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comp.fonts FAQ: General Info (4/6)

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Archive-name: fonts-faq/part4
Version: 2.1.5

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Subject: 1.26. A Brief Introduction to Typography
  
  Space, time, and bandwidth are too limiting to provide a complete
  introduction to typography in this space.  I'd be very willing to make
  one available for anonymous ftp, if you want to write one, but I'm not
  going to write it-I have neither the time nor the expertise.  However,
  the following description of Times, Helvetica, and Courier will suffice
  for a start.  For more information, several books on typography are
  listed in the bibliography.
  
  Comments by Laurence Penney:
  ============================
  
  Laurence Penney offers the following description of Times, Helvetica,
  and Courier:
  
  Times is a typeface designed in the 1930s for the Times newspaper in
  London and is now used widely in books, magazines and DTP. Its design
  is based on the typographical principles evolved since Roman times
  (upper case) and the 16th century (lower case). It is called a
  TRANSITIONAL typeface, after the typefaces of the 17th century which it
  resembles.  Like all typefaces designed for typesetting large
  quantities of text, it is proportionally spaced: the i takes about a
  third the width of an M.  Personally I don't like Times too much and
  prefer the more elegant Garamond and Baskerville, but these will
  probably cost you money...  Note: The Transitionals came after the Old
  Styles (like Garamond) and before the Moderns (like Bodoni).
  
  Helvetica is an example of a SANS-SERIF typeface. These first appeared
  in the late 19th century in Germany and flourished in the 1920s and
  30s, when they were regarded as the future of typography.  It's more a
  geometric design than the humanist design of Gill Sans, but less
  geometric than Avant Garde and Futura. To my mind it lacks elegance,
  and Adrian Frutiger's Univers shows how this kind of typeface should be
  done. (Just compare the B, R, Q, a, g of Univers and Helvetica to see
  what I mean - and don't you just love Univers's superbly interpreted
  ampersand ?!) Helvetica is one of the few fonts that is improved by its
  BOLD version.
  
  Another interesting approach to sans-serif is Optima, by Hermann Zapf,
  which keeps the stroke-weight variations which sans-serifs usually
  reject. Use sans-serif fonts for the same applications as Times, above,
  but where you're less concerned with elegance, and more with a
  functional appearance - they're generally reckoned to be slightly less
  legible than good serifed fonts. They're also very suitable for display
  work.
  
  Courier is a typeface derived from typewriter styles. It should ONLY be
  used when you want to simulate this effect (e.g. when writing letters
  Courier usually appears "friendlier" than Times). Like all typewriter
  fonts, it is MONOSPACED (characters all have the same width) and is
  thus suitable for typesetting computer programs. However there are
  nicer looking monospace fonts than Courier (which has oversize serifs),
  that still remain distinct from the text fonts like Times and
  Helvetica. A good one is OCR-B, designed by Frutiger. Note that
  monospaced fonts are less economical on space than proportional fonts.
  
  [ed: Following the original posting of this message, Laurence Penny and
  Jason Kim discussed the issue privately.  The following summary of
  their discussion may serve to clarify some of the more subtle points.
  My thanks to Laurence and Jason for allowing me to include this in the
  FAQ.]
  
                       -----------------------------
  
  LP-1> The Transitionals came after the Old Styles (like Garamond) and
  before the Moderns (like Bodoni).
  
  JK> Not necessarily true!  Ideologically, yes, but not chronologically.
  I believe, for example, that Bodoni predates New Century Schoolbook or
  some such typeface.
  
  LP-2> What I meant by "X came after Y" was "the first examples of X
  appeared after the first examples of Y" - it's called precis. Some
  people still make steam trains, but you can still say "Steam engines
  came before diesels." This is chronological, not ideological in my book.
  
                       -----------------------------
  
  LP-1> Another interesting approach to sans-serif is Optima, by Hermann
  Zapf, which keeps the stroke-weight variations which sans-serifs
  usually reject. Use sans-serif fonts for the same applications as
  Times, above, but where you're less concerned with elegance, and more
  with a functional appearance - they're generally reckoned to be
  slightly less legible than good seriffed fonts. They're also very
  suitable for display work.
  
  JK> Slightly? I have several textbooks typeset by utter fools and they
  are a pain in the ass (and eyes) to read! Please don't encourage anyone
  to use Optima (or any sans serif fonts for that matter) "for the same
  applications as Times," which, need I remind you, was designed for
  *newspaper* work!!
  
  LP-2> OK, maybe I was a little over-generous to Univers, Helvetica,
  etc., but I think variation is extremely important in typography. Have
  you ever read the British magazine "CAR" ? That uses Helvetica light (I
  think) in a very legible and attractive way, IMO.  I agree, though,
  Optima is crappy for text, but it's a very valuable experiment and
  looks beautiful when printed in high quality for titling, etc. And yes,
  *books* in Helvetica are generally awful.
  
                       -----------------------------
  
  JK> Serifs have been scientifically shown to be a *lot* easier on the
  reader, as they guide the eyes along the lines.
  
  LP-2> In all tests I've seen the serifs have always won the day, but
  only with certain seriffed fonts, and fonts like Univers aren't far
  behind. The "tracking" advantage for serif fonts is reduced when you're
  talking about narrow newspaper/magazine columns.
  
                       -----------------------------
  
  JK> You wrote a pretty short and partial history of type. Why ignore
  the roots of type (blackletter) as well as the climax (moderns-give an
  explanation) and subsequent 'post-modern' revivals?
  
  LP-2> I was just talking about the place the 3 most common DTP types
  hold in the history of typography, and a few associated pitfalls. It
  wasn't meant as a "history of typography" at all. Please feel free to
  provide such a history yourself.
  
