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Re: [PPLetterpress] Rialto Pressa ink traps

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  • Peter Fraterdeus
    Indeed, the first digital type I designed, Prospera(tm) (see http://www.alphabets.com) has traps, not for letterpress, but for visual clarity. It turns out
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 15, 2002
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      Indeed, the first digital type I designed, Prospera(tm) (see http://www.alphabets.com) has traps, not for letterpress, but for visual clarity.

      It turns out that it works BEAUTIFULLY for letterpress as well ;-)

      In particular, with a light inking, a firm impression and dampened rag stock...
      Down to 4 points ;-)

      PF



      At 9:12 AM +0000 2002-07-15, Mark Attwood wrote:
      >Gerald wrote:
      >
      >> Members Giovanni, Waltraud, and Lui at dfTYPE have graciously sent a
      >> PDF file on the ink trapping technique that was used in their
      >> typeface Rialto Pressa (which I believe is the only digital typeface
      >> ever designed for letterpress printing).
      >
      >Dear listers,
      >
      >I am very interested in the ink traps and can see the ways in which the
      >traps differ from regular digital type, and I don't like to knock the hard
      >work of dfTYPE, but does it really make a difference? Surely choosing a
      >light font when you want a medium to print letterpress will give the same
      >sort of legibility?
      >
      >
      >Mark Attwood
      >The Artists' Press
      >South Africa

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    • bielerpr
      ... Hi Mark I think there are two different things going on with this. Digital type does tend to thicken noticeably when printed letterpress but the answer is
      Message 2 of 17 , Jul 15, 2002
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        > I am very interested in the ink traps and can see the ways in which the
        > traps differ from regular digital type, and I don't like to knock the hard
        > work of dfTYPE, but does it really make a difference? Surely choosing a
        > light font when you want a medium to print letterpress will give the same
        > sort of legibility?
        >
        > Mark Attwood


        Hi Mark

        I think there are two different things going on with this. Digital
        type does tend to thicken noticeably when printed letterpress but the
        answer is simply not to switch to a lighter version, though that is
        an answer.

        I will often make four or five instances of a typeface, using a font
        editing program to give me a range of selections. This has more to do
        with optimization than it does the thickening process though that is
        an obvious consideration.

        While this will give a better optical range it doesn't actually
        provide true optimization. This is more a technical consideration in
        the design of a typeface, metal or digital. And it should be said
        that we did not often get this with metal either. But there are a
        growing number of digital fonts that in way or another do approach
        some form of optimization.

        This is a good thing, no? Far too often the consumer fails to support
        the better quality offering, generally because it costs more. A
        fellow from Monotype once pointed out to me that during the photofilm
        composition years Monotype actually tried to offer the scaled down
        version of optical ranging that they had practiced in the metal
        composition years but no one was willing to buy four size fonts of
        the same face when they could just photoscale the one face that they
        did buy. That's how we got into this mess. Time we started thinking
        of a way out of it?

        I know there are a lot of folks who don't really care what their type
        looks like. And wonder what the big deal is. But this has always been
        the case, for some 550 years now. There have also been those who are
        concerned. Aren't their contributions the ones we tend to remember
        and honor in our recreation of the letterpress myth?.

        All best

        Gerald
      • Mark Attwood
        ... Well said Gerald. I think we do need to support the efforts of those designing better products, I wanted to get an idea of how much better the optimised
        Message 3 of 17 , Jul 16, 2002
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          > Gerald wrote:

          > Far too often the consumer fails to support
          > the better quality offering, generally because it costs more. A
          > fellow from Monotype once pointed out to me that during the photofilm
          > composition years Monotype actually tried to offer the scaled down
          > version of optical ranging that they had practiced in the metal
          > composition years but no one was willing to buy four size fonts of
          > the same face when they could just photoscale the one face that they
          > did buy. That's how we got into this mess. Time we started thinking
          > of a way out of it?
          >
          > I know there are a lot of folks who don't really care what their type
          > looks like. And wonder what the big deal is. But this has always been
          > the case, for some 550 years now. There have also been those who are
          > concerned. Aren't their contributions the ones we tend to remember
          > and honor in our recreation of the letterpress myth?.
          >

          Well said Gerald. I think we do need to support the efforts of those
          designing better products, I wanted to get an idea of how much better the
          optimised font would be, than simply choosing a lighter font before making
          an investment.

          Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer said one should always acquire the
          best tools possible, as poor tools corrode the spirit, and I think the same
          applies to printing.

          Regards,
          Mark.

