point of view but also from the market point of view. We will look into on how the market… Continue reading How to rethink the typeface family in the context of the market


The German sharp S

Opinions can differ greatly among type designers and typographers when it comes to decisions about letter shapes. One of the most contested letters in that respect is the German sharp S, even more so its cap variant, especially among native speakers of German. Recent publications such as Hermann Schmidt Verlag’s ‘niße’ book, the addition of… Continue reading The German sharp S


Adidas variable fonts

Variable Fonts show great promise for the future of typography, but have had few commercial applications. This is likely due to limited support in design programs, confusion about how the format can be used, and typical lag between the introduction of new technology and widespread adoption. Adidas has partnered with MCKL to create an innovative… Continue reading Adidas variable fonts


The true source of the sans

The search for the origin of today’s commercial sans serif typography has become something of a “holy grail” for type historians. The earliest known example of a deliberately geometrical “serifless” letterform was confirmed back in the late 1990s, on a plan-drawing title block for a new parliamentary building. It was produced whilst on the grand… Continue reading The true source of the sans


The birth, life and death of letters

A speculative dynamic pricing model for digital typefaces As small pieces of software, digital fonts are disembodied by nature. They multiply, disperse, break open, and truncate as they move through circuits and servers, fluid and spectral. Each instance of their use in the world builds up a kind of cultural residue as they color content… Continue reading The birth, life and death of letters


Vox pop

Typographic voices of protest and persuasion “From typographic and visual poster campaigns for World War I, to anti-Vietnam pamphlets and posters in the ’60s, to hand-drawn paint-splashed posters at current-day protests in support of women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ communities, and the environment, to social media-driven viral memes, the intersection between typography, design, social… Continue reading Vox pop


Dirty business

Buying and selling fonts A casual talk about the fundamentals of buying and selling fonts aimed at graphic design students, font developers, recent graduates, and those who use fonts regularly. It strives to raise awareness of the value of typography as a commodity, and proposes five practical ways to uncover the “font business” basis. The… Continue reading Dirty business


Between dreams and crises

Designing Arabic type outside the mainstream Type designers are mainly users of technology and interpreters of existing principles & theories governing typographic creation. In the case of scripts such as Arabic, hardly any type design fundamentals have been observed, documented, or critically assessed, and text computing remains tailor-made for Latin. In such an environment: How… Continue reading Between dreams and crises


Closing the circle

From foundry type to digital fonts and vice versa The first part of the DTL [Gros]Canon Project comprises the digitization of three types from the Flemish Renaissance punchcutter Hendrik van den Keere (ca.1540–1580): Gros Canon Flamande (textura type, 1571), Gros Canon Romain (roman type, 1573), and Canon d’Espaigne (rotunda type, 1574). The three apparently completely… Continue reading Closing the circle


Multi-dimensional typography education with digital fabrication

As a design researcher and a design educator, I have asked a question: How do we combine digital and physical materials to enable a new typographic experience? I had the opportunity to bring innovative learning experiences into a typography course in response to the emerging digital technologies. The course provides opportunities to prove how to… Continue reading Multi-dimensional typography education with digital fabrication


Francisco Madureira

An ingenious pioneer of type design in the nineteenth-century Brazilian Province of Gram-Pará Printing authorization in Brazil was granted only after the arrival of the Portuguese royal family in 1808, with the installation of the Royal Press in Rio de Janeiro. João Francisco Madureira built “from zero” a complete type shop in 1821 and printed… Continue reading Francisco Madureira


How to become a better letterer by understanding type design

There is no way around hand lettering these days. Because of social media,many people have found access to hand-drawn letters. This makes it harder for work to stand out. The popularity of lettering, however, is certainly not negative, as it creates a broader interest in both graphic and type design among the public. Letterers nowadays… Continue reading How to become a better letterer by understanding type design



Designing type based on historical findings In 2001, during a renovation of the Zurich School of Applied Arts and Crafts (today ZHdK), hand lettered signage was discovered hidden behind ancient wallpaper. The letters were individually painted and had been applied by hand in 1930 as signage for the modernist building. The letter designs are assumed… Continue reading Rektorat


