Two students of type design asked me about the first phases of developing a type design
i answered from my personal experience as follows:
How it usually starts:
1. As I am not a dedicated type designer professionally, but a designer that
is continuously striving to improve the esthetics of print design, I do not start
from realizing a need for a certain type of type ( though sometimes I do),
but rather a type esthetic value. The uniqueness and originality of its. Form.
As I am working, sketching, or designing -even designing logo
through a logotype- I suddenly see in front of me a word or even a
letter in a word, that I feel could turn into an interesting type face. So the
beginning is never that of an expert, nor a professional (!), but rather
someone that is attracted by the beauty of form. In most cases that is.
2. Stage too is taking this form and roughly sketching few letters to check
whether this form is ‘extendable’ -so to speak- does it have enough character
to mould the forms of other letters. Sometimes, as I do this I create from the few letters
I drew a word, and look at the result in anticipation.
3. Of course my approach to type design is not the traditional calligraphic
approach. That is the letter I start from I do not create with the known
tools of a calligrapher, but rather by drawing the letter through visualizing
its external form, that is by drawing the outline that makes it. We have the term
in Arabic ‘kasm’ meaning the shape, we even use this for chairs or even people.
This if you wish the preliminary phase of how I approach
creating a new type. I start by noticing ‘first words’.