I started drawing letters with a computer when I first got one of my own in 1997. I’d been studying sans serif type as a project on the Typography & Graphic Communication course that I was taking at Reading University, and learning about the different strands of development: ‘grotesques’ such as the delightful Monotype Series 215 were designed by type cutters or draftsmen, while geometric and humanist sans serifs like Futura and Gill Sans were constructed with compasses or quills by rationalist typographers and calligraphers. In the end, of course, they all needed a little wash and brush-up from the typefounder – to say nothing of the type designs. I was also in thrall of a typeface called Ehrhardt, a Monotype revival typeface that is based on a seventeenth century design by Miklos Kis. It too had endured a lot of cleaning, but though they were hard on the source material, those responsible created a very elegant condensed typeface. The result looks a bit like a house on an Amsterdam canal. Puritan was my response to these influences; it was also a way (I thought) that I could get hold of an interesting typeface without unofficially borrowing from the Typography department. It might be flawed, but it was mine! Well, I learned a lot from the experience. I wrote a short essay about Puritan as a project in my final year as an undergraduate. Rather than repeat it all here, I have converted the essay (presented as a booklet) into a PDF file of around 1200K which you can download. In October 1999, I submitted Puritan to the 3rd International Type Design Contest, where it made absolutely no impact.
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