  JK> I think any short list of specific faces is incomplete without
  mention of Palatino, the most popular Old Style revival in existence.
  
  LP-2> Do you? To my mind Palatino is grossly over used. You must agree
  it looks bad for dense text. It isn't a proper "oldstyle revival" at
  all, more of a "calligraphic interpretation" of it. Zapf designed it as
  a display face, and wasn't too concerned about lining up the serifs
  (check out the "t"). And it just *has* to be printed on 1200dpi devices
  (at least) to look good in small sizes. OK then, maybe a short list is
  incomplete without a caution NOT to use Palatino...
  
  JK> Also, if this is meant to be a "quick history/user guide for those
  fairly new to using fonts on desktop publishing systems," then I would
  recommend more directions about the proper uses of certain faces (e.g.,
  Goudy for shaped text, Peignot for display *only*) and styles (e.g.,
  italics for editorial comments, all-caps for basically nothing).
  
  LP-2> Okay, okay. I was only sharing a few ideas, not trying to write a
  book. Surely you agree that the 3 typefaces I chose are by far the most
  commonly used and abused these days? I don't think a discussion of
  Goudy or Peignot fits in very well here, unless we're hoping to make a
  very wide-ranging FAQL. Regarding styles: first, italics are used
  principally for *emphasis* (rather than bold in running text); second,
  all good books have a few small caps here and there, don't they? - all
  mine do...
  
  JK> Sorry if I come across as critical. I think the idea of making a
  FAQL is a good one, as is your effort. We just have to make sure it
  doesn't give any newbies the wrong impressions and further perpetuate
  the typographical morass we're facing today.
  
  LP-2> Sorry if I come across as defensive, but I stand by what I said
  and object to the suggestion that I am "perpetuating the typographical
  morass". (I don't know if you really intended this - apologies if you
  didn't.)
  
  Comments by Don Hosek:
  ======================
  
  Don Hosek offers the following additional notes:
  
  The "Times" in most printers is actually a newer version of the font
  than Monotype's "Times New Roman" which it is originally based on.
  Walter Tracy's _Letters of Credit_ gives an excellent history of the
  face which was based on Plantin and in the original cutting has metrics
  matching the original face almost exactly. Another interesting note
  about the face is that it is almost a completely different design in
  the bold: this is due to the fact that old-styles are difficult to
  design as a bold. Incidentally, the classification of Times as a
  transitional is not firm. It likely is placed there by some type
  taxonomists (most notably Alexander Lawson) because of the bold and a
  few minor features. Others, myself included, think of it as a old
  style. The typeface listed in the Adobe catalog as Times Europa was a
  new face commissioned in 1974 to replace the old Times (whose 50th
  birthday was this past October 3rd).
  
  Hermann Zapf is not particularly pleased with any of the
  phototypesetting versions of Optima. As a lead face, Optima is very
  beautiful. His typeface "World", used in the World Book Encyclopedia is
  one recutting for photocomp which improves the font somewhat. He is on
  record as saying that if he had been asked, he would have designed a
  new font for the technology.
  
Subject: 1.27. A Brief History of Type
  
  Thomas W. Phinney contributes the following discussion of the history
  of type(1):
  
  Foreword
  ========
  
  It is difficult to cover all the developments and movements of
  typography in a short space.  My separation of evolving technologies
  from the development of typefaces is an artificial one--designs and the
  technology used to create them are not truly separable--but perhaps it
  is conceptually useful.
  
  Where names of typefaces are used, I attempt to use the original name:
  there are often clones with very similar names.
  
  I shall update, clarify and correct this essay periodically, and will be
  happy to credit contributors. I can be e-mailed on CompuServe at
  75671,2441 (Internet: 75671.2441@compuserve.com).
  
  Type Technology--The Four Revolutions
  =====================================
  
  Gutenberg (ca. 1450-1480) & The Impact of Printing
  --------------------------------------------------
  
  Before the printing press, books were produced by scribes (at first,
  primarily based in monasteries, although by the 12th century there were
  many lay copiers serving the university market). The process of writing
  out an entire book by hand was as labor-intensive as it sounds (try it
  some time): so much so that a dozen volumes constituted a library, and a
  hundred books was an awe- inspiring collection.
  
  This remained true until the invention of movable type, the perfection
  of which is attributed to Johannes Gutenberg (although the Chinese had
  it several centuries earlier, and a Dutch fellow named Coster may have
  had some crude form a decade earlier). Gutenberg, although a man of
  vision, did not personally profit from his invention. He worked for over
  a decade with borrowed capital, and his business was repossessed by his
  investors before the first mass-produced book was successfully
  printed--the Gutenberg Bible of 1454, printed in Mainz by Fust and
  Schoeffer.
  
  Gutenberg's basic process remained unchanged for centuries. A punch made
  of steel, with a mirror image of the letter is struck into a piece of
  softer metal. Molten metal is poured into this, and you get type. The
  type is put into a matrix to form the page of text, inked, then pressed
  into paper.
  
  Within several decades typesetting technology spread across Europe.
  The speed with which it did so is impressive: within the first fifty
  years, there were over a thousand printers who set up shops in over two
  hundred European cities. Typical print runs for early books were in the
  neighborhood of two hundred to a thousand books.
  
  Some of these first printers were artisans, while others were just
  people who saw an opportunity for a quick lira/franc/pound. The modern
  view of a classical era in which craftsmanship predominated appears
  unjustified to scholars: there has always been fine craft, crass
  commercialism, and work that combines both.
  