          Mark Attwood

          The Artists' Press
          Box 623
          Newtown
          2113
          South Africa

          Tel. +27 11 836 5474
          fax. +27 11 836 6858
          mark@...
        • bielerpr
          ... Interesting! On the selection of typefaces, Lewis Allen commented, inferior tools corrode the spirit (in Printing on the Hand Press). Do you suppose he
          Message 4 of 17 , Jul 16, 2002
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            >
            > Well said Gerald. I think we do need to support the efforts of those
            > designing better products, I wanted to get an idea of how much better the
            > optimised font would be, than simply choosing a lighter font before making
            > an investment.
            >
            > Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer said one should always acquire the
            > best tools possible, as poor tools corrode the spirit, and I think the same
            > applies to printing.
            >
            > Regards,
            > Mark.
            >

            Interesting! On the selection of typefaces, Lewis Allen commented,
            "inferior tools corrode the spirit" (in Printing on the Hand Press).
            Do you suppose he appropriated that from Shackleton?

            Gerald
          • Gerald Lange
            ... Ken I ve always used Fontographer. There is a simple sequence on how to do this in my monograph Printing Digital Type. I did buy a copy of FontLab when it
            Message 5 of 17 , Jul 17, 2002
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              ken botnick wrote:
              >
              > Gerald,
              > Which font editing program do you use to create the range of selections?
              >
              > Ken
              > --

              Ken

              I've always used Fontographer. There is a simple sequence on how to do this in
              my monograph Printing Digital Type.

              I did buy a copy of FontLab when it first came out but it didn't work on my
              system. There is a new version out. I think Justin Howes mentioned how to use
              it for this purpose in a very early post here.

              I have a listing of various URLs on font-editing software in the Bookmarks
              section here. Most interesting is Luc Devroye's entire page of links to free
              software and the like from his site Snots & Fonts

              http://jeff.cs.mcgill.ca/~luc/editors.html

              Luc is always most interesting. Well worth a night's entertainment.

              Gerald
            • Katie Harper
              Perhaps that is one of those truisms that is so true, many people have said it independently. I for one would like to take a moment to thank Gerald for setting
              Message 6 of 17 , Jul 17, 2002
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                Perhaps that is one of those truisms that is so true, many people have said
                it independently.

                I for one would like to take a moment to thank Gerald for setting up this
                network, and for all those who contribute to it. For those of us who are
                hawking our services to a public that is far too corroded by inferior stuff
                to really appreciate letterpress or fine craft in general, it's good to have
                colleagues who can help us believe in our own sanity for wanting to produce
                the best work possible.

                Thanks to you all!


                Katie Harper
                Ars Brevis Press
                Cincinnati, OH
                513-233-9588




                > From: "bielerpr" <bieler@...>
                > Reply-To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                > Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 06:43:59 -0000
                > To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: [PPLetterpress] Re: Rialto Pressa ink traps
                >
                >
                >>
                >> Well said Gerald. I think we do need to support the efforts of those
                >> designing better products, I wanted to get an idea of how much better the
                >> optimised font would be, than simply choosing a lighter font before making
                >> an investment.
                >>
                >> Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer said one should always acquire the
                >> best tools possible, as poor tools corrode the spirit, and I think the same
                >> applies to printing.
                >>
                >> Regards,
                >> Mark.
                >>
                >
                > Interesting! On the selection of typefaces, Lewis Allen commented,
                > "inferior tools corrode the spirit" (in Printing on the Hand Press).
                > Do you suppose he appropriated that from Shackleton?
                >
                > Gerald
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > • To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                > PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                > • Encountering problems? contact:
                > PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
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                > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
              • ken botnick
                Gerald, Which font editing program do you use to create the range of selections? Ken -- Ken Botnick Associate Professor, Visual Communications Washington
                Message 7 of 17 , Jul 17, 2002
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                  Gerald,
                  Which font editing program do you use to create the range of selections?


                  Ken
                  --
                  Ken Botnick
                  Associate Professor, Visual Communications
                  Washington University, Saint Louis
                  314.935.8402 x 1 office
                  314.968.5060 home
                  http://www.em-dash.org
                • Mark Attwood
                  Mark Attwood The Artists Press Box 623 Newtown 2113 South Africa Tel. +27 11 836 5474 fax. +27 11 836 6858 mark@artistspress.co.za ... Or shackleton
                  Message 8 of 17 , Jul 17, 2002
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                    Mark Attwood

                    The Artists' Press
                    Box 623
                    Newtown
                    2113
                    South Africa

                    Tel. +27 11 836 5474
                    fax. +27 11 836 6858
                    mark@...



