Type:Bits

Type:Bits Avilés

Type:Bits is a collaborative type design workshop following on the steps of fonts.txt. The methodologies and workflows that we employ to generate the fonts are mostly the same: paper sketches are the starting point to design basic characters, which are then digitised following the Graphicore bitmap font format; the Graphicore scripts are then used to create OpenType and TrueType versions of these fonts.

Shoplift sketches, photo by Manufactura

As we continue to explore the possibilities of bitmap-based designs, we took the cue to expand on our tool chain. This time, instead of having participants work on a text editor and manually gather the files using a USB stick or shared folder, we worked with Git and GitLab. After a brief introduction to Git and version control, we had everyone use GitLab's online editing interface and commit their work to a shared repository.

Type:Bits is now a Gitlab group where we are gathering the typefaces created in the bitmap font design workshops we have hosted so far: fonts.txt at BAU, in Barcelona; Type:Bits at Escuela de Arte Antonio Lopez, in Tomelloso; and Type:Bits at ESAPA, in Avilés.

Besides the fonts, we have also published a repository with the bitmap font builder, which is our version of Lasse Fister's original pipeline with minor tweaks, which we use to generate font files from the text glyphs. We've also published the base template used to bootstrap each new font. It is invaluable to us to be able to take the time to review, organise and publish the small scripts and tools we make. GitLab made it possible to share the work done in the workshops in a clean way. Commit histories transparently document the rhythm of production and the contribution of each participant.

Type:Bits Avilés, photo by Manufactura

Type:Bits Avilés, photo by Emilio García Otero

Type:Bits Avilés, photo by Emilio García Otero

Type:Bits Avilés, photo by Manufactura

Finally, we taking advantage of Gitlab pages to build an HTML specimen for the fonts. This is great for reviewing letter design as during the workshop (or after!) and quickly showcase the font.

This year, in Avilés, we did two workshops and ended up with four fonts: Muralla, Roseta, Ladrillo and Persiana.

We've also published three fonts created in our 2016 Type:Bits workshop in Tomelloso: Avestruz, Flamingo and Tucan.

All of these fonts are under the Open Font License. They are now ours and yours to use, improve, share and redistribute.

Photo credits: Ana Isabel Carvalho, Emilio Garcia Otero.