Japanese Calligraphy Workshop Recap

Last week was our first workshop here in our shop/gallery/studio space. Instructed by Keiko Shimoda and organized by Shoko Mugikura, we had an exciting day learning all about Japanese calligraphy.

Shoko began the day with an overview of how Japan’s complex writing systems work followed by examples of historical and contemporary typography. Keiko then presented an introduction to the long tradition of calligraphy in Japan.

After these theoretical basics, it was time to get creative. Keiko explained and demonstrated every aspect of the process including the paper, ink-making, brushes, proper handling of brushes, and how to write a few characters in different styles. The participants then spent the morning intently practicing. In the afternoon they chose some simple words to learn to properly write. Keiko nicely concluded the workshop with a helpful group critique of everyone’s work.

(Font) In Progress:

(Font) In Progress:

Creating a New Typeface

On display January 21st – February 23rd, 2013

Thanks to personal computers and the trendiness of letters and lettering, the general public seems to know about, and slightly understand the concept of, fonts. Most at least realize that they can change the default typeface options in word processor or when they need to type something. But once you move a bit deeper into the universe of typefaces, the quality and quantity of knowledge dramatically drops off. There are still many who believe fonts are something that simply come with your computer. Some know that real designers sit and create them. Fewer still can appreciate the facts that serious type families demand considerable work and can easily take years to complete. Even for the most avid fans of type and typography, the process of creating a font is still often a mystery.

The (Font)In Progress installation is here, now, for two reasons. The primary motivation was completely selfish: it’s an excuse (and pressure) to work on new fonts. Since opening the gallery and shop space, the amount of time and resources I’ve had to work on type design has greatly diminished. What was once 80-90% of my work efforts is now only 5-10%. So, the hope is to dedicate a few weeks to the task of beginning a new type project (even if it’s not brought to completion).

The other intent for this show is to help demystify the process of creating a typeface. My workflow will be documented almost daily in this installation, so visitors can view my various steps, methodologies, and tricks that I employ when creating a new design.

The work will be primarily documented in the form of test prints on display in the gallery. However, for those not fortunate enough to be in or around Berlin in January or February, there will also be an online archive of the work presented here.

At the end of the exhibition we will celebrate with a Finissage on Saturday, February 23rd from 6pm to get one last look at the display and evaluate how the work went.

Japanese Calligraphy Workshop

Japanese Calligraphy Workshop


Shoko Mugikura of Just Another Foundry teamed has kindly organised a Japanese calligraphy workshop by Keiko Shimoda to be held here at Mota Italic!

The main details:

19th January 2013, Saturday, 11am

– Max. 8 participants

– 4-5 hours

– The workshop will be in English and all necessary tools are provided

– Please bring €20 to cover the cost for the writing tools and paper

The workshop is intended for those who have interest in Japanese and Chinese calligraphy but never had the opportunity to try it. Even if you don’t know anything about Japanese language, not to worry – we’ll have a short introduction of the Japanese writing systems by Shoko, as well as an explanation of the history and theory of Japanese calligraphy by Keiko.

But the workshop is mostly about practising – it is a wonderful opportunity to learn new writing systems, skills and methods developed in the Far East. You could even try Japanese calligraphy methods to write Latin script.

Keiko is an unusual person to practice both Japanese and Latin calligraphy. Based in London, she produces beautiful invitation cards, certificates and logos etc. in both Latin script and Japanese or Chinese characters. She also sometimes works for films. In fact, you might have already seen her work – her piece appears in the new James Bond Skyfall! To see more her work, please visit her website.

Although not a calligrapher, Shoko will also be around to answer questions on Japanese scripts.

If you’d like to participate, please email to:


Update: There is only a space or two left!

Update 2: The workshop is now fully booked!