Type@Cooper - Designing Diacritics: more than a production detail workshop

Designing Diacritics: more than a production detail workshop


with Aleksandra Samuļenkova




Sat., Jun. 24 – Sat., Jun. 24, 2017
10:00AM – 5:00PM
tuition: $ 220

location: On campus

Characters beyond the basic Latin alphabet are frequently overlooked, despite their importance in many languages. Diacritical marks and accented characters are left for later stages, and are seen as part of the production process rather than the design process. Such an attitude can result in poorly designed accented characters and bad typesetting for the many languages with tricky diacritics. That in turn can force native readers to choose a better executed font, or even worse, can cause them to attempt to “fix” your typeface.

Today, it is crucial for type designers to provide fonts with a sufficiently designed beyond-basic character set. I will give insights into the design of accented characters in accordance with the preferences of their native readers. 

The covered topics would include:

Shape, size, contrast, placement of the diacritical marks and extra Latin characters.
Surprising differences in construction of the diacritics between Roman, Italic and handwritten scripts.
Accented characters in combination with other characters: where special attention is needed.
Type family planning: consider diacritics early on in the process, to avoid later surprises.
Some theory, for example the origins of diacritical marks, brief history of their implementation in some orthographies, for better understanding of their importance.
Directions for further self-study, list of sources.
Contemporary tendencies in the design of diacritics.


    Required Materials

  • paper
  • pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser
  • black markers in several sizes
  • white-out
  • laptop with a font editor


The workshop participants will have an opportunity to discuss diacritical marks in their own type designs or/and practice their freshly gained knowledge while fulfilling workshop assignments.





Instructor: Aleksandra Samuļenkova

Designing Diacritics: more than a production detail workshop
Aleksandra Samuļenkova is a Latvian-born type designer. She studied visual communication in Riga (Latvia) and Berlin (Germany), where she studied type design with Luc(as) de Groot. In 2012, she graduated from the Type and Media master program at the Royal Academy of Art the Hague (The Netherlands). Aleksandra’s graduation project Pilot won the first prize at The Fine Press Association’s Student Type Competition, and received a “Certificate of Typographic Excellence” in the 2017 TDC Typeface Design Competition. From 2012 until early 2017 Aleksandra worked as a type designer at LucasFonts in Berlin. In the beginning of 2017 she moved to the Netherlands. Aleksandra’s daily work as a type designer in various countries resulted in a keen interest in the origins of typographic traditions within the Latin and Cyrillic scripts.



Venue