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Caslon Old Face released



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I hope that this rather long message won't be read as a blatant =
self-promotion from an occasional member of this list: it's intended =
merely to draw attention to a series of Caslon Old Face types which may =
be of interest to those looking for an historically authentic typeface =
to use on their computers.
=20
I've just released a digital reconstruction of the complete series of =
Caslon Old Face fonts on the H. W. Caslon & Co website =
(http://www.hwcaslon.com). The new series of 68 fonts completes and =
complements the series launched in '96 by ITC as ITC Founder's CaslonT, =
and includes all of the missing sizes required for fine typography, as =
well as revised versions of the designs in the ITC release. It is now =
possible for the first time ever to buy and download a complete Caslon =
online, with all the ligatures, long esses and other special characters =
needed for historic revival projects.

The Founders CaslonT project represents a massive investment of time =
reconstructing a series of types which had been in almost continuous use =
since it was first cut by William Caslon in the 1720s, but which =
disappeared in all but name with the onset of photo typesetting systems =
in the 1960s. The complete family comprises 68 digital fonts copied from =
Caslon's originals. Rather than sanitising the qualities which make =
early types worth reviving in the first place, the aim in making the =
digital fonts was to make a facsimile copy of the originals - faults and =
all.

Because each size of Caslon Old Face as originally cut was an original =
type in its own right (the 10-point was not just the 12-point made a bit =
smaller), the digital fonts include equivalents for 14 sizes of the =
metal and wood type: at 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 22, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 60, =
72-point, as well as a Poster size. If you want to set something in =
'real' Caslon on the computer, you use the 12-point design for 12-point =
text, the 14-point design for 14-point text, etc., etc. This is actually =
the opposite of the approach taken in Adobe Caslon, designed by Carol =
Twombly around 1990 as a single master design which attempts to =
synthesise five of the original text sizes. In my own (partial?) view, =
retaining differences in design across different sizes has helped create =
a satisfying series of types, richer in texture than designs based on a =
single master design, and still with something of the vagaries and =
beauties inherent in punchcutting and letterpress printing.

Where possible, the type was digitised from sharp new proofs from the =
metal type. For some characters that wasn't possible, if I didn't have =
the type, so a variety of artwork, whatever was available, was used: old =
proofs, well-printed old documents, etc. In general, the digitised type =
has the weight of sharply printed type, and will suit most printing =
requirements, including polymer.

The entire series of 14 sizes is available in two packs, Caslon Text and =
Caslon Display, each priced at $199.95. Until the end of 2001 there is a =
10 per cent discount on the price of both packs if bought at the same =
time, bringing the cost down to $359.91 (about =A3250 sterling). There =
is also an introductory pack, Caslon 1776, priced at just $29.95, =
refundable when you buy the Caslon Text pack. Each of the packs comes =
with the Caslon Ornaments font, a selection of some of Caslon's best =
ornament designs. The packs are:

1. Founders CaslonT 1776 ($29.95, see http://hwcaslon.com/catp1.asp), =
so-called because it contains a digital reconstruction of the text type =
used by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap in 1776 for the first-ever =
printing of the United States' Declaration of Independence, is an =
affordable introduction to Caslon. The pack has everything necessary for =
'period' text setting in 14-point Caslon Old Face, including small =
capitals, long esses, and swash characters. Use it for fun - or wherever =
a robust text face with extended ligatures and special characters is =
required. Purchasers of Caslon 1776 receive a $29.95 credit when =
ordering Caslon Text.

2. Founders CaslonT Text ($199.95, see http://hwcaslon.com/catp2.asp) =
includes Caslon Old Face in a series of five optical sizes, for use at =
8, 10, 12, 14 and 18-point, each with small capitals, long esses and =
swash characters. Purchasers of Caslon 1776 receive a $29.95 credit when =
ordering Caslon Text.

3. Founders CaslonT Display ($199.95, see http://hwcaslon.com/catp3.asp) =
includes Caslon Old Face in a series of five optical sizes, for use at =
22, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 60, and 72-point, each with small capitals, long =
esses and swash characters. There's also a Poster size, in roman only =
and without small capitals.
=20
The fonts are available in Adobe Type 1 format for Mac and PC, and in =
Truetype format for the PC. Beta versions of all the fonts are also =
available in OpenType format at no extra cost. Support for the special =
features of the OpenType fonts (such as small capitals, fractions, and =
an extensive ligature table for long esses, a feature not available in =
any other OpenType version of Caslon) is currently limited to Adobe's =
InDesign program. For those who havn't yet experienced the potent =
combination of InDesign and Opentype, we have a Word template which =
makes using Caslon's ligatures, and historically correct long-esses, =
very easy. Click of a button, and Caslon becomes Caflon...

Depending on the font format chosen, the whole series comprises up to 68 =
font files. Each 'design size' of the fonts comprises two core fonts =
(roman and italic, complete with ligatures and long esses), a small caps =
font (for small caps), a roman extension font (mainly for nut =
fractions), and an italic extension font (mainly for swash capitals and =
other alternate forms). The Poster size is in roman only, and therefore =
doesn't come with the italic or italic extension fonts. The character =
sets (listed in full at http://www.hwcaslon.com/charset.pdf ) are based =
closely on Windows and Macintosh defaults, although a handful of =
rarely-used characters have had to be omitted from the core fonts in =
order to make space for ligatures and long esses.

Thank you for your patience: for more, go to http://www.hwcaslon.com

Justin Howes

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