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Yes you are. Always. You can do it.
That ink-trap thing has been done, with considerable brio, in Amplitude and Grifﬁth Gothic, to name but two.
Also a FF whose name escapes me.
If you go this route, I suggest you make the effect symmetrical, that will simplify and strengthen it, make it more fundamental to the design.
Try some difﬁcult letters (s, g) and diagonals to further test viability.
Thanks Nick. I just wonder if making it symmetrical retards the effect a bit? For example, the fourth 'a,' the 'a' in 'head,' has a matching top and bottom. I am divided on if it is better that the non symmetrical one.
But I am interested in distilling things down to their purest forms as well.
What are good places to put inktraps in a 'S'? I honestly can think of many.
Thanks Typo and Jean Paul and for the encouragement.
sample of C.S.'s lovely 'Amplitude.'
I don't own FF Bradlo, but if anybody out there does, a print here would be nice.
Nick, you probably mean FF Bradlo, the first font to apply traps aesthetically.
Yes, Bradlo, but I doubt it was the first. For instance, I used ink traps to provide visual interest in display weights of Walburn and Worldwide, c.1998.
Bradlo is 1995. I don't know of an earlier one.
Perhaps I was thinking of a later product extension.
Wim Crouwel employed ink traps as stylistic features in his typefaces long before 1995, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were others before him.
I've seen -and admired- the "fodor" thing; how old is it? BTW Couwel makes sense, because he was into technological "compensation".
I'd certainly be interested in learning about older examples... and the oldest example. I love traps! BTW in many cases it's difficult to be sure they were stylistic (some of them could be just unusually/unnecessarily large traps) and to me such cases can't count. In Bradlo, there can be no doubt.
To me, Bell Centennial Bold Listing, though it's inktraps are there for real practical purposes, is by far the earliest font to take the obvious-inktrap approach. Bell Centennial is the grandaddy of these ideas. It's also interesting that Carter drew it out on graph paper, and someone else created the chirography. So I would say the later had a lot more control over the final inktrap lines than Carter. It's just hard to imagine that Carter didn't hand in a somehow rougher version then what was finally published. That's just how designing on graph paper tends to pan out.
You can't count Bell Centennial's traps as stylistic because they in fact disappeared in the end result (which is what they were supposed to do). BTW Carter drew bitmaps because that's what that particular phone book typesetting system used. It was only later that outlines were "wrapped around" the bitmaps.
Once the design became scalable people naturally had fun making the trapping not only obvious, but the only real reason to use the font.
someone else created the chirography
Easy, easy. Wrapping outlines around bitmaps is at least twice removed from chirography. Probably thrice.
Are you saying that the bitmaps Carter drew were directly inputed into the machines that printed the phone books? I would certainly believe that is possible, my knowledge of 40 year old telephone book printers is sorely lacking. However, my understanding is that someone had to translate Carter's graph drawings into 'bezier curve data' for lack of a better term, before it was ever printed. Could be wrong though. I've been wrong thousands of times.
I'm pretty sure the bitmaps (which were converted to byte, or multiple-byte values) were used directly. No bézier support needed/available. But hey, I've been wrong more than you! :-)
As an aside that's how my brother and I made Armenian -and Arabic- fonts for our Commodore64 in the early 80s. But our bitmaps were limited to 8×8 grids (and you had to leave the bottom row blank).
Nick (S.) do you mean this
or something else?
"You can't count Bell Centennial's traps as stylistic because they in fact disappeared in the end result"
Wouldn't you think the traps in this...
...would disappear if they were printed on 1970's telephone book printing technologies at the point sizes that ..Bold Listing was printed at?
BTW if anybody out there has a 1970's telephone printer that they don't do much with, I'd love a quick print-N-scan.... Jus sayin..
It's essentially a matter of intent.
Are you saying that the bitmaps Carter drew were directly inputed into the machines that printed the phone books?
Well, not the machine that *printed* the phone book, but directly encoded as bitmap data for the machine which was destined to typeset the phone book after the conversion — the Linotron 606. (The printing was done by web offset, of course.)
The Linotron 606 was an early digital typesetter, but this was before the widespread use of bezier curves or scalable outlines for letter-shape description. I believe the 606 data was stored in run-length encoding and output in scan lines, but don’t quote me on that. The Postscript format wouldn’t be made public for another couple decades.
There were actually film friskets cut for the Bell Centennial letters to run early tests on standard VIP phototypesetters. And though Carter probably didn’t cut all the friskets himself, he would still have had a close hand in defining those outlines, as well as the eventual bitmaps.
B.C.B.L.'s traps are incredibly sophisticated, more so than any other practical trap I've seen, not sure we can really discount them because they disappear upon printing.
Anyway, they are **** beautiful ...
BTW, Richard Southall's fabulous "Printer's type in the twentieth century" includes a couple of passages about Bell Centennial. Kent is right about the Linotron 606, and the fact that the data was not binary bitmap data but raster line start/stop instructions. The only twist is that those raster lines were actually vertical; that might have actually been for reasons of economy, since [Latin] letterforms have more/thicker vertical stems than horizontal bars - you end up needing fewer start/stop instructions.
Southall also mentions a 1982 monograph by the Cooper Union titled "Matthew Carter: Bell Centennial".
Margaret Re's "The Art of Matthew Carter", and her recent Baseline magazine articles probably shed more light on this.
Ryan once again has supersized an xht beyond his ability to design a useful font and you all are talking about ink traps?
What's wrong with supersizing xht's?
Fonts with extreme x-heights require more experience to get right (probably David's point) plus they're less versatile.
That said, people will talk about what they want. That's not a bug, that's a feature.
Heavy weight is far harder to design than big x-height.
I usually start with a bold weight. Its my favorite weight anyway, and also everything is pretty much as exaggerated as it's gonna get (unless there is a bolder weight in the family, like Ultra or something,) so for me it's easier to dial in the details, because they are more obvious.
HP "...with extreme x-heights require more experience to get right..."
I'd tend to agree with you there though maybe it's only tangential to my point.
What I meant was, until the smallest native spaces are determined, where native means those that are there before any ink has gotten trapped, what's the point of designing ink traps. Show me the "f","i" and "g""!
NS "Heavy weight is far harder to design than big x-height."
Really? I run out of y white space long before I run out of black x space.... every time. It's the em I think.
The parameters are interrelated.
I made the statement on the assumption that the comparison is between:
1. Normal x-height, heavy weight
2. Normal weight, large x-height
The issue I ﬁnd with heavy weights is that it’s not just a question of squeezing things in, with limited options, but there is considerable leeway in the width of characters such as /c and /w.