Caslon or Baskerville with good kerning

Ehague's picture

We're looking to sub out the font in our academic legal journal, probably with a Caslon or Baskerville revival.

Here's the main constraint: since we have to do all our typesetting in MS Word (don't ask--it can't be helped), we need something with immaculate kerning. Anything less, and our editors will end up spending hours fixing crashes. Right now we're using an old PS version of ITC New Baskerville.

Thoughts?

hrant's picture

Why Caslon or Baskerville?

What's the overall visual style of the journal?

How economical of space do you need the font to be?

What other technical typesetting requirements do you have?

BTW do you mean kerning or spacing? Because -at least in Word 2007- kerning is off by default.

hhp

Joshua Langman's picture

Caslon and Baskerville are basically opposites, other than the fact that they're both "classics."

William Berkson's picture

Well since you ask, here's one. It was used without kerning for several years in Boston Magazine, so I think the spacing is solid. And if I remember rightly there are something like 13,000 kerns over the four styles, plus all the classes. You can turn on ligatures and kerning and choose number styles in recent versions of Word. Also Font Bureau will deliver TrueType versions if you want...

Ehague's picture

@hrant Sorry--I've been out of the game a while. I meant default metrics rather than kerning. Overall visual style of the journal is fairly conservative, and the biggest requirements are true SCs and superscripts. Economy isn't a huge deal, but Word doesn't offer great control over H&J settings, so I guess that would cut in favor of something narrower.

We're leaning toward Caslon and Baskerville mostly out of a (probably misplaced) historical allusion. The school I'm at was founded by Ben Franklin, so a Baskerville or something colonial-era would be kind of neat. The journal itself was founded in the 1860s, but I'd rather stay away from higher-contrast modern types. I figured Baskerville might be a good compromise where that's concerned.

@joshua In what way are Baskerville and Caslon opposites?

@William Right now Williams Caslon is at the top of our shortlist for Caslons. Thanks for the suggestion!

Birdseeding's picture

I thought Word didn't do true smallcaps.

hrant's picture

Giving the right historical flavor is certainly very relevant. And a Baskerville would actually be quite justified, since Franklin happened to be a big fan of it! And, as nice as Williams Caslon is, Franklin actually specifically preferred Baskerville over Caslon... See the text immediately following the second illustration here:
http://ilovetypography.com/2008/01/17/type-terms-transitional-type/

On other the other hand nobody could blame you for not being so historically literal; you could easily wade into conservative-but-not-Baskerville-or-Caslon territory, with something like FF Quadraat for example. It looks very old, but equally young at heart. Plus it has a very large number of components that cover a bewildering range of applications.
https://www.fontfont.com/designers/fred-smeijers

hhp

William Berkson's picture

Eric, thanks. As far as Caslon vs Baskerville, one question to ask is how the demands of your publication and planned layout relates. Baskerville is lighter and wider. I think it works better in wide columns than narrow ones...

zeno333's picture

If you want historical accuracy regarding something like the original Baskerville typeface, ITC New Baskervile is not the way to go....I have that typeface, and the small letter a in it, though while very beautiful, is not even close to the small letter a that Baskerville actually used in his first works in 1757....For a typeface that is very close to the original Baskerville, in particular regarding the small letter "a", try Baskerville1757...a free version is at.... [url removed by admin. Please don’t share links to pirated fonts. Thank you!—Florian]
ITC New Baskerville also takes lots of space at a given size compared to most other typefaces.

zeno333's picture

PS, Baskervilles original 1757 typeface was in reality an alteration by Baskerville of Caslon, thats why the Baskerville1757 that I just referred to above in that link has a similar small letter a to Caslon more so than most of the current "modern baskervilles" out there, but different....Baskerville wanted to "improve" Caslon.

zeno333's picture

PS #2, if you wish to actually buy the original version of Baskerville1757, it is at...
http://marketplace.veer.com/type/FOT0000053

I compared that to the free version I linked to at FontPalace above, and as far as the individual letters are concerned, there is no difference....Not sure about literatures and or kerning etc....I guess the safest bet to be sure if you used the typeface would be to buy the original version from Veer.com

John Hudson's picture

PS, Baskervilles original 1757 typeface was in reality an alteration by Baskerville of Caslon

This is not the case. Caslon's letterforms, based on Dutch baroque models, and Baskerville's, based on the English roman style developed at the end of the 17th Century and beginning of the 18th by the writing masters John Seddon, John Ayres and George Shelley, follow completely different construction patterns and mimic the dynamics of different writing tools (broad nib and split nib, respectively).

hrant's picture

Baskerville wanted to improve upon Caslon; I wouldn't see his work are derivative.

Fountain's Baskerville1757 is actually quite nice I think, but to me mostly because of the unapologetic "g" which might in fact be not too authentic... In any case it's certainly much more authentic than the ITC version with its inflated x-height.

* Avoid the free one, which is surely either a clone or just plain lousy.

BTW, the "a" is indeed an interesting "singularity" in Baskerville. I find it ugly, and I assume that's why so many revivals try to change it, but to me if it doesn't express some of that original ugliness, it's not a Baskerville.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Having spent a lot of time looking at actual Baskerville books, and even longer looking at the pen written models on which he based his types, I'm dissatisfied with all the digital revivals. I used Storm's display cut in the title slide for my ISType presentation, and I do think his italic is better than the Fountain one, but there's still some quality missing when one compares it to Baskerville's metal type.

zeno333's picture

The Fountain italic small "e" is different than Storm's that you have in your slide presentation....I am sure there are other differences, I just spotted the e difference for now. There are indeed some typefaces with the name Baskerville in the name that should not be called Baskerville at all though.....

William Berkson's picture

I have seen a Baskerville letter press Bible, and, perhaps also because of printing methods, it does have a different feel from any of the 20th century (or 21st century) revivals. I do think that Monotype Baskerville in letterpress was a lovely face, when used appropriately.

hrant's picture

John, do you actually like Baskerville's original Italic? Because to me it has the distinct feel of a rush-job.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Yes, I do like Baskerville's italic, and intend to devote some serious time to their study when I have concluded my researches on the English roman. I think the italics might be the area of genuine innovation in Baskerville's letterforms (or successful innovation at least: there is also his bizarre Greek). I hadn't given them much thought until I read of Fournier's admiration for them.

Té Rowan's picture

@hrant – No need to be so glum over that 'free' Baskerville1757. It seems to be a ten-year old Fountain original, but I'm unconvinced it is a genuine freebie. I do not recall seeing it on Dafont, Fontspace or FontSquirrel.

Syndicate content Syndicate content