Am I looking for Caslon?

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James Robertson

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Aug 15, 1994, 11:45:43 PM8/15/94
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I am looking for the 'classic' font, that appears in old encyclopaedias and
formal documents. Its most distinctive aspect is its numerals. The one is
like a small capital 'I', and many of the other numbers drop below the
baseline (the '9' is one from memory).

I have been told this is Caslon, but all the copies of Caslon in my
Coreldraw collection have normal looking letters. Is this a product of
the computerisation of the font?

What font am I looking for?

Thanks in advance,

J
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James Robertson * jam...@extro.ucc.su.oz.au
Genetic algorithms * Neural Networks
Coding * Design * Desktop Publishing

Dylan McNamee

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Aug 16, 1994, 12:57:36 AM8/16/94
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In article <jamesr.777008743@extro> jam...@extro.ucc.su.OZ.AU (James Robertson) writes:
>I am looking for the 'classic' font, that appears in old encyclopaedias and
>formal documents. Its most distinctive aspect is its numerals. The one is
>like a small capital 'I', and many of the other numbers drop below the
>baseline (the '9' is one from memory).

You are referring to what is often called, in typographic circles,
"text" figures. The standard figures we see almost everywhere are
called "titling" figures. Classic typographic method dictates the
use of text figures within normal text, and titling figures only
in the context of fully capitalized text.

>I have been told this is Caslon, but all the copies of Caslon in my
>Coreldraw collection have normal looking letters. Is this a product of
>the computerisation of the font?

Having defined text figures, no, they are not unique to Caslon, though
some versions of Caslon do include them. Adobe, for example, sells
the "Adobe Caslon Expert Collection" set, which includes
text figures.

>What font am I looking for?

You're probably looking for an expert set, or a font that includes
what is often called "Old Style Figures." You definitely want to
match the figures with your body font.

You _could_, in a pinch, hack your own text figures, by scalping
shapes from the rest of the font. (This is an idea I first heard
from Pierre MacKay.) As you note, a shrunken "I" does for 1,
the "2" part of the 1/2 character does for 2, drop the 3, 4, 7, & 9,
and figure out the 5 & 0 for yourself. 6 is about the same.
Only do this if an adult is present, however, and please use caution.

dylan
<dy...@cs.washington.edu>

Harvey Fishman

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Aug 16, 1994, 1:19:24 AM8/16/94
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In <jamesr.777008743@extro> jam...@extro.ucc.su.OZ.AU (James Robertson) says

> I am looking for the 'classic' font, that appears in old encyclopaedias and
> formal documents. Its most distinctive aspect is its numerals. The one is
> like a small capital 'I', and many of the other numbers drop below the
> baseline (the '9' is one from memory).
>
> I have been told this is Caslon, but all the copies of Caslon in my
> Coreldraw collection have normal looking letters. Is this a product of
> the computerisation of the font?

That one looking like a small capital I sure sounds like Centaur. If you
have Corel 4 or 5, look at Venetian 301BT which is a good Centaur copy.
In many ways I like it better than the Monotype original as it includes a
lighter weight than is available in the Monotype sets. Venetian 301BT
also has semi-oldstyle figures (drop below the base-line). The real OSF
in the Monotype Expert Set are much more pronounced with this, but I find
the Bitstream ones to be nice and quaint.

Harvey

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Harvey Fishman |
fis...@panix.com | When in doubt, set it in Cheltenham and center it.
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Peter Flynn

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Aug 16, 1994, 5:03:51 PM8/16/94
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James Robertson (jam...@extro.ucc.su.OZ.AU) wrote:
:>I am looking for the 'classic' font, that appears in old encyclopaedias and

:>formal documents. Its most distinctive aspect is its numerals. The one is
:>like a small capital 'I', and many of the other numbers drop below the
:>baseline (the '9' is one from memory).
:>
:>I have been told this is Caslon, but all the copies of Caslon in my
:>Coreldraw collection have normal looking letters. Is this a product of
:>the computerisation of the font?

These are called "oldstyle" numerals and they are by no means unique to
Caslon: most Antiqua fonts up to the early years of this century had
them.

Despite it being fashionable to hate Computer Modern, it's probably the
ideal font for what you describe as "old encyclopaedias and formal documents"
as it has a lot of the features usually associated with those documents
(a wide set, small x-height, splayed serifs, oldstyle numerals as well as
lining ones, and an even grey tone). IMHO.

///Peter

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Cork, Ireland | Opinions are my own. | route to typographic excellence...

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