Embrace uncomfortable

Some ideas about conventions, practices, and education in typeface design The development of typefaces and typography has commonly been framed within the ideals and technologies of modernity. Concepts like consistency, efficiency, or unity have thus become the commanding goals and points of reference for the creation of many typefaces. Understandably such concepts have also helped… Continue reading Embrace uncomfortable



In an effort to provide a valuable service to the educational community, the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) is developing resources that support typography and design educators at a time when typography and design curricula are stretched too thin, or are too condensed. Available online, the “History of Letterforms and Typography” and the encyclopedic… Continue reading Re.Source


Typefaces for television

We’re all familiar with typefaces designed for newspapers, books, wayfinding systems, and more. But what criteria and specifications does a TV typeface need to meet? How is a typeface viewed on the screen? Over the past several years, televisions have made significant technical advances. Czech Republic television stations have been using original custom typefaces for… Continue reading Typefaces for television

Thursday, 13 September 18


Women in type

a social history of women’s role in type-drawing offices, 1910–1990 In alignment with the conference’s theme Type Legacies, Fiona Ross and Alice Savoie will introduce a significant new University of Reading research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust that draws on their experiences as type designers and historians. Fiona and Alice will describe how this… Continue reading Women in type


Wood type in Brazil

This presentation reports on the outcomes of a project on the characterisation of wood type by a network of three Brazilian universities and the Brazilian Forestry Service. We started with the intention of producing new wood typefaces for use in contemporary letterpress practice. However, species such as maple, oak, and pine are exotic to South… Continue reading Wood type in Brazil


Learning to cut punches in the 21st century

As a result of attending the Plantin Institute’s Expert Class Type Design and becoming familiar with the punches and matrices preserved at the Plantin-Moretus Museum, I developed a keen interest in punchcutting. For this reason, since last year I have been learning how to cut typographic punches. As a training exercise I decided to produce… Continue reading Learning to cut punches in the 21st century


Cultural roads between Arabic and Latin

In today’s global marketing, with multinational companies interested in having multi-script typefaces, the demand for designing an Arabic companion for Latin typefaces has increased. The structure of Arabic script is completely different from Latin, and many times when an Arabic typeface is designed next to a Latin, the Arabic becomes a minion to the Latin… Continue reading Cultural roads between Arabic and Latin


A history of Hangul typefaces in the 20th century

Hangul is the native script from Korea, created by King Sejong in 1443. He designed Hangul as a sans serif to establish the basic structure of the script. In the following centuries, Hangul designs varied widely with the work of many brush calligraphers. However, today’s digital typefaces are different from these historical origins. What is… Continue reading A history of Hangul typefaces in the 20th century


A sheqel for your thoughts

Ismar David’s Hebrew currency signs After becoming a state in​ ​1948, Israel suffered from economic instability. Currency values and names rapidly changed in response to inflation, hindering the development of a currency sign. This volatile economic reality led to the convention of representing Israel’s currency by its full name or acronym rather than by a… Continue reading A sheqel for your thoughts


God is in the details

Morisawa has been engaged in typography for almost 90 years. Morisawa’s corporate motto is “Contributing to society through typography.” We believe in the power that typefaces have, and we have sought and offered the best solutions for each era. We will talk about universal design and communication design with historical backgrounds from the phototypesetting era… Continue reading God is in the details


Heavy Metal Type

The graphic imagery featured on the cover of heavy metal albums (specifically in regards of letterform design) couldn’t be further from the conventions that typographers and type designers abide by. Characters are twisted, combined, and become more distorted the heavier the music gets. As a consequence, precepts such as balance, rhythm, and legibility are discarded in… Continue reading Heavy Metal Type


The Rules of the Game: Modular Scripts and Generative Design

This presentation explores the design principles of modular scripts and their relevance to contemporary parametric and generative design projects. Using specimen images, diagrams, Python code, and animations, Maurice Meilleur will reconstruct and illustrate the design spaces and logic behind scripts created by Josef Albers, André Gürtler, Wim Crouwel, and Jurriaan Schrofer. These examples demonstrate, sometimes… Continue reading The Rules of the Game: Modular Scripts and Generative Design


