A Caslon to call home?

Palatine's picture

I'm not sure what to make of the Caslons I've seen so far. Carol Twombly's Caslon Pro (Adobe) looks good and is versatile, but it doesn't really sing on the page like Augereau would (as Garamonds go), or perhaps FF Scala or Eureka, if we're talking slab serifs.

Perhaps my inexperience has gotten the better of me and I can't appreciate Caslon for what it is. I don't mind spending money on something nice, lord knows I've already spent a small fortune on fonts, but I like beautiful things that are made by dedicated designers. I'm looking for a Caslon that is thick, robust, has a full set of ligatures and obviously, osf/sc faces.

Stephen Coles's picture

I don't think any Caslon will sing. It's meant to be a humble workhorse. I assume, then, you're looking for a sturdy but exciting serif with roots in the 1700s? What do you think of MVB Verdigris?

William Berkson's picture

Come to TypeCon and I think you'll see a new Caslon that will surprise and delight.

Palatine's picture

Verdigris is nice, yes, I've been thinking about adding it to my collection one of these days. Looks like a Sabon, basically. I was asking about Caslon specifically, though. And it does seem that I need to appreciate the fact that it is indeed a "humble workhorse."

Palatine's picture

William, not sure if my work schedule will allow that. But as I become more interested in type and type-related design, I might involve myself in events like that. Being a spectator (and user) suits me just fine, but I'm playing with the idea of designing some day, although I have no formal training in the craft. Perhaps my eye for the aesthetic might serve me well in that regard. The last thng I want, however, is to insult the craft by being a dilletante among masters who have had actual training. The master-apprentice relationship might be dying, but I'd like to think it still thrives in some areas. Hopefully it still does in the realm of typeface design.

William Berkson's picture

Palatine, TypeCon is definitely not only for master type designers. Most people there are graphic designers who love type, not type designers. And most events will be of great interest to graphic designers, judging by last year.

As to the master-apprentice question, if I remember rightly, I heard Matthew Carter say that all type designers have been largely self-taught, from the 15th century till now. This may be changing with the programs at Reading and KABK, though my impression is that these are a way for people to develop themselves who have already educated themselves quite a bit in type design, or the related subjects they are studying.

In any case I would highly recommend TypeCon to you, given what you say is the state of your interest.You will meet and be able to talk with some of the best designers in the world there, and start to see if it is for you or not. I was delighted to find last year how accessible and helpful people were. Also the workshops will help you to start on the technical side, if you want.

bokkah's picture

do you want to know our opinion on the better of the variable Caslon types available or the qualities of this well know roman?

Palatine's picture

Joseph:

Yes to both. Thank you.

Giampa's picture

Caslon is Caslon only when it is "Caslon".

Gerald Giampa

John Nolan's picture

It's not really Caslon's nature to be "thick", or, for that matter, overtly beautiful, but:

Adobe's Caslon works very well when paired with CC's Big Caslon. (The roman is available with Mac OS X, or from various vendors, while the italic is available from Carter and Cone themselves, but their swash is still not released.)

LTC Caslon is a very nice authentic cut with all the bells and whistles, although I, for one, still dream of the display cut first promised many years ago in Gerald's "The Fount", Vol. 1, No. 1. Any news, Gerald or Paul?

And you shouldn't dismiss Founder’s Caslon. At first glance it might seem like an antiquarian curiosity, but used at the recommended sizes it's really a marvellous collection, and very useable.

pattyfab's picture

I happen to like Adobe Caslon in part because it fixes what was imho the biggest problem with previous Caslons: the way-too-tight italics. I like the completeness of it too - native small caps, expert collex, swash, ornaments. It's a very versatile, readable, and useful set. But... it is a Caslon after all and therefore more of a workhorse than a star.

Palatine's picture

Quite a learning experience, thank you all! Yes, maybe I need to take a different perspective on Caslon. And of all the one's I've seen, I'll have to grant that Adobe's is the most complete and useful set. I'll have a look at Founder's Caslon, to be sure, but I'll try a few more experiments with setting Twombly's Caslon. I don't think I've made full use of the set.

I think I've become so accustomed (and unfairly partial to) thick, meaty fonts that are somehow reminiscent of metal, that it's coloured my views of other, equally useful faces that might not otherwise have the kind of sparkle and flourishes I've come to expect.

