stroke contrast baskerville garamond

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juli sommer's picture
Joined: 3 May 2011 - 4:58am
stroke contrast baskerville garamond

i hope you can help me, i´m analyzing some fonts and i have no idea, why these results are like they are. i alnalyzed the stroke contrast of urw baskerville and itc garamond. i take the width of the vertical stroke of the lowercase "n" and the hairline in the middle of the "e", divided the results, so that i get the stroke contrast. I hope still that point i didn´t make any mistake.

the stroke contrast of the garamond is getting higher per growing stoke thickness (sorry my english is not the best) garamond light 1: 1,87. garamond ultra: 3,33. ok that make sense to me, there ist not so much space, the letter would getting to dark, therefore the stroke contrast is getting higher.

but at the baskerville the results are contrary: baskerville regular 1:3,5. baskerville ultra bold 3,17. and that´s the point i don´t unterstand, why is the stroke contrast getting less, which optical cause has it?

i hope you can help me and understood my lously english.
thank you very much,

David Kimball's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 1:18pm

One thing to remember is that when those fonts were originally designed (by Garamond and Baskerville) there was no bold, light, ultra, etc, just regular and (maybe) italic (and variations between designs of different size type). So the changes in contrast you are talking about were the result of decisions made in the 20th century (probably) by someone else.

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

Also, these are typefaces with many, many interpretations in different media, over the years.
So an effect observed between any two instances may not be typical—especially when the Garamond is ITC's!

Ben Mitchell's picture
Joined: 12 Aug 2007 - 4:05pm


How about averaging the measurements of different cuts of Baskerville and Garamond to see whether this holds true more generally?

Also, you should look at the regular, rather than the light, weight of Garamond. Light weights need to keep a certain amount of weight on their hairlines or risk drop-out.

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

First of all, don't use the bar of the "e" as a reference - different fonts do different funny things there (and sometimes it's not even straight and of uniform width). And actually, the more places you take samples from the more accurate your results.