                    > Interesting! On the selection of typefaces, Lewis Allen commented,
                    > "inferior tools corrode the spirit" (in Printing on the Hand Press).
                    > Do you suppose he appropriated that from Shackleton?

                    > Gerald
                    >


                    Or shackleton appropriated it from? I know that Shackleton took a stone
                    litho press and stones (i'm not sure about letterpress) along on his first
                    expedition, and his men wrote and printed a book during the winter when they
                    couldn't do much research.

                    Mark.

                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > • To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                    > PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                    > • Encountering problems? contact:
                    > PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                    > • To unsubscribe:
                    > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                  • Gerald Lange
                    ... Allen published _Printing with the Handpress_ [corrected title] in 1969, in an edition that I suspect most folks then would have found a bit rarified in
                    Message 9 of 17 , Jul 17, 2002
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                      >
                      > > Interesting! On the selection of typefaces, Lewis Allen commented,
                      > > "inferior tools corrode the spirit" (in Printing on the Hand Press).
                      > > Do you suppose he appropriated that from Shackleton?
                      >
                      > > Gerald
                      > >
                      >
                      > Or shackleton appropriated it from? I know that Shackleton took a stone
                      > litho press and stones (i'm not sure about letterpress) along on his first
                      > expedition, and his men wrote and printed a book during the winter when they
                      > couldn't do much research.
                      >
                      > Mark.
                      >

                      Allen published _Printing with the Handpress_ [corrected title] in 1969, in an
                      edition that I suspect most folks then would have found a bit rarified in
                      price. When did Shackleton write this? Can't imagine printing on stone in the
                      artic winter!

                      Gerald
                    • bielerpr
                      ... Hi Peter Isn t 4-pt the lower size limit with page-layout programs? First piece I ever printed with photopolymer was 4-pt. Kinda sold me on it. But, what
                      Message 10 of 17 , Jul 17, 2002
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                        --- In PPLetterpress@y..., Peter Fraterdeus <peterf@d...> wrote:
                        > Indeed, the first digital type I designed, Prospera(tm) (see http://www.alphabets.com) has traps, not for letterpress, but for visual clarity.
                        >
                        > It turns out that it works BEAUTIFULLY for letterpress as well ;-)
                        >
                        > In particular, with a light inking, a firm impression and dampened rag stock...
                        > Down to 4 points ;-)
                        >
                        > PF

                        Hi Peter

                        Isn't 4-pt the lower size limit with page-layout programs? First
                        piece I ever printed with photopolymer was 4-pt. Kinda sold me on it.

                        But, what is the trapping on Prospera? Did you ever write about this?
                        Somewhere I have some of the early issues of Mice Type (?) where you
                        discuss Prospera. Anything on trapping in these?

                        Gerald
                      • Tim Honnor
                        Gerald: I seem to be up and running again now but am not sure how I read previous mail about mounting bases etc. Sorry to sound so prehistoric. Tim In message
                        Message 11 of 17 , Jul 18, 2002
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                          Gerald:
                          I seem to be up and running again now but am not sure how I read
                          previous mail about mounting bases etc.
                          Sorry to sound so prehistoric.
                          Tim

                          In message <ah5ksv+37n9@...>, bielerpr <bieler@...>
                          writes
                          >--- In PPLetterpress@y..., Peter Fraterdeus <peterf@d...> wrote:
                          >> Indeed, the first digital type I designed, Prospera(tm) (see
                          >http://www.alphabets.com) has traps, not for letterpress, but for visual
                          >clarity.
                          >>
                          >> It turns out that it works BEAUTIFULLY for letterpress as well ;-)
                          >>
                          >> In particular, with a light inking, a firm impression and dampened rag
                          >stock...
                          >> Down to 4 points ;-)
                          >>
                          >> PF
                          >
                          >Hi Peter
                          >
                          >Isn't 4-pt the lower size limit with page-layout programs? First
                          >piece I ever printed with photopolymer was 4-pt. Kinda sold me on it.
                          >
                          >But, what is the trapping on Prospera? Did you ever write about this?
                          >Somewhere I have some of the early issues of Mice Type (?) where you
                          >discuss Prospera. Anything on trapping in these?
                          >
                          >Gerald
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >• To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                          >PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                          >• Encountering problems? contact:
                          >PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                          >• To unsubscribe:
                          >PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          >
                          >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                          >
                          >



                          Tim Honnor - Piccolo Press - 90 Harbour Street - Nairn - IV12 4PG
                          tel: 01667 454508 fax 01667 454509
                          www.piccolopress.co.uk
                        • Mark Attwood
                          Yes, thank you Gerald, I really do appreciate the list, and all the like-minded associations. Regards, Mark. Mark Attwood The Artists Press
                          Message 12 of 17 , Jul 18, 2002
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                            Yes, thank you Gerald, I really do appreciate the list, and all the
                            like-minded associations.