  To those who have grown up with television, radio, magazines, books,
  movies, faxes and networked computer communications it is difficult to
  describe just how much of a revolution printing was. It was the first
  mass medium, and allowed for the free spread of ideas in a completely
  unprecedented fashion. The Protestant Reformation might not have
  occurred, or might have been  crushed, without the ability to quickly
  create thousands of copies of Luther's Theses for distribution.
  
  Many groups sought to control this new technology. Scribes fought
  against the introduction of printing, because it could cost them their
  livelihoods, and religious (and sometimes secular) authorities sought to
  control what was printed. Sometimes this was successful: for centuries
  in some European countries, books could only be printed by government
  authorized printers, and nothing could be printed without the approval
  of the Church.  Printers would be held responsible rather than authors
  for the spread of unwanted ideas, and some were even executed. But this
  was a largely futile struggle, and most such restraints eventually
  crumbled in the western world.
  
  Industrial Revolution: Steam, Line-casting & Automated Punch-cutting (start 1870-95; end 1950-65)
  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  
  Amazingly, the printing press and the science of typecutting had only
  minor refinements from the late 1500s to the late 1800s. Towards the
  end of this period, the industrial revolution brought major innovations
  in printing technology. Rotary steam presses (steam 1814, rotary 1868)
  replaced hand- operated ones, doing the same job in 16 per cent of the
  time; photo-engraving took over from handmade printing plates.
  
  Typesetting itself was transformed by the introduction of line-casting
  machines, first Ottmar Mergenthaler's Linotype (1889), and then the
  Monotype machine. Essentially, line-casting allowed type be chosen,
  used, then recirculate back into the machine automatically. This not
  only introduced a huge labor savings in typesetting, (again, on the
  order of the 85% reduction in printing time), but also rendered
  obsolete the huge masses of metal type created by the previously
  existing type foundries.
  
  While typesetting and printing speeds increased phenomenally, so did the
  speed of punchcutting. In 1885, Linn Boyd Benton (then of Benton, Waldo
  & Company, Milwaukee) invented a pantographic device that automated the
  previously painstaking process of creating punches. His machine could
  scale a drawing to the required size, as well as compressing or
  expanding the characters, and varying the weight slightly to compensate
  for the larger or smaller size-- this last being a crude form of the
  "optical scaling" done by skilled typographers making versions of the
  same font for different sizes. In optical scaling, the thickest strokes
  retain the same relative thickness at any size, but the thinnest
  strokes are not simply scaled up or down with the rest of the type, but
  made thicker at small sizes and thinner at large display sizes, so as
  to provide the best compromise between art and readability.
  
  The economic impact of all these advances on the type industry cannot be
  overstated. For example, in the United States, the majority of type
  foundries escaped a bankruptcy bloodbath in 1892 by merging into a
  single company, called American Type Founders (ATF). Ultimately
  twenty-three companies merged into ATF, making it far and away the
  dominant American type foundry.
  
  Also around this time, the "point" measurement system finally reached
  ascendancy. In the earlier days of printing, different sizes of type had
  simply been called by different names. Thus, "Brevier" was simply the
  British name for 8-point type of any style. Unfortunately, these names
  were not standardized internationally; 8-point type was called "Petit
  Texte" by the French and "Testino" by the Italians. Such a naming
  system also allowed wonderful confusion, such as "English" referring
  both to blackletter type, and a 14-point size; "English English" was
  thus a 14-point blackletter!
  
  Pierre Simon Fournier had first proposed a comprehensive point system in
  1737, with later refinements, but what was ultimately adopted was the
  later version developed by Francois Ambroise Didot. This put
  approximately 72 points to the inch (and now exactly 72 points to the
  inch on most computer- based typesetting systems).
  
  Photocomposition (Intertype et. al., start 1950-60, end 1975-85)
  ----------------------------------------------------------------
  
  The first photocomposition devices (the French "Photon" and Intertype's
  Fotosetter) made their debuts as early as 1944, but didn't really catch
  on until the early 1950s.  Typeface masters for photocomposition are on
  film; the characters are projected onto photo-sensitive paper.  Lenses
  are used to adjust the size of the image, scaling the type to the
  desired size.  In some senses this technology was an "improvement,"
  allowing new freedoms, such as overlapping characters.  However, it
  also pretty much eliminated optical scaling (see 2.2, above), because
  in the rush to convert fonts to the new format, usually only one design
  was used, which was directly scaled to the desired size.
  
  Digital (start 1973-83)
  -----------------------
  
  The earliest computer-based typesetters were a hybrid between the above-
  mentioned photocomposition machines and later pure digital output. They
  each had their own command language for communicating with output
  devices. Although these machines had advantages, they also had
  problems. None of these early command languages handled graphics well,
  and they all had their own formats for fonts.  However, some of these
  devices are still in service as of 1995, for use in production
  environments which require more speed and less flexibility (phone
  books, newspapers, flight schedules, etc.).
  
  In the late 1980s PostScript gradually emerged as the de facto standard
  for digital typesetting.  This was due to a variety of reasons,
  including its inclusion in the Apple Laserwriter printer and its
  powerful graphics handling.  When combined with the Macintosh (the
  first widely used computer with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get display)
  and PageMaker (the first desktop publishing program), the seeds were
  all sown for the current dominance of computer-based typesetting.
  
  Most high-end typesetting still involves printing to film, and then
  making printing plates from the film. However, the increasing use of
  high- resolution printers (600-1200 dots per inch) makes the use of
  actual printing presses unnecessary for some jobs. And the next step
  for press printing is the elimination of film altogether, as is done by
  a few special systems today, in which the computer can directly create
  printing plates.
  
