Thinking a generative tool able to create a typeface from a printed book.
The project goes on in 2014–2015 with Bart Lamiroy, Eliza Barney Smith, Julien Beck, Didier Duchamp, Emmanuel Doucet et Blayid Ben Belkacem.
The letters reconstructed by Re‑typograph loose all information related to metrics and alignment. To tackle that problem, a program based on Walter Tracy’s method has been designed to automatically set the metrics and the alignments of the newly digitized font.
A book is an object with a rather regular structure; it is almost programmatic. One can identify regular schemes of composition as well as recurring character and margin sizes, etc. In the same way as one might design a book, the reconstruction of an old edition starts with the definition of the formal parameters that structure it. Using the data extracted by Agora within LaTeX, we have been able to re-build objective templates imitating the original document.
In 2013–2014, two ways of reconstructing the letters were explored: one by tracing the contours, and the other by calculating the inner skeleton of the letters. In order to check the validity of theses two methods, and to have a framework for communicating with the members of the team who are not familiar with typeface design, two revivals have been designed. The first one was produced by drawing manually the contours of the lettershapes. The second one was obtained by tracing manually the inner skeleton of the letters, and then by applying a parametric contour to that skeleton using the Parametric pen tool designed by Loïc Sander. The letters reconstructed by the program Re‑typograph are based on the average shape of every letter present in the original document. Eliza Barney Smith has worked on the optimization of that average shape. She tested different algorithms focusing on two major aspects of the problem: the clustering method and the way to calculate the average shape. About 125 combinations have been found so far and are being tested. These advances have been compiled in a unique program, Re‑typograph alpha, which enables us to obtain a font in the UFO format directly from the scan of a page.