                            Regards,
                            Mark.


                            Mark Attwood
                            The Artists' Press


                            > Perhaps that is one of those truisms that is so true, many people have said
                            > it independently.
                            >
                            > I for one would like to take a moment to thank Gerald for setting up this
                            > network, and for all those who contribute to it. For those of us who are
                            > hawking our services to a public that is far too corroded by inferior stuff
                            > to really appreciate letterpress or fine craft in general, it's good to have
                            > colleagues who can help us believe in our own sanity for wanting to produce
                            > the best work possible.
                            >
                            > Thanks to you all!
                            >
                            >
                            > Katie Harper
                            > Ars Brevis Press
                            > Cincinnati, OH
                            > 513-233-9588
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >> From: "bielerpr" <bieler@...>
                            >> Reply-To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                            >> Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 06:43:59 -0000
                            >> To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                            >> Subject: [PPLetterpress] Re: Rialto Pressa ink traps
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>>
                            >>> Well said Gerald. I think we do need to support the efforts of those
                            >>> designing better products, I wanted to get an idea of how much better the
                            >>> optimised font would be, than simply choosing a lighter font before making
                            >>> an investment.
                            >>>
                            >>> Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer said one should always acquire the
                            >>> best tools possible, as poor tools corrode the spirit, and I think the same
                            >>> applies to printing.
                            >>>
                            >>> Regards,
                            >>> Mark.
                            >>>
                            >>
                            >> Interesting! On the selection of typefaces, Lewis Allen commented,
                            >> "inferior tools corrode the spirit" (in Printing on the Hand Press).
                            >> Do you suppose he appropriated that from Shackleton?
                            >>
                            >> Gerald
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >> • To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                            >> PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                            >> • Encountering problems? contact:
                            >> PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                            >> • To unsubscribe:
                            >> PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                            >>
                            >> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                            >>
                            >>
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > • To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                            > PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                            > • Encountering problems? contact:
                            > PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                            > • To unsubscribe:
                            > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                            >
                            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                            >
                          • Dr P.B. Watry
                            Gerry Thanks for the list of font editors. We have been doing some work with the old URW++ programs that Peter Karow and his programmers devised. (The kerning
                            Message 13 of 17 , Jul 18, 2002
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                              Gerry

                              Thanks for the list of font editors. We have been doing some work with
                              the old URW++
                              programs that Peter Karow and his programmers devised. (The kerning
                              program, KERNUS, which is really nice, was used for Justin's Caslon.)
                              These are now redesigned and marketed as DTL FontMaster (URL on the
                              resource page you sent). It is being enhanced and will be released in a
                              couple of weeks. I have never used FontMaster or Fontographer, but I can
                              say that for manipulating fonts the URW++/DTL tools -- particularly
                              KernMaster -- might well prove to be useful for people on the list. The
                              URL is: http://www.fontmaster.nl I believe there are free demo versions
                              of the software for people to try out. We've been very pleased with the
                              results of the software. What I like about KERNUS is its facility for
                              generating different kerning pairs for different point sizes of type. (I
                              have no connection with the company or with URW++, so this isn't an
                              advertisement!)

                              The URL for URW++ is now: http://www.urwpp.de/deutsch/home.htm.
                              A couple of years ago we bought a
                              Linux version, also, which works well with batch processes.

                              By coincidence, I wrote to Frank Blokland of DTL two days ago to see
                              whether they would supply any tools for ink-traps, ala Rialto Pressa, but
                              unfortunately they haven't yet. According to him, there was software for
                              automatically generating inktraps at Scanographic around 1991. Has
                              anyone heard about this? I would think, if there is demand, that DTL
                              might be persuaded to do some development work.

                              MetaFont is also worth investigation. It can also be used to fine-tune
                              the bitmaps of outline fonts, ala Rialto Pressa.

