21 August 2009
There’s a Kelsey 3″ × 5″ tabletop press downstairs which I am not forbidden to play with. But of the twenty kilos or so of type I could find sequestered here and there, it looks like Perpetua is the only one I could use with a straight face, and I just don’t like Perpetua that much.0
So if you happen to see some letterpress type on its way to be recycled, I’d pay shipping (assuming I weren’t completely broke at time of enquiry) for any of these, roman or italic, in anything from say 10 through 18 pt, and maybe even bigger:
- most of the Golden Type descendants called Jenson
- Deepdene or Californian (maybe Berkeley, definitely not Goudy Old Style)
- some Caslons but not others – mainly the more Dutch ones based on his smaller sizes (think LTC or Adobe), and not the more French ones based on titling sizes (think ITC or 224)
- Dante, Albertina, or a few of the other Dutch revivals
- anything by Martin Majoor
- Electra or Caledonia
- Futura (just roman caps)
Keep in mind that I’m not that serious. (If I were, there’s an excellent collection of letterpress type next door.) I’m not promising a good home; I want fonts I can afford to mess with.
Okay, here’s the thing. Perpetua has a bunch of Gill’s lively quirks (the stonecarver’s serifs, the wide R, the nervous-energy italic, etc.), but such conventional underlying letterforms, and especially such rigid breadth, that it just falls apart. It doesn’t gel, you know? Things like the f look like afterthoughts or affectations. It’s as though some undistinguished Monotype Garamond dressed up as Joanna for Halloween. To quote my popular graphic design stand-up comedy routine. Bembo is all
DERP DERP DERPbut Caslon goes
d’BMF d’BMF d’BMF, am I right?