Novo Typo Color Book - Introduction
Some time ago we asked ourselves the question:
Why do type designers traditionally think in black and white?
Why indeed? The world is colorful, the web is colorful, Hollywood does not produce any black-and-white movies anymore... Only type designers continue to think in these restrictive terms. Typographers today are living in the Golden Age of design. Software for designing a book or a typeface has never been so simple, and it is also easy accessible to almost everybody. Examples of archetypal typefaces or books are visible online. Modern printing techniques and software techniques allow us to experiment with a wide range of possibilities. From paper to a computer screen or from two-dimensional model to a three-dimensional prototype. The results of these experiments can be shared via all kinds of social media with anyone anywhere in the world. We are intrigued and fascinated by all these new possibilities and we would also like to share our experiments with the rest of the world. Contemporary printing techniques and new browsertechniques make it possible to add color in typography. This renewed interest for color-within-typography took off with the use of emoji on mobile devices at the beginning of this century. The introduction of these new techniques has allowed type designers to design fonts that are structured on separate colored layers. The user can add different colors to these layers through a range of applications. This publication offers a series of typefaces designed by us based on this multicolored (or chromatic) design concept. Our approach to design implies that readability and legibility in contemporary type design is overrated. Every character is legible, if not, it is not a character. We are not interested in designing a new Helvetica or Univers, simply because these typefaces already exist.

The logical combination between functionality and decoration in typography becomes more fluid with the use of color.
One of the interesting things about chromatic typefaces is that it allows the designer lots of freedom. The possibilities afforded by combinations of type and color are endless. Designers can pick any color they like. They may decide to use the colors of theirclient's corporate identity or simply a fashionable color. Color and typography present a powerful mix in graphic design. In our opinion a bespoke chromatic typeface, well designed and with a strong personality, can easily replace a logo within a corporate identity.

The contrast of hue is the simplest of the seven. Typical combinations are yellow, red and blue or red, blue and green or blue, yellow and violet or yellow green and violet

The use of color within type design takes two different directions. Color can be used for the purpose of decoration, and historically we have seen lots of different variations of these designs. Typical examples of the decorative approach are the use of color in the outline, inline or the dropshadow of the basic letter forms. A beautiful example of this approach is Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type and Borders, published by William H. Page and Co. in 1874. This sample catalog offers a fine collection of chromatic wood types for letterpress printers. The specimen book was used to sell the wooden pieces of type to printers. The typefaces of William H. Page and Co. are today part of the collection of the Hamilton Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, USA. All these examples are based on the decorative approach to design. Going even further back in history, color in layout was already used centuries ago. Around 1455 the German printer and inventor of movable type, Johannes Gutenberg, used color in the page layout of the famous 42-line bible by rubricating the initials and paragraphs. We may presume that, in this case, the use of color did not have a decorative purpose. The reason to use color was to introduce hierarchy in the layout of the page. Later on color was often used to separate paragraphs with a colored pilcrow or a colored silcrow §. This brings us to the second direction in which color is used within typography.

The contrast of extension is the contrast between small and great or little and much

The second direction, which is obviously the most interesting and exciting one, is the color - construction approach. Color can be used as part of the construction of the basic shapes of the characters. The images on the left page show an example of the Bixa typeface which is designed according to a colored and constructed concept. The characters illustrate this approach. Working within this color -  construction typographic concept, it is possible to take this idea one step further. It is only logical that if you can construct the basic shapes of a character, you can also deconstruct these basic shapes. Using this color - deconstruction design concept within an editorial context leads to the following propositions.
Color is the new Italic. Color is the new Bold
Nowadays chromatic typefaces can function on many different platforms. They can be displayed on the monitor of a computer or on the screen of your mobile phone. In this case the characters are printed on paper. For the publication we used two different types of printing techniques. The first one is the sophisticated and contemporary offset technique which is based on the principle of the lithographic process, the repulsion of oil and water. The second technique is the traditional letterpress technique. This technique, based on movable type, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century, is a technique of relief printing. For the pages printed with letterpress, new chromatic matrices based on our designs were produced as part of this project. With these matrices, Type foundry Westzaan, cast a complete series of chromatic type in lead on a Monotype Supra Caster in a size of 36 Didot points. Details of the entire production process of the matrices and the casting of the type is described in Chapter 6 of this book. The project ends with the transformation of the chromatic typefaces into fonts for web. Because screen and color technology for web is a completely different concept compared to printing techniques, that is why we share this process and the results of this part of the project on this website.

The contrast of warm and cold show the difference between colors like red, yellow and orange which are associated with warmth and the colors green, blue and violet which are associated with cold

For this website and the publication we loosely follow the theory and corresponding structures of Johannes Itten as a reference for the color research. The famous Bauhaus instructor proposed a theory which we used as a guideline for our research. This is also why we chose to print the book in three different primary colors as defined in Itten's book The Art of Color published in 1961; red, yellow and blue and their secondary variations; orange, green and violet.  ¶ The book is arranged in consecutive chapters, beginning with a chapter on the construction and deconstruction of letter forms of a single character. The next chapters describe the design process of deconstruction of a single word, followed by a sentence, a paragraph and a complete chapter. The book ends with the description of the transformation and production process of the digital designs into lead type.

Simultaneous contrast occurs when the eye, spontaneously generates the complementary color

The contrast of complements is when two colors are mixed together to become a neutral gray. Some complementary pairs are yellow and violet, red and green or blue and orange
The contrast of saturation is the contrast beween pure, unmixed color and diluted colors
The strongest expression of light and dark contrast is formed by the colors white and black and the sequence of grays between them