Williams Caslon in Boston Magazine

Primary tabs

212 posts / 0 new
Last post
William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
Williams Caslon in Boston Magazine
0

Williams Caslon Text has been used by Boston Magazine for nearly a year for their text face. Soon the retail version will be out from Font Bureau, with a lot of additional kerning and some more Open Type goodness, such as a short descender option, swashes, and Central European characters.

My overriding goal in this revival of Caslon was to capture the legendary reading comfort of the metal Caslons at text sizes. I can't fully capture the look of the design on screen, because what looks slim at size in print looks chunky when blown up on the screen. I also wanted to capture the aesthetic of Caslon: warm, inviting, and authoritative at the same time. In particular the original metal Pica 2 of Caslon, and the best revivals, has a distinctive 'dark but open' look.

Here are some examples from the magazine. First, an intro spread for an article about college graduates coming out of college with no jobs, called Generation WTF:

They used my italic bigger than intended size, but because of the color and reverse, I was delighted with what they did.

Here is a typical narrow column, with Williams Caslon Text just doing its thing quietly. I was surprised how it works so small, 9.5/11 points. It's designed to work with relatively leading. Note the bold small caps as a section heading:

Here is a wide column, 10/11 points with Matthew Carter's Big Caslon at the top and Hoefler's Knockout--good company!

Here is a clever use of the regular small caps and bold italic, with color in the masthead. This is really tiny in real life:

Tiffany Wardle's picture
Offline
Joined: 13 Jul 2001 - 11:00am
0

It looks great, Bill. I have to imagine you've loved seeing how others take it and use it. Right? How exciting to be going public soon.

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

Thanks, Tiffany. Yes, it has been a thrill to see it used by really sensitive and creative designers.

The main thing for me was seeing that the color was right on the page of a magazine, which I was really anxious about it. That was a relief.

Then they did things that surprised me, like using it so small in very short columns, which turned out to be quite readable. And occasionally using the italic large, in color, which also worked.

Also it was nice to see that all those additional characters are useful. For example in doing the first line in small caps they could set "Boston", the name of the magazine, in small cap italics--and if need be in bold small cap italics, which their design pattern would call for in other circumstances. Also the small cap question mark they used after "What happened?" And in the new version there are small cap figures, so "Sept. 11" could be set with a barbed "1" that fits the small cap height.

Oh, and thanks to your and others' urging on Typophile, in the final version I made the stressed "0" and barbed "1" in the old style numbers default, and put the traditional circular 0 and "small cap I" looking "1" in a stylistic alternative set, which you can choose if you want.

At any rate, I can see that the months of work expanding the character set and kerning will actually be useful to good designers.

They also sometimes use this text size quite large, negatively leaded, in a kind of decorative text block. That has kind of made me cringe, because I know that the incomplete version of the Great Primer size (18 point) in my computer will look much better when it's complete. One day...

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

...kerning will actually be useful to good designers.

I rather like the "missing" kerning in the First Things First sample.

Bill, why would you seek authenticity in letter form, and then add the anachronism of 21st century kerning?
Isn't it feasible that the legendary reading comfort of metal Caslon is an effect of the totality of the design, the letter shapes being optimized for available fit, and that expanded kerning and a narrow space character will lessen the comfort zone?

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

Nick, I wasn't really seeking authenticity in letter form. What I was seeking was to get the overall dark-but-open look and the reading comfort. When I didn't like something, I just changed it. For example, the a and g aren't W.C. but W.B. :)

Very often when I tried to do Caslon better, I was humiliated because his proportions worked better. And so I often went back to Caslon in the regular roman. But some of Caslon's stuff is just screwy, like wildly different weights of caps. And he has some howlers, like the lower case italic s in some sizes. My theory is that he had an excellent eye, but just needed to get it out the door, so he just said, screw it, I'll get it better next time.

And speaking of the italic, mine is far from authentic, but nobody's revival is authentic, partly because the original isn't very good. The 19th century revivals are "improvements", and so even Founders Caslon, which is based on them, isn't authentic. But then, I don't really believe that trying to be authentic is worth the candle.