Building a Safety Net for Book Designs

Aldous Huxley wrote in 1928, “Machines exist; let us then exploit them to create beauty—a modern beauty… For we live in the twentieth century… As an ordinary reader, who cannot afford to buy hand-made books, I object to the archaizing printer.” How do we who live with twenty-first-century machines approach book design? Developers of a… Continue reading Building a Safety Net for Book Designs


ReTyping Europe

Transnational heritage and alternative futures As a hard Brexit becomes increasingly likely, questions around political and geographical jurisdictions have resurfaced. One grand narrative of the fledgling EEC sought to reestablish a pan-European community of which the early-medieval monastic tradition was emblematic. We examine the typographic implications of this, notably the idea of a “shared history”… Continue reading ReTyping Europe


The new type family ‘Jeongche’, reflection of ages

Korea has a long and rich culture of typography, and a print heritage as well as its unique language system. In addition to the Asian calligraphy tradition based on brushes, it has the world’s oldest woodcuts and metal type prints. Along with the history of printing, lead type printing technology has transformed into the current… Continue reading The new type family ‘Jeongche’, reflection of ages


Discursions of David W. Peat, type collector and character

By salvaging and using artifacts of printing history, individuals and institutions have preserved the craft of letterpress. Through interwoven anecdotal and historical evidence, we will explore the relationships of characters – human, metal, and wood – that connect letterpress’s survival through an unusual custodian, David W. Peat, and his extraordinary collection of 19th-century type. Seventy-three… Continue reading Discursions of David W. Peat, type collector and character


Collaboration, authorship and contribution

A panel discussion about collaboration, authorship, and contribution from the type designer’s perspective within the design world. Collaboration has become an intrinsic part of the type design process, taking place in many different ways. It happens in the design process itself, in the production/engineering part of a typeface, and in anything in-between until the type… Continue reading Collaboration, authorship and contribution


The Benton Engraver, making type today at Project Letter-Kunde

The nineteenth century brought on new technologies like electrotyping and mechanical engraving, which had an immense impact on the printing industry as a whole, and particularly on type design. This prompted Harry Carter in his 1937 article, “Optical scale in typefoundry,” to state that when the pantograph first came into use, “the tendency was to… Continue reading The Benton Engraver, making type today at Project Letter-Kunde


Keynote: Zooming in and zooming out

The Plantin Moretus Museum hosts the biggest collection of typographic artifacts originating from the 16th century. Fred Smeijers has been studying these artifacts for the past three decades from both a historical and a practical point of view. This multi-faceted approach is not uncommon to Smeijers – in his daily practice he cuts punches for… Continue reading Keynote: Zooming in and zooming out


Keynote: Over the top—at the Arenberg Theater

Arenberg Theater Matthew Carter has given ten talks at ATy apI conferences, beginning in 1971. This year, he cranks it up to eleven by revisiting some of his previous topics, including, but not confined to: newspaper text types, experimental type design, type and technology, the origins of his Galliard and Walker type designs, Bruce Rogers’… Continue reading Keynote: Over the top—at the Arenberg Theater

Friday, 14 September 18


Keynote: Layered legacies

In response to the conference theme, Type Legacies, Sara De Bondt will share examples of how legacy has influenced her hybrid practice as designer, publisher, teacher, and researcher in the UK and Belgium. Her rollercoaster slide show will take you through the revival of typefaces, the publishing of books on design history, and the rebranding… Continue reading Keynote: Layered legacies


Uncovering Arabic type history, informing design

Is Arabic typographic history relevant? This question opens an investigation on the Arabic script that discusses how reflecting on type history helps to understand the development of the Arabic script from different points of view. On the other hand, it prompts the establishment of connections to create knowledge that informs the wider community of designers… Continue reading Uncovering Arabic type history, informing design


Didot and fashion

Idealisation in historical contexts In the 1940s, the two most prominent American fashion magazines underwent redesigns. Condé Nast’s Vogue magazine and its great rival, William Randolph Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar, created nameplates for their covers that announced their titles in capital letters adopted from a typestyle invented by the Didot family in late-18th-century Paris. Both publications… Continue reading Didot and fashion


