Warren Chappell's Eichenauer

timotheus's picture

Warren Chappell designed a font called Eichenauer (for Gustav Eichenauer, who cut the type in lead) in 1955, but it was never manufactured and released. To this day, I don't think there has been a digital version, either.

I would very much like to do a digital version of this type, but I am not sure how to pursue this. First of all, we're talking about something from the 1950s rather than the 1650s, so there is a question of legal rights. Does someone hold the rights to the design? If so, how can I find out? Can I proceed anyway? Second, I would like to work from original materials as much as possible. A proof from the type is reproduced in Chappell's Short History of the Printed Word, so I figure I can contact the original publisher (Knopf) for more information. Any other ideas?

I'd appreciate any insights on this. Thanks.

John Hudson's picture

I'm not a theorist, Nick. I'm a type designer who spends most of his time dealing with language support issues rather than graphic design issues. I think our disagreement stems from the fact that we design within different contexts.

hrant's picture

> You don’t even have to see what something looks like, and
> on principle you know whether it’s good or bad design?!

For myself, I don't do that to instances, but I
can still think that a principle is good or bad.
And I think pretty is often dysfunctional.

And yeah, John is not [just] a theorist... :-)
Oh, and of course neither is Gerry.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Sorry John, that wasn't meant as a generalization, it's just that both you and Hrant had dismissed something you haven't seen as bad design, on principle.

You're right about the different contexts, which is my point really, in that I don't think language (your background) trumps layout (my background) every time -- just most of the time, but not in occasional circumstances, particularly headline and display typography.

hrant's picture

> something you haven’t seen

Vision is only one faculty.
And interestingly not a highly reliable one, in terms of memory at least.

> particularly headline and display typography.

Yes, a critical distinction.
But don't you do the same sorts of things for your "text" cuts?

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

>But don’t you do the same sorts of things for your “text” cuts?

It's not about me, Hrant.
Walk the talk, "dude", get off your butt, publish Patria and share with the world what a good "text" cut is supposed to look like.

hrant's picture

I don't get it: you just made a good distinction,
and I'm wondering if you actually implement it.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

>I don’t get it:

Right.

timotheus's picture

Well, for anyone out there who cares to follow my efforts on this, things are pretty dry. I have not been able to locate any heirs, nor have I been able to locate any source materials yet. I never received a reply from the Knopf archive staff, but Robert Bringhurst has informed me that the image used in the book was most likely a personal photograph. So, if it exists at all, it would probably not be in the Knopf archive.

It looks like my last and best hope might be the Waren Chappell Art Collection at Columbia University (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/eresources/archives/collections/html/4079660.html).

I guess if I cannot locate anything more on the original design, I might still work from the image in the book and end up with something at least "inspired by" Chappell's Eichenauer.

Regards,
tim

hrant's picture

Fortunately for everybody, there comes a point where an
expectation of diligence can cross into the unreasonable.
Ergo: once you've tried hard enough but still failed, go
ahead with it anyway.

hhp

WAdams's picture

Yeah, after all, it'd be perfectly acceptable if say even though Mrs. Chappell was gracious enough to grant permission to a person who has since spent the past decade-and-a-half working on these designs that someone else who didn't take the time to get such permission or thoroughly research things knocked out something and beat him to the punch.

William

hrant's picture

It shouldn't take 15 years of work to realize that's not what I said.

hhp

twardoch's picture

Hrant,

> It shouldn’t take 15 years of work to realize
> that’s not what I said.

True. You either get it, pretty instantly, or you don’t at all. In this case, I don’t. :>

A.

hrant's picture

For example, if you expend more effort trying to unearth permission than it will take to eventually make the font, you're doing more harm than good, to everybody. Nobody tries to track down Garamont's heirs, and that's a good thing.

hhp

twardoch's picture

Currently, in most countries copyright protection lasts up to 70 years after the author’s death. There are people who believe that typeface designs should be protected through copyright. If you are such a person, I believe it is only morally correct to act *as if* that copyright protection were already in place.

Wait... Actually, it *is* in place, just not in all countries (e.g. not in the U.S.). So obeying general copyright rules when doing a revival is not only a moral but also a legal obligation -- if you plan to publish the font worldwide.

Of course you can also do a risk analysis: what is the chance that the widow or the children of a deceased author (typeface designer, painter, writer etc.) will ever sue me if I *don’t* ask permission? If you think that risk is minimal, you are free to go ahead and do whatever you want to do no matter what. But I doubt that such actions would have actual legal standing, or that they would be ethically clean.

A.

twardoch's picture

I shall add that every time the type design community accepts the practice of unauthorized revivals, it actually supports the notion that fonts are unworthy of being protected as intellectual property.

A.

hrant's picture

1) Essentially I was talking in the abstract (as I'm wont to do) not about specifics.
2) Copyright after death is only valid if there's somebody there to inherit it.