Mine takes the original italic and redraws it both wider, which Carole Twombly also did in Adobe Caslon, and more upright, unlike what she did. I did keep the varied slants of Caslon's original, and not the revivals. I think that there is an inner logic in the variations that give a liveliness absent from other more regularized italics. But with the adjustments is more readable than Adobe Caslon's italic. So I'm pleased with the way it came out. The display sizes will be prettier, because of more contrast, when I get around to finishing them.

I am also concerned about whether more kerning will detract from the look. I think not, but I'll only really know when I see it printed, in mass. The word space is not tight--it is 250 em units in the regular (x height 393). Also the letter spacing is slightly looser than Adobe Caslon, and the characters a bit narrower. Both of these are authentic to Caslon's Pica 2, and I think do contribute to the look and comfort that got Caslon its reputation. The overall effect is that it sets about the same as Adobe Caslon, but I think looks darker and more open because of various tricks I did--mainly following Caslon, but I'd like to think creatively rather than slavishly.

The lack of kerning in "Yet", above, to me is a bit glaring, and I think the proper kerning that is in the final will be a help without messing things up. I tried not to over kern--a number of times I did and tested and then pulled back--but I guess I'll only really know for sure when the final version is used.

Craig Eliason's picture
Offline
Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
0

Great to see, Bill!

Chris Lozos's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
0

Alas, it breathes life!
Congratulations, Bill, may it sell and be merry :-)

ChrisL

Jacob Sievers's picture
Offline
Joined: 9 Oct 2009 - 8:17pm
0

I've always been fond of Caslon faces for their English "Heart of Oak" authority, tempered by baroque eccentricities, but found that those available digitally tended to one or the other extreme. My amateur impression is that you've found an excellent balance. Looks great.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

William, thanks for showing that. Good job, and congrats. It seems like you've made a lot of considered decisions, in addition to keeping an open mind to third-party suggestions.

> Isn’t it feasible that .... expanded kerning and a
> narrow space character will lessen the comfort zone?

No.

That's just feelgood artistry imposing itself on robust craftsmanship.

hhp

Stefan Hattenbach's picture
Joined: 7 Sep 2004 - 1:22pm
0

William,

Congrats on your great work. It seems that Caslon might have a new "era of glory"? I've been working on my own interpretation for about a year now. The basic ideas have been with me for much longer though, but Veer have made me fulfill the task. At a glance it seems to be enough differences between our versions so I'm sure there will be a market for both of them. My version will be released early next year. Anyway good luck with your release. I look forward to see more of it.

Cheers

Dan Petter's picture
Offline
Joined: 10 Jun 2008 - 4:10pm
0

What I was seeking was to get the overall dark-but-open look and the reading comfort.

just what the world has been waiting for. i need to see this on paper. surely, Boston Magazine is available everywhere throughout Switzerland ;-)

Andreas Höfeld's picture
Offline
Joined: 12 Jul 2009 - 11:03am
0

Generation what-the-font? Related to the large-print association mentioned above as the "ten point coalition" in the third sample? ;-) SCNR

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
0

Wow – after hearing this referred to quite a few times, it's wonderful to finally see a glimpse of it! It does look quite well-crafted, and beautiful but without sacrificing comfort. Looking forward to a chance to get a closer look. Congratulations.

John Savard's picture
Offline
Joined: 23 Nov 2009 - 8:42pm
0

I had missed looking at this thread originally. I think this typeface fills a serious gap, an authentic, yet not over-authentic, revival of Caslon that works well as a type for ordinary body copy.

I do see one problem, although that problem is not a criticism of the typeface itself. The decision to give Caslon a heavier weight is one that I endorse as something that was needed. In this face, though, that was done with perhaps a tad too much restraint and caution. As a result, and given that, generally speaking, magazines deal with a typographically-unsophisticated public, I fear that some potential sales of this font will be lost because potential purchasers may decide they can get much the same overall visual effect with, say, Baskerville.

