From the Point of View of a Trainee – Mary Faber

This is the third of a series of articles giving an insight into the training process for new type designers at Dalton Maag. This time we’re talking to one of our new recruits, Mary Faber, about her experience.


Mary working with FontLab

“While I have countless pen and pencil sketches of letterforms, before my training I had never practised any calligraphy or gouache letterforms, so both these processes were very new to me. The first learning exercise was calligraphy, and that helped me to learn about the stress and formation of letterforms, and about the logic behind serifs and their application.


A sample of Mary’s calligraphy

“The next stage, the painting of letterforms using gouache, was challenging – particularly being, admittedly, something of a perfectionist. The main learning for me here was seeing how letterforms that need to work at smaller sizes are designed large – essentially the painting was this process in reverse.


Letterforms drawn in ink and then annotated

“My design concept began as sketches in numerous styles, heading toward a rounded grotesque form. The defining feature of my design would be the inclusion of ball-terminals in the typeface – ball terminals are nothing new, but adding them to a sans serif is unique. Generally the ball terminal is accompanied by serifs, and often slab serifs. This being the case, it has proved quite a challenge to amalgamate two opposing ideas in one design, as usually the weight a ball terminal creates is balanced by the weight of serifs elsewhere.


Mary works on her font design.

“I value every part of the training process immensely. While I enjoyed the calligraphy and painting, and those did refine my eye, the most beneficial for me has been learning FontLab thoroughly.

“But certainly it was an invaluable experience being under the marvellous guidance of Ron Carpenter. Ron’s vast experience and knowledge might seem intimidating, but his patient, diplomatic, supremely constructive criticism has helped me to begin to see what he sees, increasingly attuning my eye to the most subtle of subtleties.”

Mary practising her calligraphy:

Mary’s ink letter forms, drawn by hand:

Mary’s typeface in development:



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