Saturday, May 23, 2015

Type tools before the pc

Two sheets (front and back, 298 x 210mm) from the Linotype collection.  The sheets, with dozens of fonts, were kept in strong plastic boxes and contained an amazing amount of information, just look at all the alternative characters under the complete alphabet.

Front and back of metal type scale (above) and a plastic line counter.  Virtually impossible to do any kind of design involving text without these two essential items. Line counter instantly indicated the space taken up 15 lines of 10/12 point type. 

A line counter issued by a London typesetter.

Linotype produced this excellent type gauge (318 x 115mm) and the booklet (below) to explain its use.  I still use it to find out the point size of tiny type that designers insist on using.

Front and back of the ITCA copy-fitting tool.  The really nice thing about this was the top scale on both sides.  There were only two typewriter alphabets in common use.  Count a few characters of some copy to find out if it was Elite or Standard, find out using copyfitting tables how many characters in a line then use the scale to quickly work out the line breaks, it worked perfectly with small amounts of ragged right copy.

Below, a six-page typesheet folder for Akzidenz Grotesk with a separate sheet for Bold.  Issued by a Basle type foundry.  If you look at the red type above each size
it reveals how many lowercase 'a' and cap 'A' were available when the type was bought 
by a printer.

 The New York Composing Room issued this twelve-page booklet in the early Sixties.

A plastic copy fitting guide issued by Westvaco Paper Company

Below left, a handy guide for reversing and overprinting type on tone.  Right, two screen testers used to calculate the screen of a photo.  Place them on a printed image and turn them until the lines become thickest.

This wheel (optimistically called a computer) is not directly connected to type but every print designer needed one to size up images for reproduction. It only took a few seconds and the crop marks could be put on the back of the photo with the reproduction dimensions or, as newspapers did it, on the front with a Chinagraph pencil. I used this one for years before the pc arrived.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Potlatch Annual Reports / 1986 / 1987

 Other Potlach Reports in this series are here:
           1981 December 2012
1982 / 1983 June 2013
1984 / 1985 April 2014