Which marks the first time Caslon and Baskerville could be confused since the days of Ben Franklin.

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

Thanks for the appreciative words! It means a lot from my fellow typophilers.

Stefan, as you know from working on Caslon, because of the big difference of different sizes and the rough printing of the original, "Caslon" is a bit of a typographic "Rorschach test", and different people see different things in it. Many revivals are very good, and very different one from the other--including Matthew Carter's Big Caslon, above.

John (quadribloc), I don't think there is any danger of this getting mixed up with Baskerville. Actually, Abobe Caslon, being wider and because of the way it handles contrast is a bit of a "Caskerville". But in this the narrower characters (from Caslon's Pica 2 size) and lower contrast I think gives it quite a different look. Of course this is most obvious side by side.

Actually, one of the notions that guided me is that a really strong typeface design, such as Times New Roman or Baskerville is recognizable just from its texture on the page. Such a distinctive look was my goal here.

Jos Buivenga's picture
Offline
Joined: 19 Nov 2005 - 5:11pm
0

Formidable job, William. Congrats!

Stefan Hattenbach's picture
Joined: 7 Sep 2004 - 1:22pm
0

William,

Yes I'm aware of all the differences regarding point sizes. I have among other Caslon specimens a copy of the facsimile printed in the twenties (i think 1924). The book has many great reproductions of the original cut printed in various situations. This book have become the foundation from which my design have developed. I have then made certain choices, changes and additions from the original. Ligatures, SC, full CE and ornaments are things that have been added. Also a headline cut for the regular will also be featured. Hopefully reviews and notes of both our version will create a minor revival for the beautiful typeface that Caslon is.

Kevin Larson's picture
Offline
Joined: 11 Aug 2004 - 12:47am
0

Congratulations William!

What do you look for when you are trying to determine which version of Caslon you’re looking at?

John Savard's picture
Offline
Joined: 23 Nov 2009 - 8:42pm
0

> John (quadribloc), I don’t think there is any danger of
> this getting mixed up with Baskerville. Actually, Abobe
> Caslon, being wider and because of the way it handles
> contrast is a bit of a “Caskerville”.

I don't disagree; as noted, I wasn't criticizing the typeface itself, which indeed is clearly a Caslon and not a Baskerville.

Rather, what I was trying to say was:

- Mass-market publications generally cater to a fairly undiscriminating audience in typographic terms;

- While Caslon is Oldstyle and Baskerville is Transitional, unlike Times Roman, Baskerville still has some definite Oldstyle mannerisms;

- Baskerville is also a good typeface;

- The weight you had chosen for your font, being only slightly heavier than that typical of Caslon revivals, causes text in Williams Caslon to match text in Baskerville in darkness;

thus, my concern is basically that your typeface will not have as big a niche available for itself as it might otherwise have had... because it is more exposed to competition from Baskerville.

John Savard

Craig Eliason's picture
Offline
Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
0

I would think "niche" would be the wrong conceptual model for this part of the marketplace.

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

John S., the first market for this will be designers who do books and magazines, and because of the most obvious differences--in width and contrast--they will view them as very different typefaces, that can't be handled the same. Baskerville just isn't competition for this, in my view. Adobe Caslon is, and here there are also in my view marked differences, but they are more subtle than with Baskerville.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

I'm not seeing any Baskerville danger either.

That "g" is quite nice - so nice that I don't associate it with Caslon! :-)
But I guess it exists in some instance of the original Caslon type?

hhp

Chris Lozos's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
0

The stress and contrast differences alone are enough to distinguish William's from Baskerville.

ChrisL

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

That most recent sample isn't the same face as "typical narrow column" above.

Stéphane Darricau's picture
Joined: 21 Jan 2006 - 10:08am
0

I thought Carter’s marvellous Big Caslon Italic was unavailable for retail, having been designed for the exclusive use of Wallpaper magazine ? How come it ended here ?

