Preparing a book about forgotten typefaces: help needed

David Rault's picture

Hello fellow typophiles,

I am currently preparing a book in french and english, due to be released in Europe and America around september 2009 at Atelier Perrousseaux publishing (the french publisher of Adrian Frutiger books), about 'forgotten typefaces': alphabets which have been drawn, possibly cast and used 500, 100 or 30 years ago but, for numerous reasons, didn't make it (yet) to the digital age and are not available on any computer.

The increasing rarity or lack of documentation about these might bring them to complete extinction, so I thought it would be a great idea to document these letters and their authors, and to provide good quality, high resolution prints of them for the courageous designers who would have the good idea to digitize them, or simply for the pleasure to see these letters again and again.

I already have quite a big amount of documentation, but I am very much looking for help: if you have any document (visual and/or text) about a 'forgotten typeface', I'd be very happy to consider it. Be sure that any help will be thoroughly aknowledged in the book.

Thank you in advance,
dr

ps: In the framework of this project, I am looking for some high resolution scans from the "book of oz" which I (unfortunetaly) still don't own. If some good (and lucky) soul wants to help...

bojev's picture

David, let me know what you require from the "Book of OZ" and scan requirements and I will be glad to help

Diner's picture

Hi David,

I have been working for the last three years on a Filmotype book of which a manuscript is undergoing further editing but I have many photos and historical information about this company as well as Lettering Inc, another photo type company originally from the 1920s. . . Very few of the photo lettering companies libraries made it into the digital age which is what inspired my initial historical preservation efforts to revive them . . .

Mark Simonson would also be good for you to approach since he has worked with and revived faces of many extinct foundries including Phil Martin's original offshoot creations . . .

Stuart :D

David Rault's picture

Hello again, thanks for the quick input,

Bojev: I have had the book of oz only once in my hands, and I remember that there is inside some pages with alphabets from oz cooper, apart from the famous ones I think some of them never made it to digital: these are the ones I'm interested in. Any scan would be great, but if there is a lot, maybe you can at least take some quick snapshots with a digital camera in low res and send me... then if I need some of them in high res, i can tell you which ones. Anyway, thanks in advance.

Diner: I would be happy to see your material regarding Filmotype and Lettering Inc, though if there is already a book in the making, I dont want to make the same work... And about Mark Simonson, I would be glad to get in touch with him, but again I am interested in typefaces which have not yet been revived.

Thanks again, keep posting,

dr

bojev's picture

Types shown in Book of OZ are: Cooper OldStyle, Italic, Hilite, Black, Black Condensed, Black Italic, Modern, Christmas Ornaments and Clover Bands. Some had alternate names like Modern was also know as Fullface.

cerulean's picture

I've got a slightly battered 1988 VGC type catalog (490 pages) that is full of forgotten treasures: Antikva Margaret. Baker Sans. Hibernia. Folkwang. Ryter. Rustikalis. WTC 145. A load of unnecessary geometric families, like Bubble, Magnifty, Moon, and Stan. Decorated fonts from the quaint Algonquin Shaded to the impossibly irreproducible Maya Relief. More than I can list, really.

I can scan a few things you're particularly interested in, or I might be willing to lend or sell the book if there's a whole lot you want to see.

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

I have been campaigning for Antikva Margaret to be digitized for years!!!

Nick Shinn's picture

A "swipe" book, eh?

The Cooper sans design featured in the Book of Oz has been digitized a couple of times, but IMO both redesigners took too many liberties with Cooper's original. So it could fairly be said that this design of his has never yet "made it into digital".

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Sem Hartz’s Juliana comes to mind. Used to be a popular bookface (esp. in GB — it never was released in a compatible format in the Netherlands afaik) & is currently completely off the radar. Not digitized…

http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/lommen-mathieu-sem-hartz-and-the-making-...

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

[Edit: Apparantly FontBureau has made a digital version…, but still it’s obscure enough for your purpose, I think.)

bojev's picture

The Cooper Sans mentioned by Nick is shown as a specimen plate the Book of OZ but not as a refined or issued typeface - more an example of hand lettering IMO.

