Re: The King is Dead, Long Live the New King
I think the claim could be made that machine composition actually did
improve typography (proving both you and Jason right; improved tools,
improved typography). Though the fitting of matrices of machine
composition were in no way the match for those from a quality foundry,
I'd think that Monotype, Linotype, Ludlow were more the firms that
caught on to the typographic revival and promoted fine typography. The
typography of the late nineteenth century, most of it hand set, was
about as bad as it could get. And the well established metal type
foundries were quite slow to catch on.
On the other hand, with notable exception, digital versions of most of
the libraries, from Monotype and Linotype specifically, were based on
the photofilm versions, not the metal. Photofilm suppliers quickly
realized that the idea of selling several size-optimized versions of a
face would not fly in a market where the consumer could easily adjust
type size with a camera. So digital type renditions of these,
especially if they are not optically sized, aren't necessarily better
than the metal versions. When you buy a digital font, you are
essentially getting only the small-text size. Using this at larger
sizes only serves to bloat the face.
Building intelligent rendering software to force better typography can
only go so far. So while the niceties of typography might be more and
more available, more glyphs, better hyphenation, better spacing, etc.,
especially if included as part of the package, if the consumer cannot
understand the need to actually buy more than one size version of a
face, we really are hardly further down the road than when machine
comp ruled supreme. So probably best not to across the board diss
those fine press printer Luddites quite yet. The measure is still
ultimately the responsibility of the typographer. And this can't be
forced on an unwilling or uninformed consumer.
--- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Ludwig M. Solzen"
> Gerald and Jason
> > I think it is essentially true that OT was developed for the Asian
> > market.
> Take the case of ligatures. Of course the OT support of automated glyph
> replacement commercially zealed for the Asian markets, where the use of
> ligatures (and their easy implementation) are orthographically
> (Arabic, Hindi, Tibetan &c). This shouldn't mean of course that fineglyphs by
> typographers weren't to gratefully embrace the OT features facilitating
> their work in - amongst a lot of other things - the replacement of
> the proper ligatures, also in Western languages, where their usemight be
> considered purely aesthetical (although I wouldn't agree on thatseldom,
> completely). Also the technical possibilities of 16 bit data files,
> resulting in much larger glyph palettes, obviously had type designers
> devising glyphs they wouldn't have even considered before, or only
> such as long-s and fb, fh, fj, fk, ft ligatures, for which their was nogave font
> place in the regular expert sets. Perhaps these new possibilities
> developers too much room for design extravagancies. But then again, I'd_can_
> rather have too much technical means than too little - I don't use these
> imho profligate ct en st ligatures.
> > but I would not agree that these improvements have likewise
> > improved my or anyone else's typography
> Generally speaking, typographical improvement in practical daily use
> be noticed thanks to improvements on behalf of the typographicalsoftware.
> Just compare photographically set newspapers from the late 1970swith most
> of today's. And although I heavily dislike the plump traits of Times Newso that
> Roman, it sure is a better default system typeface than Courier was,
> I am at least slightly less vexed when receiving a letter of somethe case
> typographically insensitive secretary.
> > Having typographic niceties does not mean that most folks
> > will use them, or even know how to use them properly.
> It all depends from the default settings of the system. To take up
> of ligatures again, which is my typographic hobby-horse. I reallyhate it
> when people don't use them, although in most fonts (PS1) at least fiand fl
> are available for a long time and since the introduction of WindowsXP are
> also accessible by non-Mac users. One day I got the master thesis of aall over
> friend. His typographical knowledge didn't exceed the average, but as a
> mathematician he used the LaTeX typesetting system. Ligatures were
> the text and with a meticulousness rarely met in Quark or Pagemakerthat
> documents. When I asked my friend about them, he hadn't even noticed
> they were there, in fact, he didn't know what they were! It seemed thatthanks to
> their implementation was a default setting of the software. Meanwhile, I
> contentedly noticed that this became true for InDesign as well:
> these technical defaults we can look forward to a brighter typographicexpect a
> future, without jobbing designers and common pc users having to be even
> aware of what the machine is doing for them.
> > Building the capability into the system is great, but its a gift to
> > typographers, a panache.
> No doubt. Even with all these great techneutic features we cannot
> 'spontaneous generation' of fine typography under the bluntest of hands.genius, or
> This has been true for all the arts, where it comes to aesthetic
> plain good taste. But technological innovation may help to bringbetter into
> expression artistic brilliance; just think of what the invention of oiltalented
> painting meant for European art. Of course there were more poorly
> painters then there have been Raphaels, but at least we have that one,technologies in
> unsurpassed Raphael. Likewise, in the digital age, there will be a vast
> majority of poor typography still, but I am happily awaiting the new
> Jensons, Bodonis and Mardersteigs, fully exploiting the new
> realising what couldn't be achieved by the physical restrictions ofmetal
> > It really isn't until the 20th century that such concerns become fully
> > developed and stabilized.
> Quite so. Hanging punctuation and kerning can't be traced in the Aldine
> publications, afaik, even less in the work of Plantin. Gutenberg's
> Bible, however, has it - and more. In general, I'd say typographyhas gained
> a lot thanks to technological progress, and although myself anenthusiast of
> incunabulian beauty and all the great achievements by the geniusesof our
> typographic history, the hand printed sheets of the earlier days areoften
> rather poor, when compared with the clean products of the motorisedcylinder
> > the vast majority of typesetting and typography gave way to
> > DTP and a complete disregard for setting correct type because so much
> > of correct setting was simply not possible with the tools at hand.
> Frankly, I guess hot metal typesetting is to be blamed a lot more. The
> Linotype, Intertype and, above all, the Monotype machines have
> better books than photocomposition and early digital. But, inessence, the
> disregard for correct typography principally came across for thefirst time
> with hot metal; photocomp and (early) DTP are but its even moredegenerate
> offspring. Think of the typically Linotype truncated overhanging glyphsnecessary
> (notoriously the italic f), the bad kerning on Monotype by lack of
> logotypes and so on. And don't even ask about marginal kerning. Inregard to
> the quiet handwork at the stone, these boisterously products ofindustrial
> commercialism are responsible of the readers' getting used to badspacing
> and mutilated type characters. This is why I am suspicious about thosetheir
> 'Luddite' fine press printers claiming typographical excellence with
> Mono's, at the same time haughtily denouncing digital letterpress.In a way
> digital typography is steadily restoring and emulating the handworkof those
> glorious days before Mergenthaler's however technically genialinvention.
> Hot metal is dead: Long live the digital metal!
> (Perhaps a bit too charging, but nevertheless)
> yours kindly,
I cut off the last of my post to you by mistake. I think the date of
Schöffer's entry into the project is fairly accurate primarily because
somewhere was a reference to his being in Mainz prior to the fall of
Constantinople (1493), which was of considerable concern to the