David Kettlewell
David played the harp, trained as a conductor, was a professor at Tartu University teaching people how to put music together the way renaissance composers did it and directed baroque operas with people who thought they couldn’t sing, looked after the visitors to a mediæval church in the north of Sweden and painted in traditional Swedish style on sheepskin, and he’s taught people who “can’t draw or paint” how they can always do something beautiful if they follow the approach of the mediæval and renaissance artists: perhaps type is not the first thing people associate with him, but here is what he said on this subject...
“Oh yes, indeed, it’s been a dream ever since younger days, when I was collecting affordable editions of the books of hours and the Book of Kells and renaissance writing manuals – and of course that completely dog-eared and worn-out Letraset catalogue from the 1960s was like a secret bible, a source of inspiration in troubled times, whispering that there really is a better world, where everything is beautiful, everything stands in proportion to everything else, all characters and languages and sizes are equally important... “I’ve always copied the old letters by hand to make birthday cards and signs, and I have one published book which is entirely hand-written. I used to dream that one day I might be able to do something a bit more systematic with the letters, with mediæval and renaissance calligraphy, the work of the old printers, my handwriting and so on... And then suddenly it all became possible, with the Fontographer program for creating typefaces and fonts, affordable as part of the FreeHand Graphics Studio, and suddenly the most beautiful results were within reach with little more than an “entry level” scanner, a mouse-click to activate an “automatic trace” command, and a careful eye... I’ve written lots at the Fontografia web-site about how you can use fonts and how you can make them and my own experiences, with some hints to help other people starting out on a similar journey. Fontographer itself feels a bit long in the tooth now, and I’m so happy to have discovered its successor in the serious font-making world, the FontLab suite of programs, and to have come into dialogue with its amazing and brilliant creators and type guru Adam Twardoch. “Then out of the blue I heard from Richard Bradley, designer of Bradley Hand which Microsoft ship with their programs, and other gems which they don’t, wondering how he might get some circulation for his new, beautiful, pen-and-ink type designs in an exclusively digital world; that led to me playing a bit with them and getting very excited about the results, many of which you can see in the New Renaissance Fonts listing. “Apart from those, my own fonts are based on my experience of renaissance culture, partly direct scans from older writing books and beautiful writing, partly newer designs inspired by renaissance models, some drawn and painted by others in my circle like Karin and Dagmar and Anders.”

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