Signographie : Andron

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A brief history of Andron



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¶ It was on some day in August 2000 when I did the first humble sketches of some Latin m, n, o, u, e and h, which are to become Andron letters later. Very humble ones indeed, since I never did a Roman typeface before. (I promise to keep them locked for my lifetime.) From the very beginning I drew all outlines in Adobe Illustrator and make few sketches on paper up till now. The range of Latin upright minuscules has been the starting point. In some respect, it might be seen as the core of Andron. Hardly any other range of characters underwent such a long-lasting and painstaking repetition of corrections to the outline than the small Latin alphabet. It might have been mid of 2003 when I »declared« them satisfactorily.

¶ However, in 2001, after months of completing and testing the first Regular and Italic fonts, I used Andron for the very first time for a design commission. It was the cover and leaflet design of the music CD »Barocke Orgeln in Thüringen« edited by externer LinkRaumklang Musikproduktion. No Semibold nor Small Capital fonts were available at this time but the composing provided me with a first occasion to implement some special characters based on signographic research: striked tone-letters (with one to four bars on top) denoting single tones and octaves, like it is relevant e.g. in the description of an organ's disposition. It's a challenge to equip an »f« with four crossbars in its upper part. – Strange or not, Andron does look quite different in this 2001 edition than it looks today.

¶ As many of you know, the development of Andron is close connected to SIGNA magazine. The relationship started in autumn 2001, when Jürgen Siebert (Berlin) and I collaborated on issue No 3, »Die Zeichen des Geldes« (The signs of money) . This volume, signographically heralding the advent of the Euro on January 1st 2002, shows a selection of currency signs on the front title. This and the currency sign's register inside were the first application of Andron in Signa. Later on, in May 2003 Jürgen Siebert wrote a first introductory article on Andron in his column PDF download»Miszellen« of PAGE magazine

¶ The idea to use Andron entirely for Signa was already around for some time before it became reality. The occasion to switch Signa from Adobe Garamond, which has been used for No.s 1 to 3, to Andron came with Karin Paulsmeiers agreement to publish her studies on »the dot in musical notation« in Signa 4 , autumn 2002. The many musical notation characters needed for this treatise urged me to enhance Andron's character coverage again, for I had to make own musical characters for this issue anyway. By then lots of different 8-bit-Postscript-fonts were stored in the Andron folder. Signa 4 already featured all four different size cuts of Andron: Andron Petit for notes, Andron Corpus for body text, Andron Tertia for captions and Andron Titula for main titling at the front cover.    

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  [The draft of four different size cuts

¶ In July 2003 I presented the Andron project for the first time to a professional audience at the »Typotage« conference in Leipsic. Silvia Werfel reported upon that conference in No. 26/2003 of  Deutscher Drucker magazine.

¶ When I issued an Andron specimen folder the same year (the Red folder, with about 40 pages of Laser-printed specimen) and sended them to some editing houses and other possible customers, there was very little repercussion. However, one folder at least proved to fall on fertile ground. I owe much to Gertraude Benöhr in Mainz who was then secretary of the International Gutenberg-Gesellschaft and passed the folder on to Ralf de Jong (who is well-known as co-author of »Detailtypografie« by Hermann Schmidt publ. and now teaches in Saarbrücken). Ralf de Jong, responsible designer of the annual Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, decided to use Andron for the upcoming volumes 2004 and 2005. This honourable occasion was to be the first large-scale Einsatz of Andron and additionally provided me with the opportunity to introduce the typeface and its concept to the readers (Andreas Stötzner: Die Andron – Erweiterte typographische Möglichkeiten mit einer neuen Satzschrift. Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 2004). In this article I discussed my new model of The three alphabet classes for the first time, a concept that has been discussed further by scholars since then and played its role in the ongoing development of the typeface (we'll return on that later). 

please click me   [Glyphic scheme of the 3-Alphabet-Classes model 

– The two Gutenberg-Jahrbücher have been entirely produced with 8-bit-Macintosh fonts edited with Fontographer by myself. They demonstrate e.g. extensive use of Latin abbreviational characters how they appear in mediaeval and Renaissance writing and even in early printing, but have rarely been available to scholars since lead letters fell out of usage.