Mark Simonson's picture

You might consider including display cuts of more common typefaces, many of which have never been digitized. The typical faces offered by the big foundries, such as Linotype and Monotype, are based on the text sizes, since that's what their pre-digital equipment was made to set. Before the digital era, most hand-set cold type (Typositor, rub-down sheets, etc.) for display sizes was based on large sizes of foundry metal type. There are significant differences between the text cuts and display cuts of metal faces, and we've lost a big part of typographic legacy in the one-size-fits-all digital era.

piccic's picture

How about original versions of Futura and Gill Sans?
Although Futura has some good digital versions, I recall I have a Gill Sans specimen from Monotype which showed all the variants, and they were wonderful.
Something like what Mark did with Metallophile for Spartan would be great for Gill Sans, but I guess in many ways it should be Monotype duty…

Among typefaces I admire there's Behrens Antiqua (1902). The only existing digital version is from Dan X. Solo; I bought it, and while it's fairly good, it loses almost all the feeling of the original, which of course changed considerably from weight to weight.

and we’ve lost a big part of typographic legacy in the one-size-fits-all digital era.
I subscribe 100%, Mark… :=)

kentlew's picture

If you're going to look at Cooper's work, then you should also consider the lesser known designs by his contemporaries Goudy and Dwiggins. There are probably dozens of Goudy faces that are undigitized. After all, he claimed to have designed more than 100 typefaces, some of which didn't even make it into much metal distribution (including many which may not warrant revival). Jim Rimmer would probably be an excellent resource for information about Goudy's oeuvre.

Works by Dwiggins (my area of some expertise) that might fit your criteria would include:

Charter (although Sibylle Hagman's Odile is a nice homage)
Hingham (Christian Schwartz had started something loosely based this newsface experiment; I don't recall how loose.)
Arcadia
Stuyvesant (I've been working on an interpretation/homage off and on)
Falcon
Tippecanoe
Experimental 276D

Of these, Falcon is the only one that was ever commercially produced (posthumously). Charter, Arcadia, Stuyvesant, and Tippecanoe made it into at least one commercial publication, but were not produced. Experimental 267D made it into one rare piece of ephemera that I know of. Not all of these necessarily warrant revival either. And I'm not considering other experiments that didn't reach a certain level of fruition.

I have a fair amount of documentation on many of the above list. If you're interested in pursuing any of these for your book, let me know. Your brief is pretty wide open, so I'm not entirely sure what you're looking for. I'm not so interested in contributing to a swipe book, but historical documentation is right up my alley.

-- K.

Nick Shinn's picture

My favorite unavailable type of Goudy is Companion, done in the late 1920s for Woman's Home Companion magazine. I took some ideas from the italic for Oneleigh italic.

It's in his Goudy's Type Design, so what's the point of putting Goudy faces in a new swipe book?--unless you are going to show them in real use. If you're interested in some scans of Companion from Woman's Home Companion, let me know.

jshen's picture

The Thermo Series of Morris Fuller Benton

typerror's picture

Kevin

Baker Sans is taken!

Michael

William Berkson's picture

I'm unclear as to the status of some of Van Krimpen's beautiful types. Romulus has been revived digitally and impressively by Dutch Type Library, and they even show three optical sizes. But it isn't for sale on the DTL site, so I don't know if it's finished. Also there is I believe a companion sans that's not been revived. Also the beautiful companion flourished italic face Cancellaresca Bastarda has never been digitized. Romanée is something that IIRC Bringhurst says was digitized by TEFF, but I don't see it on their site.

David Rault's picture

Hello everyone,

Oh my, that's a lot of answers - thanks, first. I will answer precisely to everyone today but it will take a little time. Right now, I just wanted to let you know that my book will not be a swipe: I am working closely with my publisher, Yves Perrousseaux, a well-known typophile, holding conferences in Lure every summer since 1969, close friend to Adrian Frutiger (as mentionned above, he published 4 of his books in France), currently writing the second volume to his monumental typography encyclopedia (volume one being translated in english right now). My own first book contains contributions by Erik Spiekermann, Ale Paul, Bas Jacobs and Xavier Dupre and was approved by Zuzana Licko and Peter Bil'ak; I am not preparing something else than a fully documented homage to some typefaces with hopefully great visuals and interesting texts. So, don't worry.

dr

David Rault's picture

Bojev: Ok I guess I was mistaken then, it looks like all of Oz Cooper typefaces have been revived... Thanks anyway.

dr

David Rault's picture

Cerulean: Antikva Margaret is a beautiful type indeed, I will surely include it in the book. I have no idea about the other types; you may send me an email and we can discuss this lending - selling option of yours - davidrault(a)gmail.com.

dr

David Rault's picture

Bert: well if David Berlow did it already... Is it a good idea to put it in the book?

