Category Archives: Post in english

A preliminary bibliography on parametric typography

Hildebrandt, S., Tromba, A. (2007) Principi di minimo. Forme ottimali in natura, Edizioni della Normale, Pisa.

Knuth, Donald K. “Mathematical Typography” in Bulletin (New Series) Of The American Mathematical Society, vol 1,  #2. March 1979

Southall, R. (2005). Printer’s Type in the Twentieth Century: Manufacturing And Design Methods, Oak Knoll press, New Castle.

André, J., Delorme, C. (1990). Le Delorme, un caractère modulaire et dépendant du contexte, in Communication and Langages no. 86.

Jacky H. Changyuan H., Jakob G., Roger H. (1998). A window-based method for automatic typographic parameter extraction, EP ’98/RIDT ’98 Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Electronic Publishing, Held Jointly with the 4th International Conference on Raster Imaging and Digital Typography: Electronic Publishing, Artistic Imaging, and Digital Typography, Springer-Verlag London.

Karow, P. (1987). Digital Formats For Typefaces, Urw Verlag, Amburgo.

Knuth, D. E. (1986). Computers & Typesetting, Volume E: Computer Modern Typefaces, Addison-Wesley Pro.

Knuth, D. E. (1999). Digital Typography, CSLI Publications, Stanford.

Lussu, G. (2007). Tipografia e oltre; in Bucchetti, V., in Culture visive, Edizioni, Milano.

Morris, R., André, J. (1991). Raster Imaging and Digital Typography II, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Noordzij, G. (2001). Letterletter: An Inconsistent Collection of Tentative Theories That Do Not Claim Any Other Authority Than That of Common Sense, Hartley & Marks Inc.

Noordzij, G. (2006). The stroke, theory of writing, Hyphen Press, London.

“Parametric Typography as Didactic Method” with L. Perondi and A. D’Ellena, in Quelhas, V.; Marques, H. T.; Mendonça, R. (2012). “III Encontro de Tipografia: Livro de Atas”. Porto: Edição eletrónica do III Encontro de Tipografia, DAI.ESMAE.IPP. ISBN 978-989-20-3439-3

Ruggles, L. (1983). Letterform Design Systems, Department of Computer Science Stanford University, Stanford.

Sassoon, R. (1993). Computers & Typography (vol. 1), Intellect L & D E F a E.

Shamir, A., Rappoport, A. (1997). Quality Enhacement of Digital Outline Font, in Computers and Graphics, Special Issue on Graphics in Electronic Printing and Publishing, 21(6):713-725.

A test platform for TestMe font/Una piattaforma di prova per la font TestMe

testme copia 2Dyslexia is a Learning Disability with various levels of complexity and types, and this means different needs for each reader.

This is why we chose to design the “TestMe” font family (as you may read here) and to make an online platform that helps to analyze several factors to find better conditions for reading. On the website (currently in beta 1.1) you can combine different versions of the font and change some parameters, as spacing between letters and between words, in order to get the best result for you. Every test will help designers and researchers to understand the importance of single factors and to define the future steps of the font development.

The platform is a work-in-progress as the font itself, and it will be improved and extended thanks to the feedback of every user.

Besides the platform on, we opened a Facebook page to spread the project, to carry on the debate over this topic, and to keep users constantly updated about the improvements.

Arnaldo Filippini & Luigi Bevilacqua


La dislessia è un disturbo dell’apprendimento che si manifesta a differenti livelli e tipologie e questo comporta diverse esigenze per ogni soggetto. Da qui l’idea di immaginare la font “TestMe” (presentata nel precedente articolo) e una piattaforma online che possa prendere in considerazione più parametri per individuare le condizioni che migliorano le performance di lettura. Sul sito (ora beta 1.1) è possibile combinare le diverse versioni della font e variare parametri, come spazio tra le lettere e tra le parole, per ottenere il risultato migliore per l’utente; ogni test effettuato alimenta un database che aiuta i progettisti a valutare l’incidenza delle variabili introdotte, e a definire le caratteristiche future della font.

La piattaforma, per una font in evoluzione, è un cantiere aperto, dove in base ai feedback degli utenti verranno implementate nuove funzionalità e migliorate le esistenti.

Oltre al sito è attiva una pagina Facebook per diffondere il progetto e continuare la discussione sul tema, nonché per tenere informati gli utenti sui cambiamenti introdotti.