So, my apologies to Carol Twombly et al! This young apprentice is off to learn all he can about Caslon, and particularly why he should be using Adobe's version, if nothing else.

Miss Tiffany's picture

What William says is true, everyone is going to have to re-think Caslon very, very soon.

Stephen Coles's picture

If you like heavy, try Renard which works beautifully in Smeijers' Counterpunch. Of course, it's not cheap.

John Nolan's picture

William and Tiffany:
Can you give us any hints? I can't get to TypeCon, and I'm a big Caslon fan. Please?

William Berkson's picture

>big Caslon fan

Sorry, wouldn't want to steal the thunder from the presenter :)

paul d hunt's picture

LTC Caslon is a very nice authentic cut ... Any news, Gerald or Paul?

It's not in the immediate works, but for the time being, i would recommend Mathew Carter's Big Caslon to anyone who wants a beautiful display cut.

William Berkson's picture

Interesting, Patty. Of the 'Expert' features, swashes and ornaments, what do you find most useful?

pattyfab's picture

I design primarily cookbooks and art books therefore I use fractions a LOT. I get annoyed when a font only has 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 (FF Scala, for example) without superscript and subscript to build alternate fractions (I need the eighths and thirds too!). I'm also a stickler for ligatures. I also don't tend to use small caps unless they are native to the font (i.e. not from the Quark menu) but with the various types of heads I need for cookbooks they can be very useful. I've used Adobe Caslon (and Garamond) for a lot of cookbooks. Thesis fonts and some of the Fontfont like Meta have good fraction sets too.

The swashes and ornaments less so, but I did use swash characters from Adobe Caslon on my web site http://www.patriciafabricant.com.

Goran Soderstrom's picture

Have you looked at Berthold Caslon Book BQ?

http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/berthold/caslon-book-bq/

I have used it alot a couple of years ago, and I liked it then, I remember.

pattyfab's picture

Doesn't seem like an improvement on Adobe Caslon - lacks the bells and whistles.

John Nolan's picture

Patricia:
Wow! What a beautiful site! The paintings are stunning, and the site design highlights them wonderfully.

BTW, Founder's Caslon has a large range of fractions, including multiples of 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, 1/8, 1/16, and 1/32.

Goran:
Berthold Caslon has pretty good colour, but to my mind it suffers from awkwardly short descenders, which I find jarring unless I stick to using it at rather small sizes.

It also suffers from an overly restrictive EULA.

William Berkson's picture

John, what is the large italic of your company's name on your site? Is it the italic of Big Caslon--which I haven't seen before?

John Nolan's picture

William:
It's a pre-release version of the Big Caslon Swash. I pestered Carter and Cone until they let me use it. You can see it used in Wallpaper magazine.

William Berkson's picture

That Mathew Carter knows what he's doing. Wow.

justinthomaskay's picture

holy mackerel. that big caslon swash is amazing! ill continue to wait here drooling until it is available...

Palatine's picture

C&C Big Caslon looks nice, a fitting addition to Twombly's Caslon Pro.

I find that alot of Berthold's (Lange's) work is solid and sturdy, meant to function as trusted stand-by faces for everyday use. Lange's Garamond lacks some of the sparkle (and certainly the extra goodies) of say, Garamond Premiere Pro, but it's still a comfortable Garamond.

Stephen Coles's picture

Offtopic to Patty: I feel your fraction pain. It's not much consolation, but the OT version of FF Nexus (Martin Majoor's Scala followup) has numerators and denominators.

pattyfab's picture

John - thanks! It's a whopping pain to update since I set nearly all the type as graphics - I'm too much of a control freak to use html. Learned my lesson.

Stephen - yeah, Nexus does seem more complete but since I already have Scala and Seria it would be kinda redundant. As I've said before (more redundancy, whoops!). I haven't really played around with OT yet - still do my designing in Quark.

It's also frustrating that fonts aren't consistent with their fraction keystrokes, I'm really used to the traditional keystrokes for fracs and ligs as used in Adobe Caslon and others, but the FF fonts and Thesis have a whole different set. It's kind of like switching back and forth btw Quark and Indy.

