looking for the perfect Q

Type Walk with Paul Shaw: North Bronx

“You can drive a truck through it!”  Jessica Weber, my Creative Director wasn’t talking about a tunnel. Twenty years ago, as a junior graphic designer, I turned in a “mechanical,” I thought was perfect.  Jessica’s ire was focused on two letters in the title. I had failed to see these two letters as forms.  This was my first on-the-job lesson in the art of kerning. In the old days, setting type was only the first step in creating text.  Cutting set type apart and looking at the characters as shapes was the real job of any good graphic designer.  If you think, this attention to type is old school.  It was and it is.

Schneidler Initials

F.H.E,Schneidler is a forgotten name in type design.  His many typefaces are not frequently used.  Last night, at Cooper Union, Paul Shaw graphic designer, lettering artist, design historian gave voice to Schneidler’s place in evolution of type design.

Schneidler and his students experiments with type design.

Sitting in front of a keyboard, manipulating type in a few seconds, it’s easy to forget that typefaces were created by drawing each letter individually. The development of italic as an essential part of a typeface was a new thing.

Type designers created different weights for a single typeface.  For those of us in the audience, not necessarily interested in Schneidler’s canon of typefaces or his influence on the history of type design; the best part of Shaw’s lecture was raising our awareness about the specific character each letter.

Paul Shaw design.

“Start, start and start again.”  was Schneidler’s motto.  Experiment, experiment, experiment, compare, compare, compare, mix and match, mix and match, mix and match; he was relentless in trying to find the perfect Q.

Thinking with Eye and Hand:
The Typefaces of F.H.E. Schneidler
with Paul Shaw
April 3, 2018
Cooper Union, NYC



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