John Savard's picture
Offline
Joined: 23 Nov 2009 - 8:42pm
0

I don't want to continue an argument, but I think that my point still wasn't clear. Perhaps because I was getting ahead of things. Of course, at the present time, when it becomes available, Williams Caslon will be specified by people who know and care about fine typography - and, as I've admitted from the beginning, it doesn't really look like Baskerville.

But what I'm thinking is that it will be successful enough there that there will be a "down the road" for the face. Where it becomes a reasonably well-known choice for typography. That's when I thought it might reach the notice of people less committed to choosing the best possible face, or a unique and different face, who might, if there was a question of expense or convenience, just opt for Baskerville instead... as they might opt for Garamond instead of Adobe Caslon, although Adobe Caslon, like Willams Caslon, looks much more like other Caslons than like a different face, whether Garamond or Baskerville.

Kent Lew's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
0

> I thought Carter’s marvellous Big Caslon Italic was unavailable for retail, having been designed for the exclusive use of Wallpaper magazine ? How come it ended here ?

Several additional Big Caslon styles are available as part of Font Bureau's Studio library, just not Retail yet. That's how Boston magazine licensed it. Same as Williams Caslon, which has quite made it to Retail yet.

> people less committed to choosing the best possible face, or a unique and different face, who might, if there was a question of expense or convenience, just opt for Baskerville instead...

There will always be people who opt for [fill-in-the-blank] instead of "the best possible face, or a unique and different face".

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

I don't understand the industry well enough to comment further on the market. My goal was just to get the best text face I could. I don't have a business head, but hopefully the good folks at Font Bureau do.

Thanks, Jos!

Nick, it is the same, but from a screen capture, large. The others are scanned from the printed page, which are small point sizes. Everything makes a difference, which always amazes me.

Hrant, thanks. On the g, as I mentioned above I don't like Caslon's g's, so I just made my own. In some cases, when I decided to depart from Caslon, I repented and returned to his forms, but not in this case.

Kevin, there is a long answer to your question, which would be an essay on the history of Caslon and its revivals. And a short answer.

The short answer: I think of basic three kinds of Caslon: based on text size, based on display size, and only roughly inspired by Caslon. ATF's Caslon 540 and its revivals are based on the display sizes, with more heavily bracketed, pointed serifs, and wider characters with higher contrast. The ones based on the text sizes include Monotype Caslon and Merganthaler Linotype Caslon and Adobe Caslon. These are narrower and more slabby, but Adobe has a bit more influence from larger sizes. Big Caslon is based on display sizes, the largest ones. There are a number of Caslons that are only loosely inspired by the original, like Ed Benguiat's Caslon 224, which is more Benguiat than Caslon--not that there's anything wrong with that.

The thing I spent the most time on studying and trying to capture was the magic of Caslon's reading comfort. This has to do with a lot of subtle things put together: the weight and width of the characters, the spacing, the modulation of both straight and curved strokes, handling of the serifs.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

> I don’t like Caslon’s g’s, so I just made my own.

Wonderful.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

...it is the same...

In that case, there are some hinting issues.
You might try playing around with the Blue Scale setting, to reign back the elongations caused by excessive overshoot.

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

Thanks, Nick, I'll work on it.

Stéphane Darricau's picture
Joined: 21 Jan 2006 - 10:08am
0

Thank you, Kent.
By the way, did I ever tell you that I like your Whitman very much ?

Kent Lew's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
0

Thank you for the compliment, Stéphane. I'm pleased.

John Nolan's picture
Offline
Joined: 6 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
0

So, when will it be available in retail?

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

>when will it be available in retail?

That's up to your friendly neighborhood Font Bureau. I'm guessing February, but I don't know.

david h's picture
Offline
Joined: 19 Aug 2005 - 12:18pm
0

Well...well...well...Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks Great!!!! (and I told you that long time ago :) )

Well Done!!!

Peter Enneson's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Mar 2005 - 1:17pm
0

Bill, your Caslon really does work great in the city magazine environment! Traditionally Caslon hasn't been a natural choice for this type of venue. It's clear your version was able to break through. How did that occur.

