New Type Distribution

I just received some newly cast Baskerville 14 point type. The font also includes small caps and Italics. Now I have to distribute it. I can see the small caps easily enough, but I can’t seem to see anything that looks like Italic text. Is there a “trick”?

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Before laying your type in the case you could make a so-called ‘carbon print’ from it, using old-fashioned carbon paper and your press. Put a sheet of carbon paper with it’s copying side up on your still tied up type, and pull a proof on a sheet of paper. This gives you an idea of what your fount contains and will help you laying it properly in the case. It also shows if there are problems or defaults with it. Typefoundries would often put a small slip of paper in the packed founts suggesting you to do this.

Thanks, this will be useful. I had intended to use a brayer and ink, but I do have some carbon paper. After nearly an hour of scrutinizing my new type with a 10x Hastings Triplet, I finally emailed the foundry… who informed me that I had not actually ordered any Italic type. So I had been carefully searching for something that did not yet exist. I was a bit relieved as I took it as confirmation that I was not going blind. Then again… I had forgotten to order something and subsequently thought that I had ordered it. 63 is too young to be going senile. Right? Right!?

I don’t think that you’re going senileā€¦ But, normally when you order type, you won’t get roman and italic founts wrapped up together. You see, typefoundries have their ways of doing things. And, pulling a proof is always very useful in that way you keep a record of what you have bought and when.

Well my current state of mind is somewhat questionable according to many, but I gotta use what I got.

I am about 1/4 of the way in getting my new type distributed. I have a few suggestions for anyone else attempting this. You professional folks who wish to take me to the woodshed over something, no problem. I’m still learning.

1. If at all possible, if you order small caps, put them in a separate order. I’m told that there is a difference between a small cap “o” and a lower case “o”, but it is damn hard to see it even under 10x magnification. There are others as well.
2. Get an old Bausch & Lomb Hastings triplet of at least 7x and put it on a string around your neck.
3. Banish the cat from the print shop unless you want “help” with the sorting process.
4. Don’t just dump it out and start sorting from the pile. The type is shipped in a certain order. Determining what this order is can be a bit of a challenge, but the foundry can and usually will help if you ask politely. If you wish to learn how to recognize letters and learn the case at the same time though, by all means go for it!
5. If you order type “by the pound”, bear in mind that thirty pounds of type is a LOT of type. Plan on spending a good solid week of sorting if you are not intimate with the California job case. Also, plan on possibly needing more than one type case.
6. With some fonts, you WILL have characters that you have never seen before and are not in the standard California job case schema. Put these in little piles or in zip-lock bags until you decide where you are going to put them. If you just pick an empty compartment, before you finish, you WILL forget where you put, for example, the left-hand single quotation mark or that vertical line that nobody knows what to do with.
7. So far as minding the p’s & q’s, I know that the conventional way to handle type is “nick up”, that said, for purposes of distribution, I would suggest the opposite. This way you can easily determine which way is “up” as the upper case letters will all be sitting in the galley right-side up. Now you can easily see if it is a “b”/”d” or a “p”/”q”. Then, when looking at the type, which will be a reversed image, if it looks like a “b” then it is a “d” and if it looks like a “p”, then it is a “q”.
8. Plan to have made mistakes when you think you might be finished. You can go ahead and check each compartment if you wish, or just use a “dirty” case until it eventually gets “clean” again from use. Winters in Wisconsin are long, so I will probably wait until November to start checking my cases.
9. Vacuum the case out BEFORE you start sorting type into it.
10. Make the carbon paper proof as suggested above.
11. Write the name of the type font down someplace before you toss the paperwork it came with. I have three fonts that I cannot identify. That will occupy another winter day.
12. Don’t be in a hurry.