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Re: Favourite fonts for Photopolymer printing

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  • Gerald Lange
    Ludwig Just a couple of points here. In terms of digital letterpress it really doesn t matter what great historical typefaces are out there waiting to be
    Message 1 of 44 , Jul 15, 2005
      Ludwig

      Just a couple of points here.

      In terms of digital letterpress it really doesn't matter what great
      historical typefaces are out there waiting to be digitized. The main
      concern is that they would need to be digitized for letterpress and
      that just isn't going to happen. The dfTYPE work is an anomaly. Rialto
      was field tested on a letterpress flatbed cylinder press during
      production. Compensations were made to the face based on these tests.
      This isn't going to happen with DTL or Enschedé. The example of Bembo
      Book is indicative. No matter how improved over the previous digital
      Bembo, it isn't exactly what is needed for letterpress, nor is that
      its purpose. So we are left to our own devices [modification of
      fonts], which, for the most part, based on many current foundry
      leasing contracts, is illegal.

      [My recollection of Rialto, by the way, is that its lowercase was
      based on Dutch examples not Venetian or Aldine. The uppercase was
      based on the Roman epigraphics. Fischbachpresse not only has the metal
      faces you mention but a much wider venue so it isn't quite accurate to
      just use these specific examples.]

      The problem with discussing technical issues of letterform design as
      they apply to letterpress is that very few of "us" really care. I
      think the postings (or lack of) here have made that quite clear.
      Printers take what they are given. Period. They pretty much always
      have. And if "we" don't care about quality, why should the type
      designers? There are, by the way, a goodly number of foundry
      representatives on the list, including dfTYPE. I don't think they are
      getting the kind of message you hope will inspire them. Farida's last
      post has much more import. Speak with your pocketbook.

      Gerald Lange
      http://BielerPress.blogspot.com
      http://TypeRoad.blogspot.com

      >
      > Recalling the issue at stake here (which are favourite founts for pp
      > printing), I'd like to make a small digression.
      >
      > Note that until the production of their own typeface, the developers of
      > Rialto at the Fischbachpresse used such exquisite founts as Van
      Krimpen's
      > Lutetia, Romanée, Romulus and Cancellaresca Bastarda, two of which
      (Lutetia
      > and Romulus) are the favourites of Harold Berliner as well, as he
      testified
      > earlier on. Besides Monotype Spectrum non of these superb faces by Van
      > Krimpen are easily accessible in a digital version. Frank Blokland's
      Dutch
      > Type Library, however, is working on the 'JvK Project', striving for a
      > high-end digitisation of the typo-calligrapher's Gesamtoeuvre. DTL
      > Haarlemmer is available for some years now (the complete family
      costs about
      > 1.200 euros, VAT excl.), Romulus has been digitised, but does not
      seem to
      > have been made publicly available already. I am eagerly expecting the
      > digital rebirth of the Cancellaresca, Greek and Open Capital
      companions to
      > Romulus, and some of those beautifully rendered glyphs (such as the
      italic
      > lower g), that are in Van Krimpen's first typeface only, Lutetia.
      >
      > Now, I wonder why Karner and De Faccio turned back to an Aldine (or
      at least
      > Venetian) example when creating their own face, where Karner in the
      forgoing
      > publications of his private press seemed to have had a preference
      for the
      > more austere, yet graceful aristocracy of such 'modern' faces as
      those by
      > Jan van Krimpen. I say 'aristocratic' and 'modern' since Van Krimpen's
      > designs, in a way, recall the upright, rational faces by Bodoni and
      Didot,
      > with a strong contrast, albeit not as heavy as in the classicist
      faces. At
      > the same time Van Krimpen succeeded in keeping the humanist elegance
      of the
      > garaldes. This is why, I believe, his alphabets are so splendid to
      me: they
      > have all the best of typographic history, united in one typeface.
      This is
      > also why the Van Krimpen typefaces have a timeless and therefore
      up-to-date
      > look, unlike the vast amount of modern day revivals and interpretations.
      > Such as Rialto. Despite some of their excellent particularities I am
      > personally not very fond of those postmodernist designs as e.g. Gentium,
      > Warnock &c. Rialto suffers the some postmodernist fancies, precisely
      because
      > of its calligraphic structure.
      >
      > There is also a technical issue. The calligraphic inclination of the
      > traditionalist party in postmodernist type design, causes their
      typefaces to
      > have a strong contrast (very fine serifs, precious calligraphic
      strokes),
      > which I think will hardly endure them being transferred on film,
      plate &c.
      > The final result–even with the expected ink gain on press–is a harsh and
      > uneven, spiked text colour, very much the opposite of e.g. Griffo's–also
      > calligraphically inspired!–Aldine face. Although the pp optimised
      'Pressa'
      > version of Rialto (with ink traps) seems promising, I think Rialto
      is not
      > the best typeface possible as for printing pp letterpress, precisely
      because
      > of it's calligraphic features. A modern-day typeface that might have
      better
      > results, imho, would be a Van Krimpen inspired, pp letterpress optimised
      > one, that is to say: one that keeps the humanist sway of the
      classics, but
      > in bearing on a rationalist construction avoids calligraphic
      extravagance
      > and will thus avoid coarse reproduction conditions
      >
      > Perhaps it would be useful to discuss a bit more in detail which
      typefaces
      > are actually used most in pp letterpress and what be their respective
      > defects and qualities. I am very much interested to hear about the
      > favourites of the members here, so as to have a reliable guide in
      building
      > my fount library. Technical aspects, in regard to photopolymer
      letterpress
      > printing, will have priority in such a discussion, I think.
      >
      > Kind regards,
      >
      > Ludwig
    • Gerald Lange
      Ludwig I think I have found something... I had previously not read the final chapter, The Colorado Project, on Mandel s work in the Southall book. Mandel
      Message 44 of 44 , Jul 26, 2005
        Ludwig

        I think I have found something...

        I had previously not read the final chapter, "The Colorado Project,"
        on Mandel's work in the Southall book. Mandel used the term "cutout"
        for ink trap and "finial" for thorn. The note regarding the problem of
        scale and size with PostScript is of interest as is his suggestion
        that these additions need to be sacrified during printing "leaving
        behind the real intended shape of the character." Southall does spend
        a bit more time with this.

        Gerald


        >
        > >
        > > In this regard I have another question. Discussing ink traps, it is
        > often
        > > claimed that in the old days such skilled punch cutters / font
        > designers as
        > > e.g. J.M. Fleischmann deliberately changed the form of their glyphs
        > on the
        > > punches, precisely because of ink gain matters. Is that so? Did you
        > found
        > > metal punches that prove this? And if that be the case, what exactly
        > those
        > > punch cutters took into account? Did they write down their
        > experiences so as
        > > to hand over their knowledge to progeny?
        > >
        > > As soon as I have cleaned up my messy documentation folders and
        > found the df
        > > paper, I'll inform you.
        > >
        > > Kind regards
        > >
        > > Ludwig
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