You mention it's legendary readability. Do you base this comment on how it was received or comments made by contemporaries and historians? How were these judgments made or substantiated? Were intrinsic and distinctive characteristics of the types singled out when these judgments were made? Who / what historical circumstances / which characteristics mediated it's reputation. Was part of it it's use in certain types of publications?

Immanuel Kant has his 'critique of judgment' but judgments of readability aren't covered there. Or are they? We need a new critque.

Chris Lozos's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
0

Sounds like "pure reasoning" to me, Peter :-)

ChrisL

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

Thanks, David, Peter. I do appreciate your good words.

>How were these judgments made or substantiated?

Caslon had a mystique and caché from the late 19th to mid-20 Century. Theodore Low De Vinne, revered as the greatest printer of the 19th century in the US, praised Caslon to the skies, which probably helped promote the mystique. George Bernard Shaw insisted that all his works were printed in Caslon. And every major foundry had several versions of Caslon in the early 20th century. Printers said, "When in doubt use Caslon."

I don't know how much of this mystique had to to with readability, but I think a lot of it did. Writing in 1967 Ben Lieberman in Types of Typefaces wrote specifically about its readability, noting that the individual characters weren't so great, but the result in mass is very effective.

My suspicion is that part of the mystique came from the fact that it was the first old style to be revived. I do think that the high contrast types of the early nineteenth century were less readable, and that as a result Caslon seemed somewhat of a miracle when it re-appeared. When Monotype started reviving other old styles, I think it took some of the edge away from Caslon. But there was still something distinctive in Caslon that a lot of publishers and readers liked. I think it was reading comfort, but I can't prove it.

Caslon didn't make as successful a transition to photo type and digital type, as it had from foundry type to hot metal.

>How did that occur.

Years of work. I just kept trying out different things until it worked to my eyes as a text face. Of course I have a definite idea about what combination of things was needed, but maybe it's better just to let the design speak for itself.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

Something I'm curious about: were there any long periods of time where you didn't look at the design? If so, how long? And -whether this was done wittingly or not- do you think it helped, and how?

hhp

John Savard's picture
Offline
Joined: 23 Nov 2009 - 8:42pm
0

In my opinion, there are some specific factors about Caslon that explain why it was more popular than Baskerville, or either a Jenson roman or an Aldine roman. Not better, just more popular.

Caslon and Times Roman don't seem very similar on the surface - and they are very different in proportions and x-height. But they both have sharp serifs and slanted stress.

I think that Bell, Oxford, Baskerville, Bembo, Poliphilus, and even a modern roman that isn't condensed could all provide plenty of reading comfort - but Times and Caslon, without compromising reading comfort, also have features that make them seem more brilliant - and that is the combination that worked for them both.

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

Hrant, I generally spent half of my time on it. I did also have some breaks for a few months, where I had other deadlines. I didn't find a big difference with the breaks; actually it took time to get back into it. I did find that in the morning, when I looked at it anew, I often saw new things. Also as I started from zero, there was a gradual learning curve. I do remember the day, after some years, when I suddenly felt "hey, I know how to do this". I started not just to sense when something was wrong, but to see what it was.

John (quadribloc), I think I understand your point, but I do think that the differences do affect reading comfort, though I acknowledge that it is a small affect, and that other classic faces are also very readable. I think your comparison of Caslon & Times isn't on target. The pointed serifs, similar to Times New Roman, are in the Caslons influenced by Caslon's larges sizes, reflected in Caslon 540 and Big Caslon. The Caslons intended for text, the originals as well as Adobe Caslon and mine, have longer, less bracketed serifs.

Richard Fink's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 May 2009 - 10:04pm
0

Good luck, Bill.
It's always a kick seeing something you've worked very hard on get accepted and used by other people.
Looks like you delivered the goods.

rich

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

I do think that the high contrast types of the early nineteenth century were less readable, and that as a result Caslon seemed somewhat of a miracle when it re-appeared.

