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Michael Rowley
05-06-2005, 12:59 PM
KT:

How do Howes's Caslon types compare with modern fonts (from 'H. W. Caslon'), of which there seem to be rather a lot?

The fonts are not all that expensive ($200 for 8 text fonts,$200 for all the display fonts), but I wonder how they compare with, say, Adobe Caslon Pro, which many of us have got for nothing.

ktinkel
05-06-2005, 05:07 PM
KT:

How do Howes's Caslon types compare with modern fonts (from 'H. W. Caslon'), of which there seem to be rather a lot?

The fonts are not all that expensive ($200 for 8 text fonts,$200 for all the display fonts), but I wonder how they compare with, say, Adobe Caslon Pro, which many of us have got for nothing.Howes tried to reproduce very faithfully Caslon as it was set in metal. I haven’t looked at the fonts in a while, but believe he had the old long descenders and other details that have been abandoned in modern times.

Adobe Caslon is contemporary. I do not mean to suggest that it fails to reflect older Caslon designs, but I suspect it would look pretty odd to someone from the 18th century. Howes’s Caslon might look pretty normal to them.

Edited 7 May: Changed the image to show Adobe Caslon Pro, the Howes Founders Caslon Text 12 (an image from Howes’s web site), and type set in ITC Founders Caslon 12.

http://www.desktoppublishingforum.com/images/caslons.gif

donmcc
05-06-2005, 06:02 PM
Just a point. If the example is of a hot metal type, how were the tails on the Q handled. They exceed the side bearing of the font by a great amount. Was the letter cast with an overhanging tail that would rest on the next character? I can imagine these would become broken easily in a type case.

Don McCahill

don Arnoldy
05-06-2005, 06:33 PM
how were the tails on the Q handled?I would assume that those are Qu ligatures.

--don

ktinkel
05-07-2005, 05:59 AM
Just a point. If the example is of a hot metal type, how were the tails on the Q handled. They exceed the side bearing of the font by a great amount. Was the letter cast with an overhanging tail that would rest on the next character? I can imagine these would become broken easily in a type case. No, no — the lower specimen is from Justin Howes’s web site, a showing of his Founders Caslon Text (http://www.hwcaslon.com/catp2.asp) 12 face, which is a digital font created recently, based on a Caslon 12-point original. (He also has fonts based on 8, 10, 14, and 18-point originals.)

His objective was to replicate the appearance of the older Caslon, warts and irregularities included. Since I do not have the font I cannot say for sure, but I imagine that fitting is achieved by kern pairs.

(The specimen is also a gif, which contributes to its fuzziness.)

I have a specimen of Caslon Old Face (using type from punches cut in the early 18th century at the Caslon foundry — the book was printed in 1924, however). It shows Qu ligatures. Howes had access to these specimens and more when he researched his digital font.

donmcc
05-07-2005, 07:34 AM
Ah, I hadn't thought of ligatures...with Q the u (in English) always follows. I have seen the overhanging feature on metal type, on an f, and/or j, but it is always a small amount of overhang.

Don McCahill

Michael Rowley
05-07-2005, 08:26 AM
KT:

Adobe Caslon is contemporary

I suppose Adobe Caslon was a bit of a red herring, because a comparison between Howes's 'Founders Caslon' and ITC's (both due to Howes) would perhaps be more fruitful.

By the way, thank you for the link to Berry's article on Caslon, which is very interesting (as well as instructive). It's a good typeface, and well deserves its reputation. But it occurs to me that it isn't much used for books now—unlike Plantin; perhaps the modern craze for stumpy ascenders and descenders almost finished it off.

ktinkel
05-07-2005, 12:54 PM
… a comparison between Howes's 'Founders Caslon' and ITC's (both due to Howes) would perhaps be more fruitful.They look very close to me. I have the ITC font set (which was issued in 12, 30, and 42 point), and have set the type — with no hand-kerning or other fiddling — and except from some differences in spacing, think it is probably identical to the Howes version (based on the image from his web site).

I revised the specimen in the earlier message and link here to an image that shows three specimens (http://www.desktoppublishingforum.com/bb/showthread.php?postid=7797#poststop): Adobe Caslon Pro, the Howes image, and ITC Founders Caslon 12.

Caslon used different styles of several letters in the various sizes of what we now call Caslon Old Face — not just the italic Q, but the R, the c (and C), and some others. Updike went on and on about this quality, which he termed “thoroughly English.”

By the way, thank you for the link to Berry's article on Caslon, which is very interesting (as well as instructive).And here is another link, to a discussion on Typographica (http://typographi.com/000971.php) prompted by news of Howes’s death. There are some details about his working methods.

Michael Rowley
05-07-2005, 03:00 PM
KT:

I revised the specimen in the earlier message

I've only just noticed the misspelled 'quosque' in the Howes exhibit—I really do need an independent proofreader!

The three faces are indeed virtually identical to my eye, though an expert might notice the 'irregularities' of Howes's font compared to the other two.

