In the case of Korean typefaces, there are tools that help expedite the development of Hangul characters. As Korean syllable glyphs are divided up into component pieces, one can instruct the tool on where to place those components and which variant of each component to use. For some fonts there are 40+ variants of each component! With this sort of tool, building can be faster. But it won't always work for a given situation and then the work has to be done by hand.
In some Japanese foundries, there is something of an ‘toolkit’ that is used with examples of the different kinds of strokes necessary for Kanji. So the digitizer (more on that later) can just drag in the one that is appropriate for a given glyph. However, as each glyph is different, there’s still quite a bit of manual tweaking necessary from there.
Part of the problem with Japanese and Chinese is, like with Korean, there’s significant manual adjustment of a given radical or stroke for every character. So even if a tool was able to at least ‘assemble’ the pieces into a given glyph, you’d have to make significant manual adjustments from there.
E: I wonder if the questioning of graphic design and its relationship with art will lead us in circles. Rather it seems like a question that many have thought of before us. Perhaps it is more useful to instead focus on producing work that tries to question this? Or not even that, but you know.. because we are thinking of this, inevitably any work we produce will be tied up in these questions. And perhaps that is good enough? The reason I am interested in design, in large part, is because it gives me another outlet for researching a question. Many of the things I produce are artifacts of a larger investigation. The readymade is really interesting because it has been used by designers and artists alike.
I'm currently reading Design as Art and I think it's well worth your time. The current edition is published as a sibling to Ways of Seeing, funnily enough.
Well, there are other things about design and art that are interesting to us. For example, Kelly and I recently started stubio, which was never meant to be an economically viable venture. Rather, everything on the site is a one off, pushing against the idea that a retail enterprise has to sell multiples of an item. Additionally, the site doesn't operate like a regular store in the sense that it is super bare bones, doesn't really attempt to advertise itself, and has super random stream of conscious-y copywriting. At the end of the day, I'd still consider this to be a graphic design enterprise. And I think doing this is an extension of me thinking about design, art, and consumerism..