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Caslon A brief study

Debanjana Saha. Sem IV, UG Graphic Design. 2011 TypographyII, Tarun Deep Girdher and Nidhi Sah National Institute of Design


CONTENTS

Introduction Historical context 16th and 17th century typography The name and its influence The designer The old metal cuts of Caslon Similarity with other typefaces Types of Caslon


Study of Caslon Characteristic features Comparison of Caslon Ampersand of Caslon Numericals of Caslon Ligatures of the Caslon Application


INTRODUCTION

Known as the ‘Script of the Kings’, Caslon was the most used font in the British Empire. It was designed by William Caslon, an English typographer, in the year 1734. He began engraving government marks on gunlocks and barrels in 1716. In 1720 he exposed himself to more type designs and was funded to form a type foundry. He quickly became one of the noteworthy typographers and many documents written of that time were primarily printed on Caslon typeface, including The Declaration of Independence. After William Caslon’s death in 1766, his type continued to hold significance in design and print because of the readability of the typeface. One of the most notable signs of Caslon is a strong contrast between the thick and thin strokes. Known as the “script of Kings”, Caslon’s letters are known to be graceful and balanced. Caslon holds a timeless elegance and significance in type history. In 1990, Adobe produced a redesign set of the classic typeface, known as adobe Caslon. There are other digital versions of the typeface, including Caslon 554, and ITC Caslon 224.


Caslon Book


HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Caslon was designed in the 18th Century William Caslon, a British typographer. During the 18th century, the Enlightenment culminated in the French and American revolutions. Philosophy and science increased in prominence. Philosophers dreamed of a brighter age. This dream turned into a reality with the French Revolution, although it was later compromised by excess of the terror of Maximilien Robespierre. Great Britain became a major power worldwide with the defeat of France in America, in the 1760s and the conquest of large parts of India. However, Britain lost much of its North American colonies after the American Revolution, which was actively helped by the French. The Industrial Revolution started in Britain around the 1750s with the beginning of the steam engine. Despite its modest beginnings in the 18th century, it would radically change human society.

Steam engine first came about in 1748

Storming of the Bastille in 1789


16th AND 17th CENTURY TYPOGRAPHY

The advancement of the printing industry and the Industrial Revolution of the mid 18th century presented new opportunities for graphic design. Few of the early works of typography during the 16th and 17th centuries are as following:

Jenson’s Roman typeface 16th century

Gutenberg’s The Bible in 1455

Robert Grandjon 1590


Caslon is used widely as text in books and magazines


THE NAME AND ITS INFLUENCE

Caslon Old Face was designed in 1725 by the English gunsmith William Caslon. Before he started creating his own type designs, he was an apprentice to a London engraver and cut government marks on guns. In 1720 he opened his own typefoundry and cast typefaces for the book binder John watts. His exquisite craftsmanship was recognized by british printers who offered him to design a face in Arabic to be used for the printing of the new testament as an attempt to introduce Christianity in the orient. A sample of the script along with Caslon’s name in Roman letters were distributed as an advertisement to other printers. This is how Caslon was born and named after its creator. Many consider Caslon Old face was the first typeface of Great Britain.Its design was influenced by dutch typefaces which were very popular I the island at that time. He was particularly impressed with the work of Dutch designers, Christoffel Van Djicks and Dirk Voskens. William Caslons designs were reffered to as much more delicate and exotic and soon after the introduction, they dramatically reduced the use of continental type. In 1734, Caslon published a catalogue featuring the 38 typefaces he had designed so far among which were Armenian, Etruscan, Hebrew and Caslon gothic. The creation of Caslon Old Face was one of the many significant contributions made by designers of that period which are still widely use today.Caslon was used by British kings who considered it serious and elegant. It was utilized in many workd of high significance, including the first copy of the declaration of independence of the USA, published in1776. It was the most commonly used typeface by the first British settlers in North America and was imported in the former British colonies.


William Caslon I


THE DESIGNER

William Caslon (1692 – 1766), also known as William Caslon I, was an English gunsmith and designer of typefaces. He was born at Cradley, Worcestershire, and in 1716 started business in London as an engraver of gun locks and barrels, and as a bookbinder’s tool cutter. Having contact with printers, he was induced to fit up a type foundry, largely through the encouragement of William Bowyer. The distinction and legibility of his type secured him the patronage of the leading printers of the day in England and on the continent.