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In spring 2004 I talked on Andron at the Typo Berlin conference and, two months later, again at the Typotage in Leipsic, now focussing the issue of possibly harmonizing Latin, Greek and Cyrillic minuscules within a typeface. As I see it today, I was in the mood of perhaps »harmonising« them a bit too much under the Latinist banner at that time. So criticism was just around the corner. For their valuable comments and suggestions in the discussion immediately following the presentation I'm grateful especially to Günther Gerhard Lange (Munich) and Prof. Jovica Veljovic (Hamburg), to whom I owe many helpful comments on my Cyrillic design (however, he is by no means responsible for the result!). – Reports on the 2004 Typotage have been published by Ivonne Schwemmer-Scheddin in Deutscher Drucker No. 26/2004, and by Silvia Werfel in
PDF downloadDruckspiegel No. 14/2004 .

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[Three cuts of Andron Greek, 2006 

¶ Apart from that Andron specimen have been presented at the postscript type design exhibition held autumn 2004 in Vienna.  

¶ Andron became steadily used by others than my own Offizin. At Berlin I met Alexander Nagel of Metadesign, who integrated Andron 2005 into a corporate design project for Koebcke GmbH service providers, Berlin. For this commission I had to complete the Regular Bold and Italic Bold fonts and to pay particular attention on equal spacing of the tabular figures and their monetarial counterparts (which I finally managed to be equal in Regular and Bold fonts either!).

¶ An article »Andron – the universal font« by Herbert Lechner (Munich) appeared in externer Linknovum design magazine 03/2005.

¶ Another application of Andron goes back to the 2004 Gutenberg-article, which inspired Prof. Gerhard Endreß of Ruhr-University Bochum to ask for it as a possible body-textface for the long-term editorial project »A Greek and Arabic Lexicon«, funded in parts by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and edited by Brill publ. (Leiden) in cooperation with Yale University. Andron is used here for all the Latin and polytonic Greek parts (unfortunately I have not yet managed to deliver Andron Arabic as well). The first volume composed in Andron is announced for end of 2006.

please click me [Andron Latin and Greek, from: A Greek and Arabic Lexicon (Brill publ.)

¶ A most fruitful period of development began in spring 2005, when Dr Deborah Anderson of Berkeley University introduced me to Prof. Odd Einar Haugen (Bergen University, Norway), who was interested especially in my studies on Latin abbreviations. Since the Lisbon meeting in March 2005 I can boast being a contributing member of the Mediaeval Unicode Font Initiative (MUFI), which loosely connects about a dozen of scholars around the world collaborating on mediaeval palaeography and language studies, especially of northern Europe. Two major projects have been worked on since then, generously funded by the MENOTA project and Bergen University. The one being the German edition of the »Handbok i norr¿ n filologi« (O. E. Haugen red.), for which a complete set of Andron Runes have been developed (announced for spring 2007). The other is the extensive »MUFI character recommendation« which lists all (Unicode- and Private Use Area-) characters useful for editorial work in mediaeval studies with special focus on palaeographical and epigraphical resources.

please click me   [From Haugen et al.: Altwestnordische Philologie (de Gruyter publ.)

please click me   [A page from the MUFI character recommendation

please click me   [Another page from the MUFI character recommendation

Andron has been chosen as the model font in which representative glyphs of all of the more than 1300 characters listed are shown, as a reference guide to scholars and font designers alike. The MUFI character recommendation bears witnes of a hitherto barely practised, intensive exchange of ideas between linguistic scholars and font design practitioners. Hundreds of very special characters have been unearthed from manuscripts, discussed and fontographed. A particular challenge those characters have been, of which some for, five, six or more similar yet distinguishable variant letterforms had to be realised. An intrinsic discussion of tiny details has been neccessary to work out highly sensible differentiations and unusual solutions for e.g. rather rare abbreviation specialities of various historic regions – all within the constant style of one single typeface. Certainly the model of three alphabet classes, introduced by myself in the 2004 Gutenberg article, has been of some usefulness here. It enabled us to define particular glyptic features of »uncial« letters on grounds of a new theoretical basis which regularily integrates mediuscule letters into the common system of the bicameral minuscule/majuscule scheme – a concept which has not been available before. – The font Andron Scriptor Regular, freely available for scholarly purposes via the MUFI website, reflects the state of the art in mediaevalist fontmaking by end of 2006.

please click me   [A scetch for middle english letters by Andreas Stötzner, for MUFI discussion

click me   [Andron mediuscules as realised in various scripts

¶ Since about two or three years main parts of development work shifted from Fontographer to FontLab – and from 8-bit-fonts towards Unicode-based 16-bit-fonts. Working for the various projects mentioned an amount of characters has been accumulated which basically sums up to about 9000 in a 16-bit font package. 


Letzte Änderung: 17.12.2007 01:08