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John Savard


John Savard
Last Active
  • Re: Is the term ‘foundry’ a proper name for digital companies?

    This discussion has reminded me of an important difference between the kind of font one would order from ATF or Kelsey and a TrueType font file. If one wanted to typeset an entire book, a single 20-a font wouldn't have enough letters in it to do the job, one would have to buy a bigger one.

    So a .TTF file isn't a finite collection of letters that can be re-used after one finishes with a given document, it's an endless supply of as many letters as you want.

    So maybe we should be calling them TrueType matrix-case files?

    Of course, the precedent was already set in the phototypesetting era; the negatives with letter shapes on them were called fonts... I think, but I could be wrong.

    And, of course, type designers can certainly call their businesses type design studios instead of typefoundries; that term existed in the metal era.
  • Re: "W. A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design"

    Caledonia is a very popular typeface; one very tiny footnote to the career of W. A. Dwiggins that few people know is this: the symbols "dek" and "el", used for a while by the Duodecimal Society of America (now the Dozenal Society of America), and which received sufficient public notice that they appeared in a "new math" textbook I used in junior high, were designed by W. A. Dwiggins.
  • The Invention of the Arabic Typewriter

    Books and web pages frequently include tables of the four different versions of each letter of the Arabic alphabet, initial, final, medial, and isolated. This does not do justice to the Naksh script; although it is not as different from the Latin script in its requirements as Nastaliq, some features of even this script were discarded to allow Western typesetting equipment to be used for Arabic.

    In a discussion some time ago on Typophile, I mentioned that on a typewriter, the four forms of Arabic letters are reduced to two, since the line joining two letters can be associated with the first letter in its entirety. This is because kerning is no problem with a typewriter, and letters can overprint each other, unlike the case with metal type.

    I have now found more information about this. It turns out that the reduction of the letters of the Arabic alphabet to two basic forms for a typewriter was described in U.S. Patent 637,109, issued to Selim Haddad of Cairo, Egypt, then in the Turkish Empire, on November 14, 1899.