  Today, although PostScript predominates, there are a variety of
  competing page description languages (PostScript, HP PCL, etc.), font
  formats (Postscript Type One and Multiple Master, Truetype and Truetype
  GX) computer hardware platforms (Mac, Windows, etc.) and desktop
  publishing and graphics programs. Digital typesetting is commonplace,
  and photocomposition is at least dying, if not all but dead. Digital
  typefaces on computer, whether Postscript or some other format, are
  generally outline typefaces, which may be scaled to any desired size
  (although optical scaling is still an issue).
  
  There has been considerable economic fallout from all this in
  typography.  Although some digital type design tools are beyond the
  price range of the "average" user, many are in the same price range as
  the mid- to high-end graphics and desktop publishing programs.  This,
  combined with the introduction of CD-ROM typeface collections, has
  moved digital type away from being an expensive, specialized tool,
  towards becoming a commodity.  As a result of both this and the brief
  photocomposition interregnum, the previously established companies have
  undergone major shakeups, and even some major vendors, such as American
  Type Founders, have failed to successfully make the digital transition,
  and gone bankrupt instead (although at this time ATF appears to be
  undergoing a resurrection). More recently, even major digital type
  foundries have-dare one say foundered?-on the shoals of ubiquitous
  cheap typefaces (even a licensing deal with Corel Corp seems to have
  been insufficient to save URW).
  
  Although there is a new accessibility of type design tools for hobbyists
  and professional graphic artists, the decreasing value of individual
  typefaces has resulted in a decrease in the number of working type
  designers per se (both independents and company-employed).
  
  Type Forms Through the Centuries
  ================================
  
  One must keep in mind that although typefaces may have come into use at
  a particular point in time, they often continued in general use far
  beyond that time. Even after the rise of old style typefaces in the
  late 1500s, the blackletter type was commonly used for setting text for
  several centuries (well into the 1900s in Germany). With later
  interpretations of earlier forms being relatively common, the *style*
  of a given typeface may belong to a quite different period from that of
  the typeface itself! Further, many typefaces have very complex
  histories: a type could have been originally designed in metal at one
  time, reworked by someone else later, made into a phototypesetting face
  by another person, and then later created in digital form by yet
  another designer--who might have been working off of any of the above
  as the basis of their work.
  
  The classification system used here (old style, transitional, modern,
  sans serif, slab serif, etc.) has the virtues of being both simple and
  widely used.  However, the precision and artistic accuracy of this
  system is perhaps dubious: see Robert Bringhurst's Elements of
  Typographic Style or his article in the first issue of Serif magazine
  for a more thorough system.
  
  In discussing the differences between type, one must refer to a number
  of technical terms. For illustrations of these terms, see also the
  downloadable graphics file TYPHS_72.GIF or TYPHS300.GIF. The numbers
  refer to the dots per inch of the graphic when scaled to a full page:
  72 dpi is a low resolution suitable for screen viewing, while 300 dpi
  is better-suited to laser printing. With any luck, both should be
  available for FTP or download from the same site as this file. If so,
  you would be well advised to refer to these pictures for illustrations
  of both these terms and the differences between different categories of
  typefaces. If you are a newcomer to typography, some sort of visual
  reference is essential to understand the differences between fonts
  explained here. Your options include: the aforementioned graphics
  files; type samples from a book, manual or font vendor's catalog; or
  simply viewing or printing out the fonts you have available on your
  computer system, if you have a reasonable variety.
  
  Definitions
  -----------
  
  Contrast: The degree of difference between the thick and thin strokes in
  a font (if any).
  
  Stress (axis): The angle at which contrast occurs, usually ranging from
  vertical to a somewhat back-slanted diagonal. This can best be noted by
  looking at, for example, the letter "O" and noting if the bottom left is
  thicker than the top left, and the top right is thicker than the bottom
  right.  If this difference exists, the letter has diagonal stress. If
  the two halves of the "O" are a mirror image of each other, with the
  sides thicker than the top/bottom, then the letter has vertical stress.
  If the top and bottom of the "O" are the same thickness as the sides,
  there is neither contrast nor stress.
  
  Serifs: Those "finishing strokes" or "fillips" going off the ending
  lines of a letter. For example, when the number "1" or the letter "i"
  are drawn with a bar across the bottom, the two halves of the bar are
  serifs. If the serif is joined to the letter by a slight flaring out,
  it is said to be "bracketed."
  
  Early Letterforms
  -----------------
  
  Although writing itself can be traced back to several millennia B.C., to
  Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions, modern
  letter forms have their most immediate heritage in Roman inscriptions
  from around 50- 120 AD, such as the one on the base of Trajan's Column
  in the Roman Forum (114 AD, digital version by Twombly for Adobe, 1989).
  
  Although early Latin writing was heavily influenced by these chiseled-
  in-stone letterforms, over the centuries it evolved into a variety of
  other shapes, including uncials and the related Carolingian script. It
  is through this period of the sixth to tenth centuries that we see the
  development of the lower case (minuscule) letter as a different shape
  from the upper case (capital).
  
  Type forms similar to what we now think of as "normal" letter shapes
  evolved from the Carolingian (or Caroline) minuscule. The Carolingian
  letters are so-called because of their adoption by the Emperor
  Charlemagne (late 10th century) as a standard for education. Digital
  revivals of these exist, such as Carol Twombly's Charlemagne (1989).
  
  By the fifteenth century, italics also existed, in the form of a cursive
  script which had developed in Rome and Florence.  However, italics at
  this time were a completely separate entity from the upright
  letterforms, as they remained in the early days of printing.
  
