One aspect of type design is firmly rooted in revivals. While revivals have incredible educational value, the practice of using them as a main pillar of the course work has several disadvantages. For one, it creates the impression that old typefaces are inherently good. Secondly, this isolates a certain demographic—white European men—as the creator of the inherently good typefaces. Lastly, it establishes a conception that the industry was founded on re-releasing old designs as a cornerstone. In this presentation, Robin Mientjes shares cases of her own revivals, what was gained from them, and what they never answered. Mientjes will present examples of lessons that exist beyond revivalism that seem to exist as a core part of the craft, and an accumulation of cultures throughout numerous centuries. Mientjes will also share a format for teaching type design that can produce solid work that builds on this accumulation of culture, rather than on singular instances.
Mientjes believes that an outsider’s opinion can help to see things differently. For example, as the owner of her own type foundry and the senior type designer for a very large agency, Mientjes has learned various ways that designers, students, and clients see and understand type. Mientjes has found that much of the work done as type designers is rarely served by blanket answers.