New to Typophile? Accounts are free, and easy to set up.
There's something I've wondered aloud about for a while now, although
apparently never in the right place; but now that David Berlow seems
to hang out here, this might be my best chance yet:
With the introduction of the Poynter typeface a few years ago, FontBureau
applied the idea of weight "grading", although they graciously credited past
designers for the idea (too much credit deferred, as far as I'm concerned).
The idea is to provide very gentle weight variations to allow fine-tuning,
depending on printing conditions, specifically in terms of gain, which can
happen even within a single newspaper, for example when type is next to
an image or not.
What I'm wondering about is how this idea relates to the "traditional"
scaling of vertical & horizontal proportions within a family of weights,
since the intent is really different here. Most tellingly, at FB itself there
seems to have been a bit of inconstance about this. Here are a couple of
overlays, based on scans from their super specimen book:
Note how the height changes in one, but not the other.
My guess is that -since Bureau came later, and I think
more under the hand of Berlow as opposed to TFJ- the
second attempt was an improvement. But all ears are
tuned to the horse's mouth of course! :-)