Plantijn’s Biblia Polyglotta and Belgium from the perspective of multilingual typography

Belgium unifies Flemish, French, and German speakers. While these languages are assigned to distinct regions (Flanders, Wallonia, and a German-speaking community), the capital of Brussels is governed multilingually. Brussels also hosts leading European Union institutions, making Belgium a place of true importance for multilingual policy studies. During my ongoing research of history, practice, and theory… Continue reading Plantijn’s Biblia Polyglotta and Belgium from the perspective of multilingual typography


Transforming ATypI

The ATypI president and members of working groups will introduce the core ideas behind the Board’s thinking for taking the Association forward. We will describe a new membership-centered structure for our activities, and outline projects currently underway. A key part of the presentation will comprise an update on the Association’s new website, in development by… Continue reading Transforming ATypI


Type design: connect future with Chinese characters

The development of Chinese fonts is characterized by the discovery and targeted resolution of usage problems and the intentional or unintentional fusion of new perceptions. Fonts speak to the magic of writers, the ingenuity of renderers, and the creative imagination of designers. Fonts are tools that create art and beauty. The way to the present… Continue reading Type design: connect future with Chinese characters


The success of Jenson’s roman type

Ricado Olocco presents his research on Nicolas Jenson’s roman type (Venice, 1470), introducing the procedures adopted in his research, based on photographic enlargements and on detailed analysis of printed type. This presentation will explore Jenson’s roman and its high design quality, both in the choice of letterforms and in their execution. This is easy to… Continue reading The success of Jenson’s roman type


Old Beer/New Type

Join Fred Smeijers of TypeTailors and Jim Moran of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum for a typographic revival of one of the Plantin Moretus’ oldest posters, promoting – what else? – beer. The print, dating from the 17th century, represents one of the oldest posters in the museum’s collection. Using a series of… Continue reading Old Beer/New Type


Typewriter typefaces, dig into the past for future reference

History is full of hidden stories, but few stand the test of time. The stories behind typewriter font libraries are among those that remain invisible to many. In the best of cases, type specimens and original documentation are still accessible through historical archives. Some information on the subject comes from fields not clearly linked to… Continue reading Typewriter typefaces, dig into the past for future reference


The missing scripts project

Unicode 11.0 (June 2018) covers exactly 146 writing systems. That’s an important milestone for worldwide communication and typography. But what about the missing scripts? How many of them are still out there? What do they look like? In the first step of the Missing Scripts Project, we developed a typographic overview of all writing systems.… Continue reading The missing scripts project


Digital legacies

A lifetime of type design tools, formats and projects The history of outline font editors spans some 40+ years, or the total of this speaker’s life. Ikarus, Pika, Fontographer, RoboFog, Type Art, FontStudio, TypeDesigner, FontLab, RoboFab, FontMaster, RoboFont, Glyphs, FontCreator – since the inception of outline-based font creation, type designers have employed a flurry of… Continue reading Digital legacies


Building a new typography

Tangible and intangible heritages of typographic practice in India India’s textual and typographic heritage can be considered in four stages influenced by economic and political development: precolonial, colonial, postcolonial, and liberal. Essentially an oral and manuscript culture, it can be argued that Indian typographic and publishing practice has absorbed Western typographic norms to such an… Continue reading Building a new typography


Hi Hoi

HOI is the abbreviation of Higher Order Interpolation. By introducing this new perspective for font interpolation we can do things not achievable with traditional linear interpolation. HOI is a simple and “ready-to-use” solution to fully control our manually designed masters and interpolation. HOI is not only expanding the field in which fonts are designed and… Continue reading Hi Hoi


Eye 94 [8000 One-Offs] film premiere

ATypI will present the continental European premiere of Adrian Harrison’s documentary 94 [8000 One-Offs]. This documentary short showcases the people and processes behind the making of Eye 94’s award-winning, digitally printed “variable data” cover that was published in the summer of 2017. 94 features footage of the magazine’s printing and binding at Pureprint, as well… Continue reading Eye 94 [8000 One-Offs] film premiere