But to me more important than the legal aspect (and certainly any clinical commercial "risk analysis") is the ethical aspect: how does one ideally behave in the total, on this planet that we share? So for example in #2 above, it's actually not enough for somebody to inherit the rights, that party actually has to care about it enough as well. I think the human reality is malleable and complex enough that sometimes (though rarely) this can even allow for the unauthorized revival of something by somebody who's still alive. Remember, the French Revoution was illegal.

hhp

milady1066's picture

I am a relation of Warren Chappell. I found this page by googling him. I would love to know what, if anything, came from your plan/desire to create a digital version of Eichenauer.

quadibloc's picture

Omitting accents from capital letters is rather common, because of the difficulty of finding room for them. Obvious solutions involve apparent leading or shrinking the letter to make room for the accent.

If this practice, bad though it may seem, is common enough that readers expect it, it doesn't create a serious problem in ambiguity for reading.

twardoch's picture

Emily,

the person who started this thread is Tim Rolands. He operates his studio and can be contacted directly at http://www.timrolands.com/NewsThings/Contact.aspx — I think it's wonderful that this thread has been revived after seven years, and I encourage you both to get in touch and talk about it. And then report here if you come to terms.

Best,
Adam

milady1066's picture

Thanks, Adam!

brianskywalker's picture

[bookmark]

timotheus's picture

Wow, look what happens when I go AWOL for a while!

Emily, I would still very much like to complete this project. May I ask: how are you related to Warren Chappell? After reading this meandering discussion, what are your thoughts?

- Tim

quadibloc's picture

From the viewpoint of an English speaker, the German eszet is simply a ligature of an old-style long s with a short s. Since German text no longer normally uses the long s when printed, it's even odd that the eszet is still used.

But the long s was used in Fraktur, and so while it was dropped when the switch to Roman type was made, habit had made the eszet seem like an additional letter of the alphabet to Germans, which is why it stuck around.

If it's just a ligature, it really has no right to keep on existing at all in Roman type in the absence of a long s. If it's a letter of the alphabet, it should have a capital form. So the current situation of eszet having SS as its form in all capitals text is inherently unstable, deriving from a situation where the eszet is neither fish nor fowl.

timotheus's picture

Well, this is one of those threads that just won't die!

I have continued working on this project off and on and around other projects and actually plan to have it finished in the coming months. I'll be posting samples for feedback when ready.

In the meantime, I have learned that this typeface was actually referred to as "Chappell Mediaeval" at Klingspor/Stempel in 1956. This leads me to consider contacting Linotype in some official manner as they may still hold some legal interest in this typeface.

Dan: If you see this, any chance you could direct me to a good contact there at Linotype?

Tim

hrant's picture

Cool.

I'm not sure Dan is still at Linotype. I'll ping Nadine Chahine (via Twitter).

hhp

quadibloc's picture

The eszet was originally a ligature for a long s followed by a short s. Thus, since in English, capital ffi is FFI, making a capital eszet into SS seems to be the only and obvious way to go.

However, this origin of the eszet is obscured by the way it is formed in most typefaces in which it is used, and Germans today think of it as a letter, not a ligature. Given this, it is as natural to them to expect there to be a capital eszet as it is for us to expect a capital W, as was noted earlier in this thread.

Should a capital eszet look very different from the lower-case eszet - and thus be a new, unfamiliar shape to learn - or, since the eszet ascends above the x-height anyways, should the capital version just be a slightly bulked-up and maybe squared-up version of the lower-case one? To me, that's the big question; but for now, SS is correct, and so it should be practised so that people are familiar with it.

timotheus's picture

Thanks, hrant.

quadibloc's picture

@Nick Shinn:
You theorists crack me up.
You don't even have to see what something looks like, and on principle you know whether it's good or bad design?!

That seemed like a very sensible comment. The goal of design is for something to have an attractive appearance, and so the means by which that is achieved would not seem to make something "bad design".

However, I went ahead and looked for the original of the statement, and found this:

When a magazine art director decides that 'the requirements of the typographic layout' demand possible ambiguation of text, it seems to me that his is looking at the whole thing backwards. Since when has typographic layout involved 'requirements' that override the integrity of the text? I don't think there are any such requirements, and if one creates such requirements in a layout then it isn't a very good piece of design, no matter how lovely it might look. If you have to abuse the text in order to typeset it, there is a problem.

Maybe "bad typography" instead of "bad design" would have been more appropriate, but the idea that it doesn't matter how pretty the result looks if, by omitting accent marks, you have made the text hard to disambiguate by the reader, seems valid to me.

Even so, there is another side of this argument. Omitting accent marks from all-capitals text is, in fact, a quite common typographical practice, and hence literate native speakers of many languages that use accented letters don't seem to be bothered much by the practice. So it would depend on the language (and also on the text) whether criticizing this as bad typography is legitimate.

hrant's picture

Tim, if you give me your email (mine: hpapazian that symbol gmail dot corn) I'll put you in touch with Nadine.

hhp

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