This subject is interesting indeed because I thought to include the Caslon 2 line Egyptian, though it has been digitized many times and never released. I am still unsure about this issue. Any thoughts welcome.

dr

David Rault's picture

Mark: it is a very good idea. I am already in search of such typefaces where the differences are important enough to call it a "different" type, found some but not all I'm afraid. Do you have any specific examples in mind?

dr

David Rault's picture

Piccic: I thought about that, but in all honesty, the original Futura is already available in many books, not to mention the web... I will though investigate the Gill Sans alternates (I think I saw some at the St Bride library).

Kent: I am planning to put some Dwiggins typefaces, I already have some material, but I would be glad if you have time to take some snapshots of the mentioned typefaces. From there, I will probably need some of your documentation, it surely fills some gaps I have in mine. Regarding Goudy's, I'm not sure how many of his undigitized works deserve to be in the book?

Nick: You're right, if it is easily available in a book that will be in the sources list, there's no point to mention it again in mine, that was always a "rule" I had in mind. Again, my book is not a "swipe" book, please write it down somewhere.

JShen: I can't get a hold on the Thermo series, do you have a visual?

William: I am investigating the fonts by Van Krimpen, and decide what to do. Thanks for the heads-up.

Again thanks all.
dr

Nick Shinn's picture

my book is not a “swipe” book

"...to provide good quality, high resolution prints of them for the courageous designers who would have the good idea to digitize them..."

What's courageous about swiping someone else's design?

kentlew's picture

> I would be glad if you have time to take some snapshots of the mentioned typefaces. From there, I will probably need some of your documentation, it surely fills some gaps I have in mine.

David -- It would be more efficient for me to address any specific needs or desires you have, rather than a scatter shot of my library and research materials. If you tell me which you're including and wish to have more/better images or information about, I can tell you what I have. In addition to samples, I have some correspondence and documentation on most of what I listed.

-- Kent.

David Rault's picture

Nick: it takes time and courage for a designer to spend a huge amount of time digitizing another artist's design in order to revive it, to dedicate one's skills to the art of someone else so that the typographic creation and the creator himself doesn't fall into oblivion. I will not put Dwiggins designs in the book and say "this is my design". I will say "This is William Dwiggins design" and I will explain as much as possible about it. And hopefully if a designer uses my book to revive one of these typefaces, he will do so with respect, as many designers did (some of them contributing to this very forum), never forgetting to mention the original creator. I don't see any "swiping", stealing, or disrespect in my project, but feel free to do so.

dr

David Rault's picture

Kent: all I wanted to say is it's gonna be hard for me to tell you which ones I'm interested bout because I don't know them, this is why I was wondering if you could take a quick shot so that I can see what they look like, but I understand you won't have the time to do so; let me get the visuals of these types in some way, and I will come back to you with specific requests (it might take some time).

From now on though, I think I will not be interested in Falcon, but I would love to have smt info and visuals about Arcadia and also about these 2 examples you produced in a previous discussion (http://typophile.com/node/41687), experimental 223 and this newspaper type...

thanks a lot,
dr

William Berkson's picture

I don't know if this is mentioned above, but the "Robusto" bit of Oz Cooper lettering referred to inspired three different typefaces: Miandara, Robusto and Fritz. I like the last one best, but they are all good and interesting as different looking revivals of the same bit of lettering.

Nick Shinn's picture

I don’t see any “swiping”, stealing, or disrespect in my project, but feel free to do so.

David, I'm using the term "swipe" in a light-hearted manner, as per my local design book store:
www.swipe.com

You're not swiping, but are creating a book that other designers can "get inspiration" from.
Really, any design book with a lot of pictures falls into that category, but those with images that invite scanning, particularly so.

it takes time and courage for a designer to spend a huge amount of time digitizing another artist’s design in order to revive it, to dedicate one’s skills to the art of someone else so that the typographic creation and the creator himself doesn’t fall into oblivion.

Bullshit. Sure, it takes time and effort to do a good job of digitizing an old face, but you're pouring it on a bit thick with the rescuing from oblivion malarkey. By providing high resolution images, you will be making it easy for hacks to do a quick and dirty job autotracing from second-hand material. Where's the nobility in that?

Here's an idea: perhaps it is actually more daring to design a typeface of one's own.

