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Dan Reynolds


Dan Reynolds
Last Active
Member, Type Person
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Admin James Puckett
  • Re: Does that “y” exist?

    Indeed, I have read both! However, most German type designers in the foundry type era did not have to worry about these things. So the comments I am aware of come from non-German designers.

    The number of German type designers who designed for Linotype was (basically…) limited to those who designed for D. Stempel AG. Intertype adapted several German designs for their machines, but as far as I know, the designers of those typefaces did not work on the adaptations themselves; I have not double-checked this, though. The number of German type designers who worked with Monotype in the U.K. during the foundry type era was also relatively small, at least in comparison with the number of German type designers who worked with German type foundries. What I am getting at is that I have not uncovered so many complaints in that direction. I suspect that the young Hermann Zapf may well be on the record for comments like you suggest, however.

    As I mentioned in my Kerning talk, I have not run acrosss German type designer criticism of the standard baseline, which is something I would be more expectant to find than German designer criticism of typesetting machines’ design requirements. Thanks to Jan Middendorp, I know that there were Dutch type designers who DID complain about the German standard baseline, although not as much as Van Krimpen complained about Monotype’s 18-unit system (is it possible for anyone to complain about anything as much as he went on about that?).
  • Re: Does that “y” exist?

    Maxim Zhukov said:
    I suspect, the reason of German designers’ experimenting with the form of the l.c. g was their desire to hybridize two conventional varieties of the g—monocular (in Fraktur) and binocular (in Antiqua).
    German typefoundries agreed to introduce a standard baseline (die Deutsche Normal-Schriftline) in 1905. This was based on the standard baseline instituted by the Genzsch & Heyse typefoundry in Hamburg in 1903. Genzsch & Heyse, in turn, had borrowed the idea from the Inland Type Foundry in the US, where Emil Julius Genzsch’s son had briefly worked in the 1890s during something like a Wanderjahre.

    When the German typefoundries collectively agreed to a standard baseline, they instituted changes to Genzsch & Heyse’s proposal. From a design point-of-view, these changes look bad today. German printers wanted blackletter and roman type to share a common baseline, even though blackletter types had traditionally had much lower baselines on the body of a piece of type, due to its usually-short descenders.

    The German standard baseline does not fall at the same uniform, fixed proportional position for all sizes of type, they way it would in a scalable digital font. Certain sizes of type got very, very short descenders, which really only work for blackletter typefaces. Other point sizes have quite generous descender space allotted to them. This was not done for optical considerations, such as “small-sized text should have short descenders” (as in Monotype hot-metal Plantin, or many newspaper typefaces). Instead, the baseline was repositioned at each side in a way that would allow multiple type sizes to be combined on a single line, with the help of standardized spacing material being placed above and below the smaller type (allowing for e.g., the easy combination of 8 pt and 12 pt type on the same line).

    This is important because the message eventually filtered down to the type designers (who did NOT prepare size-specific variants of letters in their drawings). The result of the short-descenders-in-certain-random-type-sizes was that German type designers (in my opinion) opted for simpler forms of the g in roman and sans serif type designs. 

    I have a bunch of images to back this up; most of them are toward the end of the presentation I gave at Kerning in Faenza last June: 
  • Re: Specific diacritic designs depending on language

  • Re: Preview: Lindau – to become a family

    Absolutely! The collaboration of Czech and East German type designers in the 1950s and 1960s also seems to me like it is a continuation of pre-war practice. Menhart’s first typefaces were published in the early 1930s by the Bauer typefoundry in Frankfurt, who also published many of Schneidler’s typefaces (and Schneidler was Kapr’s teacher, etc.). I think it is a safe bet that Kapr was already familiar with Menhart’s work during his time as a student in Stuttgart. Perhaps Schneidler may have also shown him work designed by Preissig or other Czech designers. 
  • Re: Stephen Fry re-invents printing with movable type

    In many of the histories of printing and typography written by western authors during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was common to include a chapter about prior inventions and concepts that bore similarities to printing as we know it (three such examples that come to mind are Hansard’s Typographia, De Vinne’s Invention of Printing, and Reed’s 
    A History of the Old English Letter Foundries). These chapters usually discussed the printing of seals into clay in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, but also mentioned a letter of Cicero’s, in which his ruminations came very close to describing the system of type-making and printing ascribed to Gutenberg, which of course were only realized a millennium and a half later. Quintilian is also cited, etc.

    These authors’ point, I think, was that the idea of printing with moveable metal type was not inherently novel in-and-of-itself, but that Gutenberg (presumably) was the person in the west to successfully put the theory into practice.