I was looking through my Letraset and Mecanorma catalogs and wondering what the process was like for font submissions 40-50 years ago. Many of the new additions in each catalog were from established designers and non-exclusive, but some designs were submitted by young "indie" designers and perhaps students. Does anyone know what the process was like? Were designers involved in producing the final layout for the dry transfer sheets? Did each designer set sidebearings in order to set the spacing guides (dashes under the characters) that were included on the sheets?
@Mark Simonson, please tell us more!
“I Love Normatype”
It must be set once in capitals, and once in lower case (providing, of course, that the design is available in upper and lower case). The height of the capital letters should be 20mm or ¾ of an inch. The letters should be in black on a white background and may be photographic prints or photostats mounted on illustration board.
If a type design is selected by Mecanorma, S.A. the designer must, within 30 days after notification of such selection, submit finished artwork of the complete alphabet (upper and lower case, numbers, punctuation marks, etc.). The height of the letters on the finished artwork must be 50mm (2 inches). The completed alphabet will not be accepted if it does not correspond to the lettering style originally submitted. In this case all material will be returned to the designer.
Every time I picked up my Mecanorma catalog and saw this page, I wondered how the submission process worked.
I only had direct experience with submitting a face to ITC in the late seventies. Basically, you had to show drawings of what it looked like and a sample character showing a finished drawing. I did this and mailed my submission to ITC. After a few weeks, I got a letter confirming that it was received. About six months later, the submission was returned with an encouraging rejection letter. No idea what the process was if it was accepted.
I'm literally about to walk out the door to leave for a trip, but I can post some images later if anyone is interested.
I was working as an ad agency art director at the time, and my submissions were somewhat unfinished (“rough comps”), which is why, I presume, they weren’t accepted. Or else they were crap.
I had one typeface go into production at Typsettra in Toronto. They made it available for typositor and Diatronic (text setting), then ceased business when Les Usherwood died.
I had another typeface accepted at Headliners International, for phototypositor.
For both, my artwork indicated, as requested, only the baseline—no sidebearings or any other metric information.
Here’s what Typsettra wanted, pen and ink (and white-out paint): 4" tall.
@Nick Shinn Shinn Bold? Can we see more? I love the reverse light traps on the corners. Was this basically what Shinn Bold ended up as in the digital version or was the phototype version significantly different?
I remember seeing Lee Usherwood's Alexon when I was a kid but not knowing what it was. I just thought of it as "the Canadian font" because I saw it on so many Canadian things.
I made rub-down letters to set some sample text (a very presumptuous and immodest cover letter):
This is the original mechanical. I sent a photostat of this:
Here's the sample drawing (at 4" cap height) and marker sketch on the left:
The sample settings (the rub-down letters) were all reduced from marker sketches.
I was not surprised it was rejected on hindsight. I had no idea how little I knew about type design, although I began to understand when I set the cover letter and realized how problematic those gigantic serifs were for spacing, plus the uneven proportions.