  Blackletter
  -----------
  
  The first printed types exemplify what most people think of as medieval
  or "old English" lettering, with ornate capitals, roughly diamond-shaped
  serifs, and thick lines. As a group, these typefaces are called
  "blackletter." They evolved from the Carolingian by a gradual movement
  towards narrowing and thickening of lines.
  
  The general sort of blackletter used by Gutenberg in his first Bible is
  called textura (a shareware digital version of Gutenberg's bible face is
  available, called "Good City Modern"). The other sorts of blackletter
  are fraktur, bastarda and rotunda. Probably the most common blackletter
  revival typefaces in use today are Cloister Black (M.F. Benton, 1904,
  from J.W.  Phinney) and Fette Fraktur.
  
  It is worth noting that although these typefaces seem very hard to read
  to us today, this is due as much to familiarity as to any objective
  lesser clarity.  Fraktur was in use in Germany well into the 1900s,
  though it was gradually being superseded by Roman typefaces. The Nazis
  at first fostered a return to Fraktur, then outlawed it as a "Jewish
  typeface" in 1940.
  
  Studies from mid-century found that people can read blackletter with a
  speed loss of no more than 15%. However, there is subjectively more
  effort involved. Blackletter is today most appropriate for display or
  headline purposes, when one wants to invoke the feeling of a particular
  era.
  
  Old Style Typefaces: Centaur, Bembo, Jenson, Garamond, Caslon
  -------------------------------------------------------------
  
  E.P. Goldschmidt, as explained by Stanley Morison, claimed that "the
  supersession of black-letter was not due to any 'technical advance,' it
  was the visible expression of a changed attitude of mind." The
  Renaissance was typified by an obsession with things "classical," in
  the Greco-Roman sense, which had major implications for typography. The
  neo-classical letterforms were somewhat more condensed than the
  Carolingian shapes, but much rounder and more expanded than the
  blackletter.
  
  Old style type is generally considered "warm" or friendly, thanks to
  its origins in Renaissance humanism. The main characteristics of old
  style typefaces are low contrast with diagonal stress, and cove or
  "bracketed" serifs (serifs with a rounded join to the stem of the
  letter). The earliest (Venetian or Renaissance) old style typefaces
  (originally 15th-16th Century) have very minimal contrast, and a sloped
  cross-bar on the lower-case "e." One such is Bruce Rogers' Centaur
  (1916), based on Jenson. Similarly, Monotype's Bembo (1929) is based on
  the work of Francesco Griffo, circa 1499.
  
  Italics at this point were still independent designs, and were generally
  used completely separately; a whole book could be set in italics.
  Probably the most famous italic of the period is Arrighi's (1524),
  which may be seen today as the italic form of Centaur. Likewise, the
  italic form of Bembo is based on the italic of Tagliente (also 1524).
  
  Later or baroque old style type (17th Century) generally has more
  contrast, with a somewhat variable axis, and more slope of italic. The
  most common examples are the types of Garamond and Caslon, many variant
  revivals of which exist in digital form.
  
  Transitional Type: Baskerville, Fournier
  ----------------------------------------
  
  "Transitional" type is so-called because of its intermediate position
  between old style and modern. The distinguishing features of
  transitional typefaces include vertical stress and slightly higher
  contrast than old style typefaces, combined with horizontal serifs. The
  most influential examples are Philippe Grandjean's "Romain du Roi" for
  the French Crown around 1702, Pierre Simon Fournier's work circa 1750,
  and John Baskerville's work from 1757 onwards. Although today we
  remember Baskerville primarily for his typeface designs, in his own
  time people were much more impressed by his printing, which used an
  innovative glossy paper and wide margins.
  
  Later transitional types begin to move towards "modern" designs.
  Contrast is accentuated, and serifs are more flattened. Current
  examples of such are based on originals from approximately 1788-1810,
  and are dominated by British isles designers, such as Richard Austin
  (Bell, 1788), William Martin (Bulmer) and Miller & Richard (Scotch
  Roman).
  
  For currently available examples of transitional type, there are many
  types which bear Baskerville's name, descending from one or another of
  his designs. Less common today is P.S. Fournier's work, although
  several versions of it are available in digital or metal form. Although
  Scotch Roman has been a very common face in metal type usage since
  Monotype's 1920 revival, it is not a common digital face. Bell, on the
  other hand, is included in a Microsoft Font Pack, and Bulmer has
  received more attention since its revival by Monotype in late 1994.
  
  Modern Type: Didot, Bodoni, Walbaum
  -----------------------------------
  
  "Modern" typefaces are distinguishable by their sudden-onset vertical
  stress and strong contrast. Modern serifs and horizontals are very thin,
  almost hairlines. Although they are very striking, these typefaces are
  sometimes criticized as cold or harsh, and may not be quite as readable
  for very extensive text work, such as books.
  
  A number of designers, perhaps semi-independently, created the first
  modern typefaces in the late 1700s and early 1800s. One of the first,
  and ultimately the most influential, was Giambattista Bodoni, of Parma,
  Italy.  Ironically, historians of type often relate the development of
  the "modern" letterforms to a then-current obsession with things
  Roman--in this case the strong contrast and sharp serifs of classical
  Roman inscriptions. Although similar interests
  
  Today, the most common "modern" typefaces are the dozens of
  reinterpretations of Bodoni's work (which itself evolved over time).
  One of the most successful reinterpretations is the 1994 ITC Bodoni by
  Stone et. al., featuring three different optical sizes. Although little
  is seen of Didot, a reinterpretation by J.E. Walbaum (ca. 1800) sees
  occasional use.
  