Nick Shinn's picture

BTW, I'm sure your book will be fascinating and beautiful.
I really enjoyed David Pankow's talk on Herman Ihlenburg at this year's TypeCon, lots of obscure exotica documented, so I would expect your project to be equally delightful.

kentlew's picture

Oh, sorry David. I didn't realize that you weren't familiar. Bad assumptions. You're right, you can't express interest if you don't know what I'm referring to. I don't think I read "snapshot" clearly. Sorry if I came off too brusque. I'll put together some things to post later.

BTW, the most readily accessible compendium of WAD's types is the second volume of Postscripts on Dwiggins published by the Typophiles (the original group, not this here forum). It includes showings and information on all that I cited (except Experimental 267D, which is probably the most obscure of his "completed" experiments). Don't know how easy it would be for you to find a copy where you are.

I'll get some images up later.

BTW, the Exp 223 (from that other thread) is the same thing as Hingham (listed above). The other sample I posted in that other thread was just a drawing; no developed typeface ever came of it, so there's nothing to document in your book. (At least, I don't think you want to open the Pandora's box of experimental drawings and ideas for type that never became type.)

-- Kent.

Mark Simonson's picture

Mark: it is a very good idea. I am already in search of such typefaces where the differences are important enough to call it a “different” type, found some but not all I’m afraid. Do you have any specific examples in mind?

Here's one example. The top face is a sample of 72 pt. Bodoni foundry type (ATF) and the bottom face is the Linotype PostScript version scaled to match the size:

As you can see, the display cut (top) is more elegant and refined. Generally speaking, display cuts are less bold, narrower, spaced tighter, and have finer details. In some cases, the x-height will be lower as well.

kentlew's picture

Mark --

The foundry specimen books abound in examples like this. You can take just about any ATF face that's been digitized and make the same case regarding the limitations of today's one-size incarnations. ATF Garamond (Linotype Garamond No. 3) comes immediately to mind.

You could also take your particular example further back to Bodoni's Manuale Tipografico and find several more cases. I guess the question is Where does David want to draw the line?

-- K.

kentlew's picture

Okay, here are visual references for the Dwiggins types I mentioned above. These images are not to any particular scale.
 


^ Charter, from an unpublished trial setup using the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving Proclamation as text.
 


^ Hingham, from Postscripts on Dwiggins, Vol. Two, edited by Paul A. Bennett (New York: The Typophiles, 1960).
 


^ Arcadia, from Some Random Recollections, by Alfred A. Knopf (New York: The Typophiles, 1949).
 


^ Stuyvesant, from The Shirley Letters, from the California Mines, 1851–1852 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1949).
 


^ Falcon, from Postscripts.
 


^ Tippecanoe, from Postscripts.
 


^ Experimental 267D, from an unpublished setup proof.
 

Mark Simonson's picture

You could also take your particular example further back to Bodoni’s Manuale Tipografico and find several more cases.

I don't think of historical faces as having been "forgotten" in the same way that certain faces that were taken for granted twenty or so years ago have just disappeared from the palette.

kentlew's picture

Okay. Yes, I see your point.

typerror's picture

Anybody notice the typo in the Charter eg : ) It is the old proof reader in me.

Michael

Nick Shinn's picture

Yes, that jumped right out at me!
(threatned)

afonseca1974's picture

kentlew

Can you post a HiRes of the Charter image? Its really nice and I would love to see it bettter detail...

David R

Not sure if this will help but some good info about William Addison Dwiggins experimental typefaces can be found here.

António

victor ivanov's picture

wow! Charter has such a weird ampersand, love it!
And falcon looks really interesting, would love to see it in print.

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

I think Sibylle Hagmann has done a fabulous interpretation of that Charter shown above.

She called it “Upright Italic” in her Odile package. Very usable too.

http://kontour.com/odile.htm

kentlew's picture

Sibylle wrote an in-depth article about Dwiggins, Charter, and Odile for Typographische Monatsblätter (Jan 2007, I believe). It includes many nice images.

I suppose the existence of Sibylle's Odile basically removes Charter from the "forgotten" category.

António, here's a closer look at the Charter alphabet. Sorry, not enough bandwidth here on my mountain for hi-res.


But it's not my intention to turn this into yet another Dwiggins thread. So that's it. ;-)

David Rault's picture

Mark & Kent: yes, these are fine examples, and I'm sure there are countless ones in this area. Now, regarding where I want to draw the line... I am still in the early stage of preparing the book, so for now, I don't know, honestly. I'm keeping an open mind. I'm going to gather as much info as I can, see where it's taking me, and after a month or so I will sit down and talk with my publisher and decide where is the boundary of the book.

