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The streets of Paris were built on top of 170 miles of abandoned mines, now closed to the public but representing a rich source of hand-drawn typography carved into the walls over centuries by miners, engineers and trespassers.

This little nugget of information hails from The Typographic Hub, a new Online project by Birmingham City University and UK Type. The website creates a single public space for research projects.

Paris' abandoned mines house centuries worth of typographic finds
Paris’ abandoned mines house centuries worth of typographic finds

Besides recording the majuscules and minuscules of Paris’s underground carvings, other of the hub’s fascinating projects include an examination of the typography and graphics of London tart cards, and researching the lives of important typographers like the city’s own John Baskerville.

18th Century typographer John Baskerville
18th Century typographer John Baskerville

The hub also runs events, and is marking its launch with a day-long symposium at Birmingham City University exploring the link between writers and typographers. On March 16, speakers will travel to Birmingham from universities in the US, Denmark, Holland, New Zealand and the UK to present their ideas on professional typography, but also on how a casual passer-by or even a trespasser gives form to her thoughts.

For further details of the symposium, to access the type library and read about the hub’s research, visit www.typographichub.org.

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