Arnaldo Filippini & Luigi Bevilacqua

TestMe a work-in-progress libre font inspired by the principles of Design for All/ TestMe una font libera work-in-progress ispirata ai principi del Design for All


Studying the relationship between fonts and reading performance, including the case of Learning Disabilities, we have identified the need for a font that would allow to check some of the typographical features relevant to the reading process.
Luciano Perondi therefore has reworked Titilium, and released a font with Open Font license. We called the result TestMe.
The font TestMe is available in 4 versions based on the same parameters except serifs and differentiation of forms: – TestMe Sans (sans-serif), wide spacing, long ascenders and descenders; – TestMe Sans Alternate, with serifs only on a few letters and forms more clearly differentiated; – TestMe Serif, with serifs on all the letters (still incomplete, missing diacritics and marks); (- TestMe Serif Alternate, forthcoming).
You can download TestMe for free at this link (Open Font License is included): You can use and modify the font according to the license.
We decided to release it as a “Libre” font because we think that it’s useless to give a single solution to a specific problem. If you have any suggestion or specific needs, please write us, we’ll be glad to have advices to expand the font or your personal customizations.
The practice of Design for All “requires the involvement of end users at every stage in the design process”. For this reason the font is released as a draft, it will be updated little by little with your help, use it with care.

Luciano Perondi & Leonardo Romei


In seguito allo studio del rapporto tra font e efficacia delle performance di lettura, compreso il caso dei DSA (disturbi specifici dell’apprendimento), abbiamo individuato la necessità di una font che permettesse di verificare alcune delle caratteristiche tipografiche rilevanti nel processo di lettura.
Luciano Perondi sta dunque rielaborando, a partire da Titilium, una font con licenza Open Font. L’abbiamo chiamata TestMe.
Test Me è presente in 4 versioni uguali rispetto a tutti i parametri tipografici salvo le variazioni relative a grazie e differenziazione delle forme: – TestMe Sans, priva di grazie (sans serif), con spaziatura abbondante e ascendenti e discendenti lughe; – TestMe Sans Alternate, ha le grazie solo su alcune lettere e forme più nettamente differenziate; – TestMe Serif (ancora da completare, mancano gli accenti), ha le grazie su tutte le lettere (serif); (- TestMe Serif Alternate, in arrivo).
TestMe si può scaricare gratuitamente a questo link:
Potete scaricare e modificare il carattere sulla base della licenza allegata. Abbiamo deciso di pubblicare il carattere come carattere libero perché pensiamo che sia inutile darerisposte univoche a un problema specifico.
Se avete suggerimenti o bisogni specifici, siete invitati a scriverci, saremo felici di avere consigli per espandere la font o ricevere le vostre personali modifiche: la pratica del Design for All “esige il coinvolgimento degli utenti finali in ogni fase del processo progettuale“. Per questo motivo le font sono pubblicate allo stadio di prima elaborazione, verranno aggiornate con il vostro aiuto, usatele con cura.

Luciano Perondi & Leonardo Romei

Sinsemia, scritture nello spazio (book)

After a long silence I announce that my book has been published by Stampa Alternativa & Graffiti. The book is titled Sinsemia. Scritture nello spazio, that means “Synsemia. Writings in space”. Unfortunately, it is not a science fiction novel.
The book talks about the strategies for writing a non-linear text from the design/composition perspective.

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A new possible thread: video games and synsemia

The interfaces of what are usually referred to as “construction and management games” [games in which planning and logistic challenges are emphasized, the player’s goal is to build or manage something with limited resources in an ongoing process] (but also strategic ones) are interesting examples of synsemic texts and, above all, they show a concrete application of the idea of analogy.

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An analysis of “Carta Pisana”, a navigational chart of the Middle Ages

We present a synsemic analysis of the medieval portolan chart “Carta Pisana”, a map for marine navigation. We talked about this visual artifact even in this post  (in italian).

You can find our visual analysis on Pdf:
and on Prezi:

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A further definition of synsemia

We publish a further illustration of the idea of synsemia we published in italian in “Nova24” of  “Il Sole 24 Ore” last October. This “definition” was written by us after long discussions with Antonio Perri and Giovanni Lussu.

[Synsemia] “[…] is defined as deliberately and consciously placing elements of written language in space, in order to communicate, through space articulation, regularly and in a reasonably unambiguous way. These regularities may only be valid for a specific case, but they must be consistent, rigorous and interpretable without requiring support from the author. They may equally be defined by precise patterns and established habits of assimilation.”

“The term synsemia is comprised of the prefix syn, which comes from Greek (‘with’, ‘together’, used contemporaneously also in the sense of ‘union’), and the noun semía, which comes from ‘sema’, or ‘sign’). Synsemia indicates the means in which signs are found together (in space). The term was coined in 2007 by Giovanni Lussu and Antonio Perri and forms part of critical view that is counterpoint to a lineal and alphabet-centric vision of written language”.

“In this context, the spatial arrangement has a value that is not only instructive but also heuristic: it enables discovery, allows tests to be developed and, therefore, plays a leading role in deductive processes”.

(Perondi, L., Romei, L., 2010, “Letture da recuperare”, in «Nova24» of «Il Sole 24 Ore”, n. 245, 28th October, p. 12-13; english translation by Francesco Franchi in, 1st April, 2011).

We thank Francesco Franchi (art director for IL – Intelligence in lifestyle of Il Sole 24 Ore) for the translation of the definition we gave in the article “Letture da recuperare” published in “Nova24” of “Il Sole 24 Ore” n. 245  and on “La vita nòva”, iPad App of “Il Sole 24 Ore” (n. 2, v 1.1, April 2011).

