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Re: Letterpress & digital typefaces



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Someone wrote:

> evenness of the digital "cutting" (and people are working on this), and
> the absolute flatness of the plate (as opposed to the resilence of type
> hitting paper), often lend a monotony to the printed type.

It never ceases to amaze me when something that was considered to be bad
& sloppy workmanship in the old metal type days suddenly is used as an
argument - in the digital era - for using metal type. In the old days,
discriminating printers spent quite alot of time perfecting make-ready
to achieve as even an impression as possible, i.e. adjusting for the
differences in height between different areas in the metal type forme.
These craftsmen would have been very happy campers indeed if someone
would have offered them absolutely flat metal type formes.

Furthermore, a polymer plate is ofcourse more resilient than a metal
type forme - not less. This is easy to check by pressing your fingernail
into a polymer plate, or by some simple tests with a durometer hardness
tester. A metal type forme that is resilient is either not locked up
clapped properly.

There are several things that talk in favour for using photoengraver's
plates (zinc or polymer), e.g. less makeready, the easiness to achieve
perfect imposition and, at least when using TeX, di-HYPH etc, the power
of superior line-breaking algorithms. The problems I see are mostly
about typefaces, i.e. that v.few digital typefaces are issued in
different weights for different sizes.

Sincerely,
Mats Broberg
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ARS IMPRIMIS PRESS
Hauptvägen 102
SE-123 58 Farsta — Sweden
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Telephone: +46 8 604 59 81
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