  Sans Serif & Slab Serif
  -----------------------
  
  These type forms made their first appearances around 1815-1817. Both are
  marked by simpler letterforms with (usually) relatively uniform stroke
  weight, lacking significant contrast, often geometric in underlying
  design.
  
  The earliest forms of sans and slab typefaces tended to be heavy, often
  monolithic, display faces, but there quickly evolved a wide range of
  styles.  Although the earliest designs are not much used today, their
  descendants are common enough.
  
  Sans Serif (a.k.a. Gothic or Grotesque)
  .......................................
  
  Sans serif letters have no serifs, as the name suggests. The low
  contrast and absence of serifs makes most sans typefaces harder to
  follow for general reading. They are fine for a sentence, passable for
  a paragraph, but are difficult to use well in, say, the text of a book.
  The terminology of sans serif types can be confusing: essentially,
  gothic or grotesque are both generic names for sans serif (although
  Letter Gothic, confusingly, is more of a slab serif type).
  
  In sans serif faces, the italics are often, although not always, simply
  a sloped (mechanically obliqued) version of the roman letters, making
  them totally subordinate to the roman.
  
  By far the most common sans is Helvetica (1951, Miedinger), despite
  being abhorred by many typographers. Helvetica does have the advantage
  of coming in a huge range of weights and widths, which makes it
  versatile, and its ubiquitous character makes it easy to match. Other
  general-purpose sans serifs include Univers (Frutiger, 1952+), Arial
  (Monotype), Franklin Gothic (M.F. Benton, 1903) and Frutiger (Frutiger,
  1975).
  
  Sprouting from the Art Deco movement in the 1920s and 30s (see Art
  Deco), radical geometrical shapes began to be used as the basis for
  sans serif designs.
  
  There are a few other common sans faces which do not fall cleanly into
  the above categories.  Eric Gill's 1928 Gill Sans has an almost
  architectural quality, and its greater contrast and humanistic design
  makes it better-suited than most sans serif typefaces to setting bodies
  of text.  The same can perhaps be said of a number of late 20th Century
  humanistic sans faces (see below)
  
  Slab Serif (Egyptian)
  .....................
  
  These faces have block-like rectangular serifs, sticking out
  horizontally or vertically, often the same thickness as the body
  strokes.  There is some debate about the origin of slab serif
  typefaces: did they originate by somebody adding serifs to a sans face,
  or were they conceived independently?
  
  But even if they had a separate genesis as a family, it is certainly the
  case that many of the most common and popular slab serif forms have been
  created by adding slab serifs to sans faces by the same designer (e.g.
  Adrian Frutiger's 1977 Glypha from his Univers, Herb Lubalin's 1974
  Lubalin Graph from his Avant Garde). Other slab serif faces include
  Berthold City (Trump, 1930), Memphis (Weiss, 1930), Serifa (Frutiger,
  1968) and Silica (Stone, 1990).
  
  The Clarendons or Ionics are an offspring of the slab serif typefaces in
  which the serifs are bracketed. These are often used in newspaper work,
  because their sturdy serifs hold up well under adverse printing
  conditions.  The most famous member of this sub-family is Century
  Schoolbook (M.F. Benton, 1924-35).
  
  Decorative & Display Type
  -------------------------
  
  Fat Faces
  .........
  
  The "Fat Face" types were an offshoot of the moderns, intended for
  display purposes (that is, to be attention-getting for use in large
  sizes, particularly advertising). The first such types appeared from
  1810-1820. They further exaggerated the contrast of modern typefaces,
  with slab-like vertical lines and extra emphasis of any vertical
  serifs, which often acquired a wedge shape. Bodoni Ultra, Normande and
  Elephant are all examples of fat face types which are closely based on
  early to mid-19th Century originals, and are available in digital form.
  
  Wood Type
  .........
  
  Wood type answered some of the needs of display advertising during the
  industrial revolution. It derives its name from the fact that instead of
  being made of metal, the type is carved from wood, cut perpendicular to
  the grain. It is distinguished by strong contrasts, an overall dark
  color, and a lack of fine lines. It may be unusually compressed or
  extended. Many wood types have an "Old West" feel, because they are most
  strongly associated with America in the 1870-1900 period. Some of the
  wood types most widely available today are those in an Adobe pantheon
  released in 1990, which includes Cottonwood, Ironwood and Juniper
  (Buker, Lind & Redick).
  
  Script, Brush, Italic & Freehand
  ................................
  
  Script typefaces are based on handwriting; but often this is handwriting
  with either a flexible steel nib pen, or a broad-edged pen, and is thus
  unlike modern handwriting.
  
  Some common scripts based on steel nib styles include Shelley (Carter,
  1972), Coronet (Middleton, 1937-38), and Snell Roundhand (Carter, 1965,
  based on Snell ca. 1694).
  
  Script faces based more on the broad-edged tradition include the
  contemporary Park Avenue (Smith, 1933).
  
  There are also monoline scripts, which lack significant contrast in the
  letter strokes. One such is Freestyle Script.
  
  Brush typefaces look as if they were drawn with that instrument, which
  most of them were, at least in the original design from which the
  metal/film/digital face was created. Some of them resemble sign-painting
  lettering, such as Balloon (Kaufmann, 1939), Brush Script (Smith,
  1942), and Dom Casual (Dom, 1952).
  
  Brushwork can also be the basis for script, as with Present Script
  (Sallaway, 1974) and Mistral (Excoffon, 1953)
  
  Although modern typography typically relegates the italic to a second-
  class citizenship subordinate to the roman, there are still some italic
  typefaces designed as such in their own right. The best known is
  doubtless Zapf Chancery (Zapf, 1979). Others include Medici Script
  (Zapf, 1974) and Poetica (Slimbach, 1992).
  
