Anti-Ink-Traps

I'm looking for examples of what I'm inelegantly calling "anti-ink-traps" — design features that would function the way an ink trap would, but for type that's meant to be reversed out of a dark background (or displayed using light rather than ink, perhaps).

In other words, where an ink trap cuts into a potentially problematic join, an anti-ink-trap would have a little extra there, in the form of a curve or bevel.

Does that make sense? Any examples you can think of?
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Comments

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 994
    edited October 2
    I use them mostly on diagonal joins as in "V, W, N" on acute angles.  The difficulty is that we need to accommodate different substrates as well as digital output. The most severe examples were used on absorbent paper at small sizes like the old phone books. Look at Matthew Carters Bell Centennial face for good examples.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 994
    Phototype required very clean optics and fresh chemicals in processing to maximize sharpness of output.  Digital has different issues with rounding errors at certain sizes when hinting is not quite right.
  • FYI, I call them thorns (as do a few other people).
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 389
    edited October 2
    We even added them on some display faces too, because display machines didn't usually have the highest quality optical systems. Numerous examples can be found in old specimen books. I think we referred to them as spurs.
  • Chris, Bell Centennial just has straight-up ink traps, right? I'm talking about the exact opposite — Imagine the adjustments necessary if you had to print a phone book as a negative.

    I love the term "thorns" for what's happening on the corners of this Unica example... Interestingly, though, it also uses classic ink traps in the joins!
  • FS Millbank has positive and negative versions:
  • Here’s another example from Schaedler Newsletter, Maybe May, 1974.


  • Ah, tits...
  • ClearviewHwy has Positive and Negative Contrast versions as well. Millbank has its terminology backwards, at least as it relates to signage and Human Factors Research. Light Letters on Dark backgrounds are referred to Positive Contrast, Dark letters on light backgrounds are referred to as Negative Contrast. It took me awhile for that to sink in when I was first exposed to it. 
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 994
    edited October 2
    Bell Centennial just has straight-up ink traps, right?

    Yes.  I didn't see the word "anti" in your post, sorry, senior moment.
  • The problem with calling these things “thorns” is that thorn is also the name of the Icelandic character: Þ , þ.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,193
    edited October 2
    I produced Brown (left) and Worldwide (centre) initially for newsprint, optically scaled.
    The minting sharpens up body type, and provides visual interest at display size.
    The third style is Beaufort, a glyphic effect which doesn’t require optical scaling, as the sharp serifs are close to asymptotic.

    For some reason, rounding obtuse angled inside corners seemed more appropriate than negative thorns, perhaps because they don’t “decay” during process, and it expands the joint in a manner that balances the outside minting, which looks good when the font is closely inspected, rather than the typeset image.
  • Max PhillipsMax Phillips Posts: 439
    Back in the phototype days, I always heard them called resolution points.
  • Austin, it sounds like you're expecting light traps to be in the same position as ink traps, but that wouldn't be the case. In most cases you'd want the acute crotch of a V to be exaggerated for clarity, whether it's light on dark or dark on light. 
    Of course there are letters with more rounded interior corners. For example, letters by lazy wood-type creators who convince themselves that the artifacts of a router are an aesthetic decision rather than something that requires additional handwork to fix! But those aren't optical correctives like ink traps are.
  • Austin, it sounds like you're expecting light traps to be in the same position as ink traps, but that wouldn't be the case. In most cases you'd want the acute crotch of a V to be exaggerated for clarity, whether it's light on dark or dark on light. 

    I guess I was just thinking that if it's specifically meant to be reversed out in white on dark ink (rather than a fabricated or backlit sign, etc), then you might prefer to have an intentionally blunt interior corner than a sharp one that spreads out into a blob.

    This might not actually be a thing!
  • For example, letters by lazy wood-type creators who convince themselves that the artifacts of a router are an aesthetic decision
    Sounds like a lot of contemporary foundries...
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 140
    It's also interesting to note that a technique analogous to ink traps, called Optical Proximity Correction, has long been used in integrated circuit fabrication to compensate for the fact that features on chips were no longer many times larger than the wavelength of the light used to print them. (Now, they're smaller, and so additional techniques, such as multiple patterning, are also required.)
  • Nice piece. I've long been a fan of Selene (originally called Armstrong, both names a reference to the lunar landing). BTW did Delia come before De Macchi's similar work?
  • Yes, Delia—originally called Pubblicità—was used between 1969 and 1979 on the Italian phone books and yellow pages. It was succeeded by Galfra, by Ladislas Mandel, which was succeeded by Nomina by Piero De Macchi. In the catalogue and exhibit we also talk about Delia, Galfra and Selene (formerly Armstrong.) 
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 932
    edited October 31
    Out of curiosity: the three of you who did a "Vote Down" on my second post, did you actually read the text in the image @Stephen Coles posted?
  • Expand on Connor comment, according to Adrian Frutiger - Typefaces The Complete Works by Heidrun Osterer. Points stuck-on were known as ‘daggers’ to ‘prevent corners of their photosetting fonts being rounded off during exposure.’  

    Screen shoot from the book https://issuu.com/birkhauser.ch/docs/adrian-frutiger-typefaces/24



  • Might be a good example based on ink-traps is Musee Picasso Paris. Whats nice is the characters that feature oval have this theme of hexagon. 


     
  • More style than function, no? The oldest such instance I know of (thanks to JFP) being FF Bradlo.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 932
    edited November 18
    Out of curiosity: the three of you who did a "Vote Down" on my second post, did you actually read the text in the image @Stephen Coles posted?
    Make that four.

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 676
    edited November 19
    A teacher says, "In many early soccer matches, balls weren't even used." Student comments, "Ah. Balls." Detention. Malcolm and Stephen used the word in context. The purpose of your post was to draw attention to a funny word.

    I was* the smart-ass kid who would have said, "Ah. Balls." and got plenty of detentions for it but it's not everyone's cup of tea.

    * still am
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 932
    edited November 19
    @Ray Larabie Being a class clown is not remotely my thing. The thread is about naming that letterform feature, and I repeated the term from Stephen's text with that purpose. I was of course having fun with its carnal nature, but would have brought to attention any new term for that feature, because I value discovering and spreading terms. As I value exposing reactionary, vindictive behavior.
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