Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Type Detective

A little while ago we made another trip to the home of my new best friend - the old printer guy who has loads of type in his shed!

This time I was slightly more organised, and not quite so awe-inspired. I was able to ask more questions and get hold of some things I really needed and or wanted. I was quite purposeful, but also still filled with the joy of discovery.

On return, I have several more trays of lead type and quite a bit more wood type. So, any spare half hour is now spent washing type and allocating it to new trays; and/or becoming a type detective.

I thought I could be FD - FD (Fiona Dempster - Font Detective) but really, they are typefaces that I am looking to name and label, so I'm sticking with type detective for now. FD-TD.

One thing I have discovered is that there are a couple of key letters and numbers to select when you  are trying to determine what typeface you're dealing with. I am pretty sure that there are other excellent approaches to learn; but I'm a beginner and this is what I have found out so far.

This first photo shows a couple of typefaces that I now have in my possession which I cannot name. Yet. So I have used an ink stamp pad to print the characters out and am now spending the odd moment here and there rummaging through my type encyclopaedias to see if I can actually discover their names.

I have question marks against a couple of them - maybe this one, maybe that one; but there is always something that just isn't quite right. The height of the G's cross bar; how far the J drops down; the way the Q's cross bar is attached to or goes through the bowl - all of these little things make a difference and whilst everything else might look right - that letter doesn't. So it's time to go again, and see if maybe there is variant of that typeface where that little bit of action occurs.


And this one is my guide to checking for those subtle differences...


Here is a small set I have cleaned, organised, and named (Rondo)


And here is another one that is underway (Studio Bold). Before.


And where I am at after washing and re-locating.


And I now have lots of lovely wood type too!  I am never going to have full sets of it, so all my work will probably look like ransom notes, but it is so gorgeous and I am just so happy to have it in the studio! All washed and organised for now.

Next step, count the number I have of each letter and record it, so I know what words I can spell...





20 comments:

  1. oh my goodness! that's stupendous! (hmmmmmm maybe STUPENDOUS should be printed in wood type....)

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    1. The perfect word to start with Ronnie thanks!!

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  2. I love just looking at the aggregations of varying sized characters. But I'd be daunted by the sorting required to distinguish bs, ds, ps and qs from each other ... let alone commas and single quote marks in the smaller fonts.

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    1. You are so right Liz - the smaller fonts do make your eyes go crazy as well as your brain a bit, but it is good fun nonetheless!

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  3. Great collection Detective Fiona! Each of these wood type photos is a work of art in itself.

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    1. Thanks Jo I am ever so fond of them myself! FD TD

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  4. A Belgian friend had a beautiful, framed partial set of type. A visitor identified it as being pieces from a very early print house. I love your little beginnings.

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    1. I am enjoying my humble beginnings Di, and am happy to be saving lead type from becoming sinkers! Go well.

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  5. Wow, these photos are scrumptious!

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  6. Replies
    1. Excellent suggestion Margaret! I reckon I could give that a try...

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  7. Gorgeous type, Fiona! What a lovely way to spend wintry days.

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    1. It has been great to have something practical to do in the studio when I have a few minutes Carol, and there is a great deal of satisfaction in sorting! Go well.

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  8. Hi Fiona, (FD-TD), l'm lov'in all those letters , cant wait to see what you create with them, whatever you do , l'm sure it will be wonderful.

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    1. Thanks Kate there is certainly lots of potential lurking there!

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  9. Replies
    1. I agree! I am more and more enamoured o type - it sings to me...go well.

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  10. Replies
    1. It's a very enjoyable adventure Cat - fills my moment where and there...

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I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.