Caslon

tsprowl's picture

after going through the Lopez link bj just provided I hoped onto some search engines, in search of his name associated to Caslon anywhere else, didn't see it, but.

I find it hilarious how many people claim to have designed 'Caslon', not mentioning its a variation:

Adobe/Afga Caslon yet normally referred to as Adobe Caslon (so that's ok)
Bitstream's Caslon
Lopez and his Calson
Paratype's Calson
EFF Caslon
Omnibus Typografi's Calson
of course William Caslon's Caslon

I'm sure the list goes on

of course this isin't to mention the weights, and alternates each has within their own families

Perhaps there should be a category for the classics now in classification, listed by designer and year they were altered. I now have absolutely no idea who did Caslon 540, thought I thought it was an Adobe.

anyone have another example of this happening to other classics?

hrant's picture

Garamond might actually be a worse case, since:
1. His name wasn't always used (or it was spelled funny).
2. His name was used for designs he didn't do.
3. The name is used in "grunge" designs like the recent Chank one.
4. ITC made a caricature of the style.

hhp

kentlew's picture

Hrant, most of these same things can be said almost equally of Caslon.

1. During the "Caslon revival" of the late 1800s, a few direct copies of Wm. Caslon's types were released in America without his name attached (cf. Laurence Johnson's Old Style, ca. 1860s). 2. Caslon Antique has nothing whatsoever to do with the original Caslons. 3. Not Caslon might be considered the epitome of one strain of the "grunge" style.* 4. Okay, so ITC didn't do an original caricature of Caslon; Benguiat just drew from earlier caricatures of Caslon (ITC Caslon 224).

*[BTW, John Downer wrote an interesting overview of latterday Caslons in a piece for Emigre in conjunction with the release of Not Caslon.]

One thing further complicating the identificaton of Caslon types is that, unlike with Claude Garamond, there was an entire "dynasty" of Caslons -- several of them even all named William. The foundry produced a wider variety of type over a greater period of time than Garamond, and so there is a broader range of designs that may lay claim to the name.

The desire to attach an established and influential name to a new work -- whether in homage or to "borrow" credibility -- is nothing new. Bodoni and Jenson are a few others who, alongside Caslon and Garamond, lend their names to a number of designs -- some more-or-less authentic, some not at all so.

BTW, Caslon No. 540 was first cut and released by the American Type Founders, circa 1890s. The Adobe type reference that I have even plainly acknowledges the ATF origins.

-- K.

hrant's picture

BTW, there was also a nice article in an old (and sold-out) issue of (now dead?) Serif magazine comparing different Caslons. I have a copy from a while back, but haven't actually read it yet...

hhp

tsprowl's picture

borrowing a name if even in homage should be illegal. wait a minute, it is! poor William can't sue though I guess.

I remember the uproar over democratika and democratika and its change to americratika or something after a naming dispute.

Why don't these things happen with the Caslon's and Garamonds of our world. Like I said...with the copying of it all, there should be a whole new category for rip-offs, either in its naming or design.

NotCaslon not included. that can go in the fringe pile.

kentlew's picture

Actually, Tanya, a surname is generally not entitled to trademark status unless it acquires "secondary meaning" [specific legal term] through long and widespread use. One could argue that Caslon and Garamond have, in fact, acquired secondary meaning by now. In which case the right to the trademark would go to the party who could show first use.

William and Claude, of course, never called their types Caslon and Garamond. They simply made them. And others would refer to them by maker and size as Caslon's long primer or Garamond's gros romain. I think that the practice of naming specific designs began in the mid- to late-1800s with the American foundries, about the same time as point-based sizes were instituted. I believe that in both cases (Caslon and Garamond), the first use would probably be ATF (or one of the foundries that they absorbed).

Since ATF is now defunct and its assets completely dispersed, I believe that any claim to trademark in the simple names "Caslon" or "Garamond" could be declared "abandoned" -- which would be the trademark equivalent of public domain. However, a unique derivation like "Adobe Caslon" or "ITC Garamond" is considered a trademarkable name (although I confess I'm not totally clear on the intricacies of why), and so you'll find that the appropriate foundries have registered these.

I'm not familiar with the Democratika incident you refer to, but that sounds like a whole different matter, since Democratika is a distinctive mark and perfectly trademarkable.

Incidentally, if William Caslon were alive today and sufficiently famous and someone else used his name for a font, he could conceivably sue to get them to change it -- not because he would own any trademark in the name, but because the use of his name might establish a fraudulent association and this would fall under §1125. (§43) of the Lanham Act.

[Standard Disclaimer: I'm not an IP attorney; I just like to talk like one sometimes.]

-- K.

tsprowl's picture

wow kent thanks for the info, its just what I wanted to know. - It makes sense

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