There is something rootless about digital culture, so we need a little high touch to offset the high tech, and foundry connects us with our storied past.
So much emphasis on distressed and script types these past 20 years. It didn’t go away when grunge/deconstruction went out of fashion.
Phototype makers wanted to dissociate themselves from “hot” type—for marketing reasons. But they were still heavily invested in tactile culture though; every week as an ad agency art director in the 1970s and 80s I used to get a visit from several type house sales reps, dropping off a job and/or new specimen booklets from ITC, Berthold, Compugraphic, etc. And U&lc, a big, beautiful “newspaper” from ITC, in the mail.
Letraset, of course, was an extremely hands-on medium.
I don’t really keep track of how long particular glyphs take to design and draw, but I do recall that each of these took what seemed like a whole day. The manicule was the result of a lot of research and drawing; while I had great difficulty resolving the components of the superellipse ampersand, which I had also tried in different shapes (e.g. closed loop at the top, and no diagonal), there being three or four developed alternates that were discarded.
Press gain is not so much of an issue with oldstyle or transitional faces. The problem for newspapers was the predominance of didones, and crude printing, but that is history now.
My strategy for the Pratt fonts, for a paper which has both coated and uncoated sections, was not grading, but an oldstyle (with large x-height and short descenders) that has robust micro-detailed serifs and fine tapered joints; that way, large amounts of press gain are accomodated on the glyph as a whole, yet the details prevail when printing is finer.
Historically, Fortune magazine in the 1930s had both coated and rag pages, set in Baskerville. The difference in effect was ridiculous, but so what?