Totally off topic, I worked once with an editor whose last name was ffolliott - all lower case. Literally begins with a ligature. Top that. Olde English I think.

typequake's picture

Palatine, "I’ll try a few more experiments with setting Twombly’s Caslon." What kind of text?

brampitoyo's picture

Palatine,

Have you tried ITC Caslon no. 224? It has, in my opinion, quite a quirky character.

Palatine's picture

Typequake:

I work with alot of extended text. Long essays, reports and the like, mostly to do with the classics (Roman), English literature, etc. But really, everything I do has to be "designed" correctly - at least typopgraphically, from correspondence to a simple memo. Even legal reports are given a bit of typographic loving. I've talked a few of my law profs into accepting work that is typeset in something other than Times, for instance, and spaced in a manner conducive to reading comfort. They've taken quite well to the whole scheme.

brampitoyo:

ITC Caslon 224 is part of my Adobe OpenType Collection, actually. The lower case "f" isn't to my liking. It looks like it doesn't belong, much like the infamous lower case "c" in Rotis, if Im not mistaken. The captial "Q" however, is a nice touch - a classic Caslonesque style. But I still prefer the beautiful capital "Q" in Twombly's version. I have an edition of Don Quixote that is set in "Adobe Caslon", and although beautiful, the text came out rather light on the page. Perhaps that's the way it should look.

typequake's picture

Palatine,

It's great that you want to give typographic loving to legal texts (if you're a student though, it's amazing to be able to afford all these goodies). By the way, which is your favourite typeface for legal text? I've found Albertina to work beautifully.

Palatine's picture

Typequake:

I like Hoefler text. Quite versatile. For sheer legibility (but without overly-soft serifs a la Gentium), TheAntiqua by DeGroot works beautifully. DeGroot's TheAntiqua series is quite a gem. You don't hear much about it, either.

DTL Elzevir looks especially good. And DTL Dorian has lower-case and small-caps "Y"'s that are delicious. But Dorian has a bit too much character for legal matter. It'll shine elsewhere, though. Time to save my pennies.

I've also used Underware's Dolly quite a bit for other projects. It seems to be an ideal blend of liegibility and charm.

brampitoyo's picture

Ah, yes, the short stubbed f. How about ATF's Caslon 540 then? The face should already be in your Adobe OpenType Collection. It has higher contrast than Twombly's, and therefore, would shine out more character. I also particularly fancy its capital Q because it's 'English' in design, much like Baskerville.

But then again, Caslon Classico is not a bad choice either.

In regards to Twombly's Caslon, I always found it to be set rather solidly, never with too much contrast. It is, in my opinion, one of the more stoic workhorse among its fellow brothers and sisters. Maybe your Don Quixote was printed in a heavier, more solid stock?

John Nolan's picture

Okay, William:
Now can you tell us all about it?

Where can we see Williams Caslon? (I haven't found anything on the TypeCon site or the Typecon pool at Flickr...harumph!) Give us the details!

William Berkson's picture

John, thanks for your interest. Williams Caslon will be published by Font Bureau, and I am going to do all I can to finish it this year. But I have a lot of work ahead of me. I'll give details on Typophile when it is more near done, or done.

John Nolan's picture

Thanks for that, William.

dezcom's picture

William gave a presentation showing how he developed his soon-to-be-released "William's Caslon" on Sundays afternoon at TypeCon 2006.

He compared several digital Caslons to what is available of the original Caslon from several sources. It is obviously an interesting struggle to make a good revival which is both faithful to the original yet very functional in today's publishing environment. From what I saw, William is well on his way and none the worse for wear from all his tribulations in the struggle for completion. Here is hoping he produces a New Years present for the type-loving world.

ChrisL

tina's picture

William, did you meanwhile publish your new digital Caslon? I've searched for a while and couldn't find information about it, only about publishing plans and TypeCon. Thank you.

William Berkson's picture

Hi Tina. Thanks for your interest. I hope the text size will be out next month. You can be sure I will post something to Typophile when it happens.

tina's picture

Thank you for your fast reply!
I'm looking forward to see it :-)

_Palatine_'s picture

William,

I found that Caslon that "will surprise and delight." Years later.

It certainly does surprise and delight. I couldn't bring myself to love Caslon until I saw your revival. The warmth, the openness, the readability . . .

Thank you for bringing it into being.

Cheers,

Christian

William Berkson's picture

Thanks for your warm words Christian!

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