Caslon Foundry 1902.


OLD METAL CUTS OF CASLON

7 Caslon 4p m punch 850

original and cut


SIMILARITY WITH OTHER TYPEFACES

Caslon’s earliest design dates to 1722. Caslon is cited as the first original typeface of English origin, but type historians like Stanley Morison and Alfred F. Johnson, a scientist who worked at the British Museum, did point out the close similarity of Caslon’s design to the Dutch Fell types cut by Voskens and other type cut by the Dutchman Van Dyck.

Dutch Fell type Roman

Caslon English Typeface


TYPES OF CASLON

With the rise of hot metal typesetting beginning at the close of the 19th century, existing foundry metal typefaces such as Caslon’s had to be adapted to specific typesetting technology. This was true again with phototypesetting, mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, and then again with digital typesetting technology, mostly since the mid 1980s. As a result of that, and the lack of trademark on the name “Caslon” by itself, there are many typefaces called “Caslon” with some other distinguishing element, which reproduce the original designs in varying degrees of faithfulness. Various versions of the Caslon has been developed throughout the world. Though the skeleton remains the same, unique features have been added to distinguish among various type foundries found throughout the world.There are 13 variations of Caslon found in the world today. Caslon Old Face Caslon 641 William Caslon ITC Founders Caslon Caslon 224 Caslon 54

Founders Caslon Adobe Caslon Big Caslon Caslon 3 LTC Caslon Caslon 471


STUDY OF THE TYPEFACE

Caslon is a classic Old Style typeface. Based on Humanist writing style and Roman inscriptions, old style typeface has the following characteristics:

serifs are almost always bracketed.

head serifs are almost angled.

OLD STYLE subtle differences between thick and thin lines.


CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES

concave extended apex

large oblique serif

two part tail

almost vertical serif

no spur good contrast

lightly raised serif


pear shaped ear

small foot

wide bowl

small triangle

small flat serifs


COMPARISON

Garamond

A E J Q R

Caslon

Baskerville

cupped apex of A

right diagonally bent serif

the hook of J

tail of Q

serif of the leg is thicker

A E J Q R


AMPERSAND OF THE CASLON

The ampersand of Caslon is perhaps the most interesting form in the whole typeface. It distinguishes Caslon from the rest of the typefaces because of its skeleton.


NUMERALS OF THE CASLON

The numbers of Caslon are quite a different set to the other typefaces. The contrast between thick and thin strokes are one such unique characteristic.


LIGATURES OF THE CASLON

Ligatures of Big Caslon

A ligature is the combination of multiple characters into a single glyph. Ligatures were originally employed when setting metal blocks of type as a means to deal with letters such as “f� that reach beyond their allotted space.

Ligatures of Adobe Caslon Pro


APPLICATION

Caslon is easily the number one typeface, dearest to the hearts of printers all over the world. “WHEN IN DOUBT USE CASLON” is an old maxim among typographers. Its durability is partly due to the fact that it is a typeface devoid of doodads, eccentricities or extraneous embellishments. Its pure Roman “clean” look makes for easy legibility and fitness for most any typographic task.


Caslon was first used in the Declaration of Independence of America, 1776


Mills and Boon

The asterix of caslon used as an identity for a refreshment

a catalogue for ITC Caslon


Caslon used by Dalton And Maag A poster of Men’s Health

Depauw University uses Caslon for its Identity


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cory, Adams and Mackay Ltd THE WESTERN HERITAGE OF TYPE DESIGN Henry Carter A VIEW OF EARLY TYPOGRAPHY UPTO ABOUT 1600 J. I. Biegeleisen WORKBOOK OF THE TYPEFACES Daniel Berkeley Updike PRINTING TYPES VOLUME-2 H. S. Warford DESIGN FOR PRINT PRODUCTION Stanley. C. Hlasta PRINTING TYPES AND HOW TO USE THEM www.wikipedia.com www.typophile.com


Type set in Ideal Sans, designed by Hoefler and Frere Jones


Study of Caslon  

For my typography course, we had to critically study a typeface each and create a publication for it. I had selected Caslon, by William Casl...

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