  Art Nouveau
  ...........
  
  The late Victorian era, from 1880 to World War I, was characterized by
  this ornamental style of art, with its organic, asymmetrical, intricate
  and flowing lines. This "Art Nouveau" (French, meaning "new art")
  produced similarly distinctive typography, which saw a revival during
  the 1960s.
  
  There are a fair number of digital revivals of art nouveau faces,
  although few are widely used. Some of the more common digital art
  nouveau typefaces are Arnold Boecklin (Weisert, 1904), Artistik,
  Desdemona, Galadriel and Victorian.
  
  Art Deco
  ........
  
  If Art Nouveau was about finding beauty in organic intricacy, Art Deco
  was perhaps about finding beauty in geometric simplicity. First
  appearing in the 1920s and 30s, Art Deco made a comeback in the 1970s
  and 80s as well.
  
  Almost by definition, Art Deco meant sans serif type. The most common
  such face is Avant Garde (1974, Lubalin), which is striking but hard to
  read at length. A more graceful geometric sans is Futura (Renner,
  1927-39). There are also more quirky faces in this category, such as
  Kabel (Koch, 1927-30).  A recent popular Art Deco display face is ITC
  Anna (1991?).
  
  Synthesis
  ---------
  
  Many of the most interesting typefaces of the twentieth century does not
  fit any of the above categories, or at least not easily. The reason is
  that they reflect not merely a single style, but cumulative experience,
  and the merger of different styles. This is perhaps true even of that
  most mundane of typefaces, Times New Roman (Lardent/Morison, 1931),
  which has old style, transitional and modern elements.
  
  Synthesis and Serif Type
  ........................
  
  Although there are many practitioners of this synthesis, the most famous
  is Hermann Zapf. His Palatino (1948) and Zapf Renaissance (1987) are
  modern typefaces with the spirit of Renaissance letterforms. Melior
  (1952), Zapf Book (1976), and Zapf International (1977) all reflect an
  obsession with the super-ellipse, a rectangulated circle, as the basis
  for letter shapes.
  
  There have also been many modern revivals of old style which, while
  close to old style in spirit, are not direct revivals of a specific
  original, and show modern influences in the proportions or
  lettershapes. These include the Granjon-inspired Galliard (Carter, 1978)
  and Minion (Slimbach, 1989).
  
  Synthesis and Sans Serif Type
  .............................
  
  After 1950, many designers began to explore a wide range of starting
  points as the basis for sans serif designs. Aldo Novarese's Eurostile
  (1964-5) takes sans serif forms and distorts them towards square and
  rectangular shapes.  Zapf's 1958 Optima is a masterful blend of sans
  serif shapes with Roman and calligraphic influences. Shannon (Holmes &
  Prescott Fishman, 1981) is a sans serif based on celtic manuscript
  proportions. Several designers have reinterpreted ancient Greek
  lettering for a modern sans serif alphabet: most popularly Carol
  Twombly's Lithos (1989), and most recently Matthew Carter's Skia GX
  (1994). Koch's Neuland (1930?) has a rough-hewn strength. Hans Eduard
  Meier's Syntax (1969) is one of the earliest sans typefaces which
  clearly echo renaissance roman letterforms. More recent sans faces
  often draw on a humanistic background, from Spiekerman's Meta to
  Vereschagin's Clear Prairie Dawn.
  
  "Grunge" Typography
  ...................
  
  The most recent typographic wave is one which has sometimes been called
  grunge typography, after the musical movement originating in Seattle.
  Although it is far too early to judge the ultimate impact of grunge, I
  see the form as the merger of the industrial functionalist movement
  called Bauhaus (contemporary with Art Deco, named after the
  architectural school) with the wild, nihilistic absurdism of Dadaism.
  Grunge, like many typographic/artistic movements before it, is a
  rebellion; but this rebellion denies not only the relevance of anything
  previous, but sometimes even the relevance of legibility itself, in the
  belief that the medium *is* the message.
  
  As grunge type designer Carlos Segura of T-26 says, "Typography is
  beyond letters. Some fonts are so decorative, they almost become
  'visuals' and when put in text form, they tell a story beyond the
  words-a canvas is created by the personality of the collection of words
  on the page."
  
  Grunge typefaces and typography are seen in magazines such as RayGun.
  Some examples of grunge typography are the work of Barry Deck (Template
  Gothic, Cyberotica, Truth), Nguyen's Droplet, Goren's Morire and Lin's
  Tema Cantante.
  
  Sources
  =======
  
  Published Sources:
  ------------------
  
  Although much of this information is based on prior knowledge, I also
  actively consulted the following publications:
  
  Bauermeister, Benjamin.  A Manual of Comparative Typography.  Van
  Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, NY: 1988.  ISBN 0-442-21187-2.
  
  Bringhurst, Robert.  The Elements of Typographic Style.  Hartley &
  Marks, Vancouver, BC: 1992.  ISBN 0-88179-033-8.  The modern classic in
  the field.
  
  Byers, Steve.  The Electronic Type Catalog.  Bantam Books, New York:
  1991.  ISBN 0-553-35446-9.
  
  Eisenstein, Elizabeth L.  The Printing Press as an Agent of Change.
  Cambridge University Press, New York: 1979.  ISBN 0-521-29955-1.
  
  Harper, Laurel.  "Thirstype: Quenching a Type Craving" in How: the
  Bottomline Design Magazine, vol. 10, #1, Jan-Feb 1995.  Although not
  usually a thrilling magazine, had several pieces on typography in this
  issue (see Segura, below).
  