Bill, if what you think is capable of influencing perceptions 150 years ago, that would indeed be a miracle!
Caslon's re-appearance was a novelty, given far more importance than it merited by historians such as Updike and Reed, who used it as a hammer with which to bash the popular modern style that was too trade for their taste. Its significance was probably more in motivating the Miller & Richard "old style", which was a variant of the modern style.

Caslon didn’t make as successful a transition to photo type...

That's not supported by its appearance in many major campaigns of the photo-type era, eg:

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

> used it as a hammer with which to bash the popular
> modern style that was too trade for their taste.

Not everybody is so servile to mere taste - not even their own!

> That’s not supported by its appearance in
> many major campaigns of the photo-type era

He said successful, not popular. Equating the two impoverishes
analysis, hence judgment; it is an escape to art and away from
good design; it is selfish, and ultimately fatally self-important.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

Not everybody is so enslaved to mere taste...

To a man, the type historians were.
But they were not alone in ignoring commercial work, for "popular culture" was infra dig, and did not exist as a serious subject until the late 1960s.

Equating the two

Who's equating?
I'm merely trying to establish some objectivity here.
You and Bill have opinions of what is important or successful, to which you are entitled, but when they fly in the face of general consensus, just who is being self-important?
You will find copious variants of Caslon phototype in specimen books of the era, in advertising campaigns, and in awards annuals.
Surely this indicates a mighty success in porting the face to new media?-- and across a larger jump than from foundry type to hot metal.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

Nobody understands everything. Most people understand only a handful of things. Almost nobody understands type. This includes some type designers.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
0

I'm not talking in generalities, but about something that actually happened.
As I understand it, Caslon was a successful phototype.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

> As I understand it

Agreed.

hhp

William Berkson's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
0

Nick, I was talking about text type, not display. That example you have is Caslon 540, I think, which was and is excellent in all media, but it's a display type. In general the problems in transition to digital I believe were in text types, and display did much better.

My memory is not seeing so much Caslon in the photo era--70s and 80s--and of course being an old guy I lived and read before during and after photo type. But I wasn't in the graphics business as you were, so I may be wrong. (I'm not talking about Ed Benguiat's Caslon 224, which is an attractive display type but not really Caslon.)

My memory of the way the New Yorker looked then was that its Caslon was very anemic looking, but I may be confusing it with pre-photo type. The digital New Yorker Caslon, digitized based on the photo version by Bruno Maag, and worked on later by James Montalbono is pretty good.

I think Adobe Caslon, the best text Caslon generally available till now, falls short of what Caslon was in metal as a text type, and I suspect it's been used more in display, though it was intended for text.

Above I think I mixed up De Vinne and Updike. It was Updike who said that the revival of Caslon in 'Lady Willoughby's Diary' was "the chief typographic event of the mid-19th century." This was in the 20s, perhaps the height of Caslon's second wave of popularity.

The Miller & Richard Old Style is not a 'modern' face as Bodoni is. It is obviously influenced by Caslon, and its c and e have a backslanted stress. But most notable the contrast is much less than 'modern' types. It was evidently intended to capture the qualities of Caslon for those used to reading 'modern' style, and is called 'Old Style' for that very reason. --Revivals of Caslon were also at first called 'Old Style' as well. Your view that it is simply a variant of modern I don't think will wash, as it clearly adopts and adapts aspects of Caslon's look.

Also I believe that once the high contrast look was supplanted toward the end of the 19th Century, lower contrast types remained dominant for text ever since, at least in English speaking countries.

Why lower contrast won out we can disagree about, but the general view today is that text type needs lower contrast for good readability. So in hypothesizing that readability was an important factor, I don't think I am out of line.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
0

> I was talking about text type, not display.

I'm pretty sure Nick doesn't support that distinction. Even though the effect of scale on a design is clearly fundamental; a font that looks like a Caslon at 11 point simply cannot look like a Caslon at 72.

hhp