Luciano Perondi, Leonardo Romei

A visualization of the topology of the Divina Commedia

We publish a kind of graphical abstract of the Divina Commedia designed by Luciano Perondi and Angelo Monne. The design process was based on a simple synsemic model and the result is a clear (we guess) visual syntax.

Visual analysis of the artifact (Pdf).

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Southern Sudan Independence Referendum Position on a Newspaper Website

The image below is a screen shot of taken on January 13th, 2011 at 10:05 am.
The yellow line indicates the position of the news about Southern Sudan Independence Referendum.

I will take the same screen shot in the next 6 days at the same hour to show the trend and at the end I will post the result.

Leonardo Romei

Alternatives to the arrow and alternative functions of the arrow

Some time ago Giovanni Lussu pointed out an article to me: “pages 47-66 [ Typographica 12], entitled Emphatic fist, informative arrow, with a short text by Edward Wright commenting some pictures by Herbert Spencer of fists (…) and arrows (…).
The article ends this way: “The sign on the highways is really not an arrow at all; it is a diagram which can change direction and be read from a distance at windscreen level. We can call them arrows because ‘arrow’ now means a certain kind of sign”.

1. There are several pointer of sense AND direction (such as fists or aztec footprints (meaning also “movement” or showing a sequence) or even medieval phylakterion);
2. and arrow is used not only to point a “sense” but also to show a sort of hierarchy in the synsemic text (for exemple, on one side of the arrow there is the main text on the other the “explanation”, or the “note”) or simply to “point out” something in the text.

Acupuncture chart from the Ming Dynasty. The "pointer" is used to create a hierarchy between the main text and the explanations.

Luciano Perondi

Arrow in a synsemic perspective (1)

Letter by Galileo to Leonardo Donato, 1609

Some very short notes about the history of the arrow as a graphic sign (there are four previous posts on this topic in italian: 1, 2, 3, 4).
The discussion started from the article “Mapping symbols to response modalities: Interference effects on Stroop-like tasks”(pdf) presenting a Stroop-like experiment on the interference between a word and an “arrow”.
In a few words, from the abstract: “The subjects were required to respond to one stimulus — an arrow (e.g., →) or a word (e.g., left) — and ignore the other”.

The most important result of the experiment, in brief, is that when the subjects have to act (pressing a key), arrow is stronger than letters, while when the subject have to vocalize the arrow is weaker than letters.

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The writing of an architectural project (02)

The image above is a scheme made by OMA for a conceptual masterplan for a cultural district in Honk Kong.

In this image we can define some rules that can be applied to most of architectural projects.

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The writing of an architectural project (01)

The image above is a graphic artifact I designed to explain the concept of an architectural project: a wine-cellar in Argentina.

In order to communicate an idea through white bi-dimensional space you must think first about the space of the text, choosing which part of the concept will be the main and which will be subordinate, what has to be communicated first and what is just secondary.

Then you must plan how to design the page and the relation between images and text.
Sometimes the text explains the images, otherwise text and images are strongly related and they would lose their meaning if they are separated, or the images are created to explain the text.

Synsemic analysis (pdf)

Elisa Pardini

How to ski by the french method

How to Sky (our highlights are in green)

How to Ski by the French Method by Emile Allais, with photos and layout by Pierre Boucher, Editions Fleche Publishers, Paris, 1947.

In our opinion one of the most complete exemple of text synsemically displayed. A contemporary “synsemic masterpiece”.

In this picture all the graphic “tools” are used as writing elements, without distinction and separation between pictures, alphanumeric characters, graphic elements.
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Synsemia and typefaces

New typeface for Il Sole 24 Ore

Today on Il Sole 24 Ore, an important italian newspaper, Luciano Perondi presents his new typeface  “Sole Serif”, that will be adopted, starting tomorrow, in the weekly cultural supplement. So a few words on type design and the synsemic perspective.

Aren’t they in opposition? If synsemia is the study of the non linear organization of elements of writing, type design shouldn’t be its opposite? Actually alphanumeric characters are elements of writing which needs to be organized in the space.

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Unfortunately frequent kind of synsemia

A telephone bill of BT with synsemic analysis

Synsemia is more usual than we can think, unfortunately.
We can read vertical and horizontal alignments to understand (to infer) relations between elements. And we can get the hierarchy of text elements from size.
Synsemic analysis in pdf

Leonardo Romei & Luciano Perondi

Euler Diagrams

This is a page from “Letters of Euler to a German Princess, on Different Subjects in Physics and Philosophy”, written by Leonhard Euler.
Which part is the illustration, and which is the main text? As you can see the demonstration of Eulero is strongly based on the succession of graphics elements.
In the first printed version (in french) it is possible to see how deeper was the relation between alphabetic text and diagrammatic text. It could be interesting to see which was the relation between elements in the original manuscript.

Leonardo Romei & Luciano Perondi

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