Kent: from what I saw here and there, I think for now I will focus on Arcadia and Tippecanoe from WAD. Charter is wonderful, but Odille actually fills the gap.

Antonio: Thanks for the heads-up.

dr

piccic's picture

Piccic: I thought about that, but in all honesty, the original Futura is already available in many books, not to mention the web... I will though investigate the Gill Sans alternates (I think I saw some at the St Bride library).
Yes, David, but I don't think there is a consistent version of Futura conveying its essence.
Personally, I don't like Futura so much, but there is too much that got lost in early digitizations (for Gill, that's infinitely multiplied). It all depends on where the focus of the book will be…

I do not agree with Nick when he says, after David's comment:
it takes time and courage for a designer to spend a huge amount of time digitizing another artist’s design in order to revive it, to dedicate one’s skills to the art of someone else so that the typographic creation and the creator himself doesn’t fall into oblivion.
Bullshit. Sure, it takes time and effort to do a good job of digitizing an old face, but you’re pouring it on a bit thick with the rescuing from oblivion malarkey. By providing high resolution images, you will be making it easy for hacks to do a quick and dirty job autotracing from second-hand material. Where’s the nobility in that?
Here’s an idea: perhaps it is actually more daring to design a typeface of one’s own.

"Bullshit" un corno. It takes a lot of courage to take on one's shoulders the task of *properly* digitize a typeface, in order to get into its timeline spirit, the designer, to catch its essence and rework it for the present.
It may take a lot more courage than designing one's own typeface, since it requires one's own "ego" to be left apart in order to devote themselves to the work of another person.
At least, so it's always been for me. I've never been able to complete any re-production of lead types because it always seemed more attractive to work on original designs.

Surely Nick is right when he says this makes life easier for superficial people hacking existing work, but it all depends on how David will plan and project his book.
Unfortunately such things have always been, but if we keep worrying about this we'll be concentrating merely on potentially negative behaviors, not good ones…

Nick Shinn's picture

I do not agree with Nick

But Claudio, you DID!

I called BS on David because his statement was neither true nor false, merely puffery.
Both you and I have observed that the process of reworking an older face can be anything from a laborious homage to a quickie knock-off.

it requires one’s own “ego” to be left apart

On the contrary, many redesigners don't have enough humility to stop themselves from "improving" upon the original.

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Nick> Didn’t you refer to old material when making Scotch Roman?

Nick Shinn's picture

Yes.
In Scotch Modern I worked from original impressions of metal type, drawing the glyphs by eye, with no scanning or tracing.
I didn't change the design of any of the letters. My intention was to make "facsimile" fonts, although in a different medium (digital-offset, rather than metal letterpress).

From my perspective David's book would be useful if it encouraged redesigners to seek out the raw material which he has drawn their attention to, rather than just scan and autotrace from his reproductions.

piccic's picture

Maybe we agree, it's just your frankness which may be misinterpreted, expressed with your vocabolary it may sound presumptuous. I know the problem very well, suffering from it… :=)
But I don't think David meant the book as a source for "scanning and autotracing". It seems more about important steps under the dust in the course of history, I hope. Although it seems not easy…

I don't like the term "revival" because to me it implies a sort of superfluous addition to an original.
While this may be fine, the example of Odile is fitting. I think Sybille Hagman reworked the original forms of Dwiggins enough to make the whole typeface her own.
For the same reason I think Dwiggins Charter deserves a good digital version. It's radically different from Odile, I would never use them for the same purpose.

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Nick>>>

From my perspective David’s book would be useful if it encouraged redesigners to seek out the raw material which he has drawn their attention to, rather than just scan and autotrace from his reproductions.

Fine. Let’s give him and the people who read the book the benefit of the doubt. I would like to think genuine artists out number hacks/swipes considerably. Hopefully this book won’t get placed in the Dover section of your Swipe bookstore ;-)

BTW... you’ve done a nice job with Scotch Roman. Sax covers similar material, but it does not have your nice italics.
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/urw/sax/

Mikey :-)

sal_randazzo's picture

Hello,

How about showing Haas Unica type family?
It is unavailable commercially but is one of my favorite san serifs.

Regards,

Sal

Syndicate content Syndicate content