Saturday, 15 September 18



The French stencil letter The typical French stencil letter, product of a Didot-inflected country and made famous through its use by artists, architects, and designers, exemplifies the panache of much francophone industrial culture. The design remains available as sets of stencils made in France and as typefaces that capture its features more or less faithfully.… Continue reading Objet-type


Early Persian printing and typography in Europe

This presentation discusses the birth of Persian printing and typography in Europe during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, a subject has so far has eluded rigorous investigation by historians. It draws on materials of the Medici Press and Propaganda Fide Press, which have not been presented publicly before in any typographic environment. The… Continue reading Early Persian printing and typography in Europe


The relationship between stroke weight and letter width

What is the ideal balance between stroke weight and letter width when designing for maximum letter legibility? With variable fonts, such a question is more relevant than ever before. Could it be that there is an optimal stroke weight independent of point size? Is it essential to maximize the size of the counters when adding… Continue reading The relationship between stroke weight and letter width


How a Frenchman unknowingly became Germany’s first type designer

German design historians define 19th-century designers as artists who created drawings determining new products’ appearances, but were not involved in their production. They may not have even understood the process behind those products’ manufacture. By this definition, Jean Midolle may be Germany’s first type designer, although he was almost certainly unaware that that Eduard Haenel’s… Continue reading How a Frenchman unknowingly became Germany’s first type designer


Aspects of Italian type history: Bodoni to Nebiolo, Novarese and Butti, and Simoncini

A three-part strand of presentations on Italian type design and manufacturing “The lost hundred years of Italian type. From the death of Bodoni till the rise of Nebiolo”: Nebiolo, Bodoni, history, Italian type, decorative type, 1800, printing types, research, unpublished, wood type, type foundries. In the span of roughly a century, the typographic practice in… Continue reading Aspects of Italian type history: Bodoni to Nebiolo, Novarese and Butti, and Simoncini


Confessions of a variator

The last 25 years have created what I think of as the fog of modern typography. Now the combination of existing technologies, and new Technologies are spreading a whole new level of quality, functionality and performance over the foggy old system. While not directly breaking from the old, the new technologies allow us to clear… Continue reading Confessions of a variator


Truthiness and information graphics

Readers are more likely to believe the content of text when the layout and text quality is easy to understand. For example, the statement “Osorno is a city in Chile” is more likely to be rated true if it’s written in black text on a white background than if it’s written in lower contrast gray… Continue reading Truthiness and information graphics


Making some sans

Titus Nemeth will discuss considerations in the design of low-contrast Arabic typefaces. Established genres of Western typographic culture do not always map neatly to other writing systems. Arabic, with its relatively short typographic history, is frequently expected to borrow from concepts and styles from the Latin world. Globalized branding and multilingual communication tend to base… Continue reading Making some sans


Introducing the first variable font – from 1793

In the late 18th century, C. G. Roßberg, a German clerk, worked on a stunning project: he envisioned a system of scripts which would harmonize together. Following the Renaissance approach, where science and art were intermingled, his aim was to encapsulate the beauty of letters in a mathematical system.


A multi-script type system for Africa

With around 2000 languages, Africa has a tradition of diverse writing systems, some of which have been around for centuries. Others were invented in recent times and have either grown popular or slowly fallen out of use. And then of course there’s the Latin-based International Phonetic Alphabet, which is used with the African Reference Alphabet… Continue reading A multi-script type system for Africa


Telefont – the rise and fall of a typeface

The 1994 design of the Dutch telephone book can partly be seen as a reaction to the iconic 1977 phonebook designed by the modernist Wim Crouwel with Jolijn van der Wouw. Crouwel’s late-modernist design, featuring the typeface Univers in lowercase-only text, had been christened “The New Ugly” by Dutch writers. In the following years, the… Continue reading Telefont – the rise and fall of a typeface


Closing keynote: Passing on the cutting of typographic punches

Nelly Gable and Annie Bocel will introduce the Atelier for the Arts of the Book of the Imprimerie Nationale, its savoir-faire, and its collection of punches (the seven exclusive typefaces and the oriental punches). They will explain in detail the cutting of typographic punches, the striking of matrices, and, briefly, the casting work of Philippe… Continue reading Closing keynote: Passing on the cutting of typographic punches