I don't agree that the variations mentioned by Updike are particularly 'English'; a lot of type-cutters probably took the attitude that their customers printed in 12 pt (or whatever) or bought their type elsewhere—or cut their own. Caslon had a business that lasted more than 200 years, presumably in part because he did supply several text sizes; he was almost bound to introduce some 'improvements' (look at Zapf!).

The ITC Founders Caslon seems to me to be the best buy, because the set is fairly comprehensive without going to the length of including all those different text sizes, but perhaps Adobe will produce 'Caslon Pro Opticals', which allows a reasonable range of sizes. I note that 'H. W. Caslon' throws in a 'beta-OT' font with its PS or TT fonts; I wonder how 'betaish' that is.

ktinkel
05-07-2005, 04:19 PM
The three faces are indeed virtually identical to my eye, though an expert might notice the 'irregularities' of Howes's font compared to the other two.If you set a lot of Adobe Caslon, I do not think you would find it difficult to distinguish it from the Howes fonts. The Adobe font is much more contemporary — smoother, lighter, with shorter descenders and smoother transitions from thick to thin, and so on. In mass — which is the only fair way to judge text type — it would look a lot different.

I don't agree that the variations mentioned by Updike are particularly 'English'; a lot of type-cutters probably took the attitude that their customers printed in 12 pt (or whatever) or bought their type elsewhere—or cut their own. Caslon had a business that lasted more than 200 years, presumably in part because he did supply several text sizes; he was almost bound to introduce some 'improvements' (look at Zapf!).Yeah, well, sure. But the variations under discussion were present in Caslon Old Face, and its development was of 14 years’ duration (1720 to 1734). These were not alterations or enhancements — the variations seem to have been choices he made as he went along.

As for the “English” crack, you need to read Updike, who focused (unnecessarily in my view) on “national” variations (at a time when nations barely existed)! He said Caslon based his designs on Dutch designs, and that Caslon’s — with their jaunty irregularity — were more English.

The ITC Founders Caslon seems to me to be the best buy, because the set is fairly comprehensive without going to the length of including all those different text sizes …It depends what you want, but if you intend to set ordinary type today for modern readers and printing processes, you would be better off with Adobe’s Caslon. The Howes fonts are set pieces, designed to replicate — or echo, anyway — another era. On the other hand, if you want to reproduce the American Declaration of Independence or other period documents, go for the Howes fonts.

Michael Rowley
05-08-2005, 08:18 AM
KT:

In mass . . . it would look a lot different

Yes, it's a pity there doesn't seem to be a page set in Founders Caslon beside Adobe Caslon, and though I have plenty of books machine-typeset, I think they're all in more modern faces than Caslon Old Face.

variations seem to have been choices he made as he went along

Well, that's what I meant by 'improvements'.

if you intend to set ordinary type today for modern readers

The ten lines of Monoprint Caslon 12 pt given in the 2nd edition of Simon's Introduction to Typography (1963) seem perfectly all right to me, now as at the time the book was published; but perhaps I'm the wrong person to judge! What I mean is that the colour seems right, Caslon is a fairly economical in set, and I don't like ascenders or descenders that are too short (but I don't want to print a newspaper).

What I don't like about Adobe Pro Caslon is that it includes semibold & bold, but reckons it can be used for text from 6 pt to 14 pt; the fonts from Caslon & Company just have roman & italic, but range from 8 pt to 14 pt in 2-pt steps. But on the other hand, the Adobe Caslon Pro fonts are OT—and I have them already.

reproduce the American Declaration of Independence

Damned seditious colonials!

Michael Rowley
05-08-2005, 12:43 PM
KT:

'See attachment (warning — it is a PDF)'

I was notified that there was a message (quoted above), but it hasn't apparently got to the forum yet. Has it vaporized?

ktinkel
05-08-2005, 01:09 PM
KT:

'See attachment (warning — it is a PDF)'

I was notified that there was a message (quoted above), but it hasn't apparently got to the forum yet. Has it vaporized?Sort of. I deleted it. I couldn’t attach the PDF (not sure why — too large, maybe). Then I thought I’d try adding a JPG image, but it was unusable. Then I figured I’d make a page with a larger JPG in it and link to that, but it too was unusable.

So I am stumped. For now. I guess I could do less text, so the file is smaller, then attach a PDF. But right now I think I will just go fix dinner. Grump.

Michael Rowley
05-08-2005, 02:25 PM
KT:

I think I will just go fix dinner

Very practical: for one thing, your husband's a few thousand miles nearer.

ktinkel
05-08-2005, 04:08 PM
Very practical: for one thing, your husband's a few thousand miles nearer.Definitely true! About 20 feet away, in fact, and always hungry as a bear, on a regular schedule! <g>

John Nolan
05-10-2005, 03:42 AM
If you want to see a PDF of Founder's Caslon in use, you can look at one on my site:
http://www.ragandbone.ca/PDFs/Tempest%20guide.pdf

Michael Rowley
05-10-2005, 05:29 AM
John:

If you want to see a PDF of Founder's Caslon in use

Thank you! Got it. The publication is jolly interesting too, as well as the typeface.