Typefaces are used in an everyday basis by many of us around the world. It is a specific design type. For example: if you were to use ‘Garamond’ in a document, this would be the typeface that you see. However, if you decided to use this typeface in different sizes (8-point, 24-point, etc) this would be considered as the font.
In this blog, I will be looking at some examples of people who created the typefaces we know and use today. These examples include: Garamond, Baskerville and Caslon.
Claude Garamond (1480) was a French type designer based in the city of Paris. He also worked as a publisher and punch-cutter during his active years. Garamond’s main job was to engrave punches (these were made from steel to create matrices). Many of his designs were based upon the leading designs created by punchcutter Francesco Griffo for the Venetian printer Aldus Manutius during the year of 1495. Garamond has significantly helped to create the typeface we know today as the ‘old-style serif’ design. These characters resemble a handwriting style but includes a more upright and robust design. The typeface is used regularly in many books and texts.
Many different contemporary versions have been created from the original typeface. Some of these include Adobe Garamond Pro and Monotype Garamond. Many of the contemporary typefaces created include bold weighted letters, slanted letters (Italics) or even letters that have a thinner weight to make them suitable for different uses in current modern times.
John Baskerville (1706) was an English industrialist who began a career as a teacher in the art of calligraphy in addition to being a gravestone carver. The typeface was created in the 1750’s and is categorised as serif. It is a reformed version of the old-style typefaces created in the 1400’s.
Baskerville started to revise the old-style serif typeface by increasing the contrast of both thick and thin strokes on each letter. This started to make the typeface look sharper as well as creating a ‘tapered’ design. In addition, Baskerville moved the axis of letters that were rounded and moved them into a more vertical position and made any strokes that were curved into a circular shape.
The typeface created is used today in many books and has been also been given a more contemporary style, including a bolder text which was not available in the 1700’s.
William Caslon (1693) was an English typefounder whose typeface revolutionised the English type design and helped to create an ‘English national typographic style’. Caslon worked as a Gunsmith engraving the locks and barrels on guns in addition to being an engraver of punches and a type designer. Many of his typefaces created were influenced by the ‘Dutch Baroque’ types mainly used in England before the time of Caslon. His typefaces were extremely popular and used for many different printed works, some of which were of high importance. In addition, the typeface was that popular that an expression was created, ‘When in doubt, use Caslon’.
Caslon’s typeface featured letter design in the style of ‘old-style’ serif and resembled the structure of handwriting. Both ascenders and descenders on the letters are short. He also designed different styles of each letter, varying in both size and detail.
However, after his death, these typefaces were no longer favoured as new typefaces had been introduced, but during the 1840’s, they were re-established. Many different contemporary Caslon types were created and are commonly used to this day.