Is the term ‘foundry’ a proper name for digital companies?

I know the historical reasons for calling type foundries that way even in the digital era, but is there another term we could use instead? When you try to explain what you do, it is hard for some people to understand it. If you mention a word like ‘foundry’ it gets even more confusing for them. Would it help to use a new term more up-to-date?
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Comments

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 598
    It's so corny, isn't it? I try to use font company if I can. Or at the very least, roll my eyes and say foundry sarcastically. Maybe throw some air quotes while I'm at it.
  • I avoid that term as much as possible. I know sculptors who use real foundries to cast their work, so the thought of attaching it to a digital environment seems so out of place.
  • Since foundation can also well mean something non-physical, I have no problem with foundry.

    fontery – fonters – font makers – ?
  • AbrahamLeeAbrahamLee Posts: 52
    edited March 31
    I wouldn't call it corny at all. I feel sad, rather, when the term is used lightly. There's a historical connotation that I feel helps us remember our roots--where this all came from--and the significant effort, expertise, and high quality that real foundries were known for. For those customers/users who also understand that, it brings an immediate sense of respect for what we do. Could be just me, but that's at least how I feel when I hear someone seriously use the word "foundry". If someone working with you doesn't understand that, then tell them a little history! Knowing what it used to be like* can bring a great appreciation for how we do things now, as long as we are preserving the craft.

    This is also an issue with those of us who create sheet music. Historically, during what we would term the golden age of music publishing, people actually used metal punches and gravers to "engrave" music into a metal plate that would be used to print the music. Real engraving is no longer done, of course, since it is no longer economical. However, when someone seriously calls themselves a "music engraver" today, even though they are just "engraving" music using a computer, it connotes the seriousness in which they see their work, going above and beyond what the computer can do for them, bringing their own expertise to make their work a work of art instead of just a computer generated piece of music. You can tell the difference between someone who creates sheet music and someone who is a modern music engraver. I have great respect for that.

    *For the interested, I thought this demonstration of a working linotype typesetting machine was incredible: https://youtu.be/HEsAXZg-S04
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 939
    I am on my way to the CVS apothecary now.
  • AbrahamLeeAbrahamLee Posts: 52
    I am on my way to the CVS apothecary now.
    I had to look that one up, ha ha!
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 485
    edited March 31
    "Foundry" is just fine. More than fine. What's not at all fine is people calling their foundry something hip but making fonts that look like they're from the age where we still forged metal. Or worse, didn't even yet know how to.
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 361
    ...making fonts that look like they're from the age where we still forged metal.

    Would you care to explain that? It sounds somewhat condescending.

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 485
    edited March 31
    Condescending nostalgia is one of my guilty pleasures.

    (BTW in writing that post I was actually specifically thinking of somebody who opposes the term "foundry" but teaches his students to make fonts that look like they were madE with a tool that's eVen more oBsolete than the burin.)
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,085
    I like it.
    But should I upgrade, in my bio, from mere type designer to type founder—or would that be too goth steampunk?
  • Michel BoyerMichel Boyer Posts: 49
    edited March 31
    The word font itself comes from French fonte from fondre, "to melt" denoting the process of casting or founding (from my Mac dictionary)
  • I think the older meaning is related to "flow". Otherwise we'd die from drinking lead.
  • Michel BoyerMichel Boyer Posts: 49
    edited March 31
    I think the older meaning is related to "flow". Otherwise we'd die from drinking lead.
    Where do you get that from? If so, that would be mentioned in the corresponding NCRTL entry. Of course, in the North, we are hoping in the spring for the "fonte des neiges" that can even cause rivers to overflow, but here again, it is just snow melting.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 485
    edited March 31
    It means spring (as in water) which must have come before the idea of melting something hence making it flow. Although your "melting snow" angle might counter that.

    In any case I'm not suggesting type designers should compete with Culligan.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 939
    edited March 31
    or Coors or Rolling Rock ;-)
  • Michel BoyerMichel Boyer Posts: 49
    edited March 31
    Spring in French is "source" or "printemps". I see no relation with the word "fonte". As for other origins of "font" in English, I just don't know. But there was indeed the latin word fons meaning spring, fountain.

    (This is a modified text; the original was nonsense)
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 485
    edited March 31
    or Coors or Rolling Rock ;-)
    Hey I didn't call myself "The MicroFoundry" for nothing.  :->
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microbrewery
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 939
    Well brewed response, Hrant!
  • Please don’t mix up: font comes from [lat.] fons (wellspring, fountain); foundry comes from [lat.] fundere (to found something, to lay a base or ground for something). Two different things.

  • Michel BoyerMichel Boyer Posts: 49
    edited March 31
    Andreas

    If you look at the the etymology for font as used in typesetting in the link https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/font#English, you get Etymology 2 from middle French with  the "to melt" meaning. But of course, don't mix up with brew.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,085
    So, in the realm of metalworking, foundry and forgery not to be confused.
  • In the realm of metalworking, the French word "fonte" means Cast Iron in English (Gusseisen in German) which is far from anything forged indeed.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 188
    Etymology is not semantics - infantry does not mean "child soldiers".
  • Tell that to ISIS.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 939
    edited March 31
    Meanings evolve, no matter what their origin may be.  Is there not a point where it becomes futile to argue about a word's origin in terms of how it is used in the current vernacular?  Thirty years ago, I used to fret about how poorly the word "Logo" was used. Now, I just go with the flow because only a few of us care--even those, know what the speaker means in saying it.
  • Monokrom uses a compound word in Norwegian, ‹skriftforlag›, meaning font publisher/publishing house.
  • Georg SeifertGeorg Seifert Posts: 438
    That reminds me that I refere to guy who publishes my fonts as my 'Verleger/Verlag' (publisher as used vor books). This is mostly in conversations with none type people but would fit well for type businesses. 
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