  Letraset Canada Limited.  Letraset Product Manual. Letraset, Markham,
  Ontario, Canada: 1985.
  
  Meggs, Philip B. "American Type Founders Specimen Book & Catalog 1923"
  in Print Magazine, vol. 48 #1, Jan-Feb 1994.  Contains some interesting
  info on the effects of industrialization on the type industry.
  
  Sutton, James & Bartram,  Alan. An Atlas of Typeforms.  Percy, Lund,
  Humphries & Co., Hertfordshire, UK: 1968. ISBN 1-85326-911-5.
  
  Morison, Stanley & Day, Kenneth.  The Typographic Book: 1450-1935.
  University of Chicago Press, Chicago: 1963.
  
  Segura, Carlos & Nelson, Lycette.  "Typography in Context: Never Take a
  Font at Face Value" in How: the Bottomline Design Magazine, vol. 10,
  #1, Jan-Feb 1995.
  
  Tracy, Walter.  Letters of Credit: a View of Type Design.  David R.
  Godine Co.: 1986.
  
  Updike, Daniel Berkeley.  Printing Types: Their History, Forms & Use.
  Harvard Press: 1962.
  
  Zapf, Hermann.  "The Expression of Our Time in Typography" in Heritage
  of the Graphic Arts. R.R. Bowker Company, New York: 1972.   ISBN
  0-8352-0213-5.
  
  Personal Contributions:
  -----------------------
  
  In addition to written sources, which are identified above, I would like
  to thank the following for their helpful comments and corrections (any
  errors are, of course, my responsibility): Robert Hemenway, Mary Jo
  Kostya, and Dan Margulis
  
  ---------- Footnotes ----------
  
  (1)  Version 1.02 14 Apr 1995
  
  This is Info file compfont.info, produced by Makeinfo-1.55 from the
  input file FAQ.texinfo.
  
Subject: 1.28. The Role of National Orthography in Font Design
  
  This article was constructed from postings by Anders Thulin, Charles A.
  Bigelow, and "fieseler" from Jan 1994.
  
  An open question: what role does national orthography play in the
  asthetics of a given font?
  
  Given that uppercase letters occur more frequently in German than in
  English, are German font designs better for typesetting German (because
  the designer is more concious of the relationship between capitals and
  lowercase)?  Similarly, are French designs better for typesetting French
  because the designer is more atuned to the appearance of accents?
  
  Speaking of accents, there are apparently fonts in which the dots over
  the "i" and "j" are not at the same height as the dieresis over
  accented vowels.  (Does anyone have an example of this?)  Surely this is
  an error that a designer accustomed to working with accented letters is
  unlikely to make?
  
Subject: 1.29. Interesting Fonts
  
  There's no end of interesting fonts, so this is really just a catch-all
  category.
  
  Highway Gothic
  ==============
  
  Kibo (James Parry) provides the following discussion of Highway Gothic:
  
  Highway Gothic is The Font Company's name for their interpretation of
  the font used on most official road signs in the United States.  (The
  Font Company added a lowercase to most styles.)
  
  I don't think it has an official name.  There is a government
  publication which shows the fonts (revised in the seventies to make the
  heights metric); I got a copy of it once, from a library specializing in
  transportation, and digitized Series E(M) (normal-width bold caps with
  lowercase, the only USDOT font with lowercase) for a special project.  I
  don't think the specs have changed since the seventies.
  
  Besides E(M) with lowercase, there is a slightly lighter alphabet
  without lowercase, and three condensed styles.  I recall there was also
  a set of really distorted letters for use in painting vehicle lanes,
  plus a few symbols for bike paths etc.  The alphabets included letters
  and digits only--any periods or hyphens you see on signs are apparently
  unofficial.
  
  Where can I get extravagant initial caps?
  =========================================
  
  Don Hosek writes:
  
  I doubt that most decorated initials can be made to work in the type 1
  format because of their complexity. Color only makes things worse.
  
  One of the best choices for medieval and renaissance decorated alphabets
  hasn't been mentioned yet: BBL Typographic (they have an ad on p. 39 of
  Serif 1). A demo disk is available for \$10, B&W alphabets are \$50 each
  and full color alphabets are \$60.
  
       BBL Typographic
       137 Narrow Neck Road
       Katoomba, NSW 2780
       AUSTRALIA
       011-61-47-826111
       011-61-47-826144 FAX
  
  also distributed by:
  
       Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies
       LN G99
       State University of New York
       Birmingham, NY 13902-6000
  
  I know the work only from the Serif ad, but it's gorgeous there (even
  nicer in color, although they decided not to spend the extra money for
  color in their ad... only a select few in Katoomba & Claremont have seen
  the ad in full color). Of course Serif-related disclaimers apply.
  
  Jon Pastor contributes:
  
  Check out the Aridi initials, color EPS initials, available on the
  Monotype CD (and, presumably, on the Adobe CD as well, although they
  don't advertise this; Monotype did, in a recent mailing).
  
  To which Don Hosek amends:
  
  The Aridi initials are part of the Type Designers of the World
  collection and are available on the MT CD but not the Adobe CD.  Adobe
  has their own line of decorated initials available on their CD. Also
  see the catalogs from FontHaus, FontShop and Precision Type.
  
  If you want something really unique, why not hire a calligrapher.  It
  may be cheaper than you think.
  
  Robert Green adds:
  
  Although they might not be on the Adobe CD, the Fall 1994 Font &
  Function advertises an Adobe "Initial Caps" collection of decorative
  initial caps designed by Marwan Aridi.
  

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