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LUC DEVROYE


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Words of wisdom for future type designers

On September 29, 2016, Rod McDonald wowed his rapt audience in Montreal with a talk on Carl Dair's oeuvre and life. At the end of his talk, he was asked if he could say a few words about his recent Classic Grotesque (2016, Monotype), a 54-style family modeled after Ideal Grotesk (Berthold) and Venus (1907, Bauersche Giesserei). Initially, he was going to do a revival of Pierpont's Monotype Grotesques (ca. 1926). When he tried to blow some new life in Monotype Grotesque, Rod admitted that he ended up with Arial. Different attempts invariably ended up with variants of Arial. So, he went further back along the line of ancestry of Monotype Grotesque and looked at Ideal Grotesk and Venus, which had the higher waistline that typifies so many typefaces af the art nouveau era. That did the job. He also let us in on several tricks to add spice to a sans, such as playing with the slopes of the terminals.

Later on in the question period, he was asked what a young type designer should do. He explained that the sans serif landscape is getting densely populated, and that, unlike in the old days, there are no longer any large gaps. The story of his own struggle to avoid creating an Arial-lookalike illustrated this well.

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file name: Rod Mc Donald Classic Grotesque 2011h


file name: Rod Mc Donald Classic Grotesque Medium 2011


file name: Rod Mc Donald Classic Grotesque Pro X Bold 2011


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file name: Rod Mc Donald Classic Grotesque 2011g


file name: Rod Mc Donald Pic







Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html