Posts Tagged ‘Anatomy of a Typeface’

Anatomy of a Typeface: The Ascent of Scotch Roman (continued)

The English typefounders, while accepting the novelty of the Didot-Bodoni types, exercised their own modifications of the pattern. On the whole, the English variations tended to retain the bracketed serifs and return to the roundness of the old style, which had been compressed in the Continental faces. Nevertheless, excesses due partially to competition among typefounders […]

Anatomy of a Typeface: The Ascent of Scotch Roman

In the present century, Scotch Roman appears to have been, like its fellow import, Scotch whiskey, and acquired taste. Certainly the evidence at hand indicates its fall from favor in the eyes of American typographers. It wasn’t always so. While admittedly the type never achieved the full acceptance of the Centaur-Lutetia private press set, it […]

Anatomy of a Type: Century—Part 3

Linn Boyd Benton has received credit in all accounts for the designing of the Century type. Presumably he enlisted the assistance of a number of punch cutters at ATF, although why any of them would have wanted to help him is beyond understanding, since some seven years earlier Benton had actually invented a device which […]

Anatomy of a Type: Parsons

I suppose that most old typos who have hung up their composing sticks—or are about to—revive in their memories from time to time certain type faces that arouse feelings of nostalgia for a less complicated era of typography. One type which puts me into that euphoric state is Parsons. And it’s back! Well, like the […]

Anatomy of a Type—Franklin Gothic

When the late Steve Watts was manager of the type foundry at ATF, he was fond of saying that while “types come and go, Franklin Gothic goes on forever”—which was just another way of reminding printers that the type was a perennial best seller. Franklin Gothic, over the past 60 years, has been one of […]

Bodoni–the Anatomy of a Type, Part II

The 45 years which Giambattista Bodoni spent as director of the Stamperia Reale at Parma established him as one of the great printers of any era. He had every opportunity to live up to his statement, “Beauty is founded on harmony, subordinate to the critique of reason.” The Duke of Parma, Bodoni’s patron, had reason […]

Bodoni–the Anatomy of a Type, Part I

The numerous types which today bear the name of Bodoni or attribute more to his skill as a printer then to his ability as an engraver of punches. Most of these types may be considered to be in the style of Bodoni rather than exact copies of his letterforms. They do, however, represent the ultimate […]

John Baskerville: The Anatomy of a Type Part II

While John Baskerville introduced many improvements to the art of printing, he did not profit by them. Standards of production were so high that he was unable to compete with the commercial printers for the work of the booksellers, who complained that his prices were two to three times as much as they could reasonably […]

John Baskerville: The Anatomy of a Type

By every measure, the types originally created by the amateur English printer John Baskerville in the middle of the 18th century—and named for him—have demonstrated universal appeal. The proof of this is their availability as single types for hand composition, and upon all of the typesetting machines, both hot-metal and photographic. And, unquestionably, Baskerville will […]

Anatomy of a Type–3: Caslon, Part 2

As noted last month, remodeling of earlier Dutch types by William Caslon about the year 1720 created such a wide demand for the “English” letter that, except for the period 1790–1840, it has enjoyed most universal approval. Naturally enough, it became the principal type of the American colonial printers, most of whom depended upon England […]

Anatomy of a Type–3: Caslon, Part 1

One of the most widely known types of existence is that which bears the name of its designer, William Caslon, and English engraver who cut it about 1720. It is an indisputable fact that the type has been overpraised, particularly in this century, by most of the outstanding typographers. Beatrice Warde, in her essay on […]

Anatomy of Type Faces: Variations of Garamond

In my discussion last month of the origin on the popular Garamond types, I emphasize the fact that there are two basic sources of inspiration for contemporary type designers who wish to create letters modeled upon the original. The true Garamond types appear in the specimen sheet of the Frankfurt typefoundry of Egenolff-Berner, dated 1592. […]

Anatomy of a Type—2: Garamond

The types which presently bear the name of the great French punchcutter of the 16th century, Claude Garamond, are universal demand, and are thus available from a variety of sources, including foundries and composing machine manufacturers. Unfortunately, the many versions do not always have the same characteristics, a factor which makes there ready identification difficult. […]

Anatomy of a Type—1: Cloister Old Style

In A Note on His Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press, written in 1895, William Morris stated, “By instinct rather than by conscious thinking it over, I began by getting myself a fount of Roman type. And here what I wanted was letter pure in form; severe, without needless excrescences; solid, without the thickening and […]