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4–7 September, 2019

Saturday, 7 September | | Miraikan Hall

Talk | Presented in English

“Lo-Res” Chinese: Toward a History of Non-Latin Bitmap Fonts

Type historians are well aware of early innovations in low-resolution font development by foundries and designers such as Emigre and Zuzana Licko. But what about the history of low-resolution screen and printer fonts for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other non-Latin scripts? In this talk, Stanford professor Tom Mullaney examines the history of the Sinotype III, the first-ever implementation of a Chinese text-processing system on a personal computer. In particular, he examines the creation of low-resolution screen and printer fonts capable of rendering legible Chinese characters on industry-standard monitors and dot-matrix impact printers (all of which were originally designed with the Latin alphabet in mind). Mining the never-before-seen archives of the Graphics Arts Research Foundation, hundreds of original bitmap font sketches, oral histories with surviving members of the Sinotype team, and the process documents and correspondences of the project's principal designers and consultants, this talk examines the creation of perhaps the first-ever “Lo-Res” Chinese font in history. Mullaney will also discuss his ongoing project to create a revival of the Sinotype III typeface and his efforts to chart out the early history of non-Latin bitmap fonts more generally.