juanacevedo's picture

Ever since a friend showed me what he called a "picómetro" in Spanish, I have been fond of the typescale as a tool particular to the craft of typography, and sure enough over the years I have found it pretty handy for page design and adjustments, even if mostly to compare against the measures in the computer file.

Someone must keep buying typescales, since they seem to be persistently in stock (in art shops in the UK, and I came across one in Dubai not long ago), but I wonder, how useful are they considered by the typophiles? What use are they generally given in these digital times?

And is there a particular typescale that can be recommended or deprecated? So far I am acquainted with:

--Caxton typescale
--Linex DTP 30
--ruler.tex (as found in http://tug.ctan.org/)
--Depth Scale (Technical Sales, London)

Incidentally, this last one (I just got) appears to be seriously wrong in its measures. Anyone who can comment on this?


quadibloc's picture

It is true that type scales are used less these days, because so much of typesetting is done digitally.

Also, laser photocopiers might enlarge by 4% or so as a precaution against counterfeiting. Even if laser printers don't do that, I wouldn't be surprised if computer systems would tend to start with a point size of exactly 1/72 inches, and then round it to the nearest multiple of 1/300 inch for most laser printers, and then the laser printer would actually print in units of 2.5 centimeters divided by 300, not one inch divided by 300.

And if you don't live in an English-speaking country, any type scale you are likely to encounter would be in Didot points.

So I can think of all sorts of things that could go wrong.

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