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The typographic Times
Frantisek Storm


[August 2007]

“Typography happens in books, not on street”

František Štorm

Who is František Štorm ?

It’s me. Already 41 years parasiting on this planet.

You’re known as a specialist of revival typefaces ? Why this specialisation ?

František ŠtormHumanist and transitional typography belong to one of the peaks of development. Baroque typefaces are functional and beautiful in the same time. In my personal view there were no significant improvements from the end of 18th century up to present times.

To be honest, all those avantgarde or post-modern movements or whatever you call it, were nothing more than just a insects’ buzz, having just a short life. Typography happens in books, not on street.

You said once that “technology did a lot of bad things to type”. What’s your perspective on the computerization of the typography ?

František ŠtormI’m optimistic. Type technology is now in good hands of clever people such as Yarmola or Twardoch plus dozens of programmers scripting FontLab. If the same attitude had Adobe, we won…

Note that I’m not mentioning the overused social aspect like „…comps are cheap, everyone can do typography…“, that’s normal, people do mistakes every day, but machines are not responsive for undereducated people.

You are a defender of the Czech traditional typographic culture. What are the key personnage of this culture ?

František ŠtormSome are presented on my site (Marek Pistora, Otakar Karlas, Vojtěch Preissig, Jan Solpera, Slavoboj Tusar and Josef Týfa).

We must not forget less known or absolutely unknown typographers, printers, managers, in past, who were involved in typemaking here. Alan Zaruba is writing a huge book on it covering graphic design and typography in CZ in 20. century; as far as I know it should be released very soon. It won’t be that gorgeous like Dutch Type Library, but still inspirative and lovely.

There is also certain gap in publishing Vojtěch Preissig’s work. Namely, lots of hand-drawn preparing sketches for unreleased experimental typefaces from a private collection is waiting for it’s first appearance. Fatastic stuff.

When you decide to create your style of typeface, where do you find your inspiration ?

I‘m drinking lot of beer, having good time with bookdesigners, listening to their demands. Those are my two primary inspiration sources.

František ŠtormOr what I keep saying to my students: there is no typeface without purpose – functionality first, art second. The second thing is rather personal, you can (you must) coin your own approach in the characters’shapes. And here come to play my passion in woodcut and newly perhaps also in music. Horizontal parts are like a melody, vertical stems represent rhythm.

When you start to say something about emotions or art feelings in typefaces, ask psychiatrist for a help, the diagnosis is simple: too many fonts.

Which one of your creation do you prefer or do you think the most interesting ?

František ŠtormAlways the one I’m working on in presence. Anselm is the name of multi-lingual sans-serif type system, an essence of my type experiences. Btw.: I hate my old fonts, and am very surprised how anybody can buy them. Look at Clichee or Tenebra, how trendy and cheap and decorative kitch they are, followed by Mramor (what a poser) and, for example, Regula, IdealGothic and many more. I would never use them.

A question coming from a western latin alphabet user… what are the specificities of Central European typefaces ?

František ŠtormWe didn’t invent the diacritic marks. They all are ugly, no doubts, either western or eastern, disturbing lines of beautiful characters. But we must live with them and there is no other way than to make them viewable and legible. I’m collecting comments from eastern users who help me improving baltic, polish, serbian, etc…

Can tell us some words on the Czech contemporary typographic landscape ?

Yeah, you might know the name Tomas Brousil (Suitcase), my student. Then I would mention randomly Jan Cumlivski, Michal Smejkal or Jan Augusta, or simply go to, the website of my students, where you can see the future of Czech typography…

We like very much magazines like Typo and Revolver Revue, true platforms of upcoming generation.

Related articles: Anselm typeface portrait (August 2007).

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