                              Paul



                              On Wed, 17 Jul 2002, Gerald Lange wrote:

                              >ken botnick wrote:
                              >>
                              >> Gerald,
                              >> Which font editing program do you use to create the range of selections?
                              >>
                              >> Ken
                              >> --
                              >
                              >Ken
                              >
                              >I've always used Fontographer. There is a simple sequence on how to do this in
                              >my monograph Printing Digital Type.
                              >
                              >I did buy a copy of FontLab when it first came out but it didn't work on my
                              >system. There is a new version out. I think Justin Howes mentioned how to use
                              >it for this purpose in a very early post here.
                              >
                              >I have a listing of various URLs on font-editing software in the Bookmarks
                              >section here. Most interesting is Luc Devroye's entire page of links to free
                              >software and the like from his site Snots & Fonts
                              >
                              >http://jeff.cs.mcgill.ca/~luc/editors.html
                              >
                              >Luc is always most interesting. Well worth a night's entertainment.
                              >
                              >Gerald
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >• To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                              >PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                              >• Encountering problems? contact:
                              >PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                              >• To unsubscribe:
                              >PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                              >
                              >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                              >
                              >
                              >
                            • Mark Attwood
                              Shackletons second expedition started in 1914, and the first one where he had the stone litho press was a few years before that, but I think Katie is correct
                              Message 14 of 17 , Jul 19, 2002
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                                Shackletons' second expedition started in 1914, and the first one where he
                                had the stone litho press was a few years before that, but I think Katie is
                                correct in saying it is a truism that applies to many things we do.

                                Mark.

                                >
                                > Allen published _Printing with the Handpress_ [corrected title] in 1969, in an
                                > edition that I suspect most folks then would have found a bit rarified in
                                > price. When did Shackleton write this? Can't imagine printing on stone in the
                                > artic winter!
                                >
                                > Gerald
                                >


                                >>
                                >> Or shackleton appropriated it from? I know that Shackleton took a stone
                                >> litho press and stones (i'm not sure about letterpress) along on his first
                                >> expedition, and his men wrote and printed a book during the winter when they
                                >> couldn't do much research.
                                >>
                                >> Mark.
                                >>
                                >
                                >
                              • Hrant H Papazian
                                {Finally back from vacation...} From: dfType ... First, thanks for providing that - very insightful. Second, I m happy to hear your opinion that the Trapping
                                Message 15 of 17 , Jul 25, 2002
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                                  {Finally back from vacation...}

                                  From: dfType
                                  > Inktraps RialtoDF.pdf

                                  First, thanks for providing that - very insightful.

                                  Second, I'm happy to hear your opinion that the Trapping
                                  Flower has potential. It's very encouraging, coming from
                                  designers of your accomplishment. I will provide as much
                                  detail as you'd like - please just let me know in private,
                                  since this list is probably not a good place to elaborate
                                  too deeply about type design.

                                  Third, let's get down to business!

                                  1. The red gain that you're showing, it seems that you got
                                  it by applying stroke thickness in an illustration program.
                                  For most outline segments that's fine, but it seems that it
                                  fails to reproduce the "filling in" of acute angles: inside
                                  angles remain sharp, which is not the case in real life.
                                  I myself have come to use a certain sequence of Photoshop
                                  effects to try to simulate gain accurately - see below.

                                  2. When I first took a close look at Rialto Pressa, I applied
                                  my Photoshop "Gain Simulator" and got the following result:
                                  http://www.themicrofoundry.com/other/gain.gif
                                  It shows two (arbitrary) gain amounts, and you can see how
                                  some traps fill in much sooner than others. I started to
                                  think the trapping was inconsistent; but after reading your
                                  messages (as well as those of Peter) I realized that there
                                  might actually be *two* things going on there: one is what
                                  might be called "conventional" ink trapping, while the other
                                  is more along the lines of optical compensation (in order
                                  to simulate greater definition through exageration), which
                                  reminds me of some of Dwiggins's wonderful ideas concerning
                                  the enhancement of low-fidelity output.

                                  3. From what I understand, you got #7 through manual mani-
                                  pulation? That's impressive! Not just because of the nice
                                  result, but because of the dedication needed to apply this
                                  to an entire font. :-) But one thing that confuses me is:
                                  why is there a difference between #6 and #9 (and by extension
                                  between #4 and #7) if they're both intended for small sizes
                                  and the only difference is supposed to be the amount of gain?

                                  4. You say that you did tests at your letterpress studio.
                                  Did you measure just gain in one dimension, or other things
                                  as well? Could we possibly be priviledged to "the numbers"?

                                  From: "Mark Attwood"
                                  > does it really make a difference?

                                  A very good question, and I think the bothersome answer
                                  is "usually no"... On the other hand, I believe it's in
                                  effect a matter of levels of quality, and who needs how
                                  much at what time. Take smallcaps: they're considered a
                                  sign of quality in a font family, even though virtually
                                  nobody at all uses them...

                                  In any case, I think it's useful to note the fact
                                  that we often do things because we feel the need
                                  to in our souls, with the least possible concern
                                  whether or not the unwashed masses will end up
                                  appreciating it, as un-utilitarian as that is.

                                  hhp
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