Archive for the 'Typesetting' Category

Henry Bowers’ diary

21 August 2011

Henry Robertson Bowers was a member of Robert Scott’s second Antarctic expedition, and one of the party of five who reached the South Pole in January 1912. He kept a diary throughout his time in Antarctica. It is now the property of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, who are publishing it for the first time. We are delighted that they have chosen us to print the book. It will be set in Monotype Imprint, issued by the Monotype Corporation in 1912.

The book is currently being planned. It will probably be set in 10/11 point, and we’re doing tests, calculations and estimates to decide on paper and number of pages.

We intend to Tweet about the project as it progresses.



Wonky type

16 January 2011

When Brian Webb briefed us about this Double Crown Club invitation, we asked if he’d mind if the type and the panel were printed square on the page. We didn’t fancy imposing a forme that wasn’t all right angles. He thought it would look better if they weren’t straight, so we said we’d see what we could do.

The panel was a piece of wood letter printed upside down. We put a couple of quads in the forme to create the angle. When it was printed we set the 18 pt Gill Bold in a block the same dimensions as the wood letter and locked it in the same forme. To our pleasure, not only was the type held firmly in place, but it was only 3 pt away from the position we wanted.

Down in the Tube station

15 September 2010
We snapped these posters for the new book by the great John Le Carré in London Underground last night. It was a particular pleasure, as we had supplied the type setting. They are part of a series of eight designed by The Assembly, which we are told will be all over Tube and rail stations for the next two weeks. Le Carré 3

Le Carré 2

Le Carré 1

Pressure regulators and metal splashes

21 August 2010

Working with the Monotype composition caster has shown us just how sensitive it is to air pressure. Air is used to raise metal pins that determine how far the die case can move in each cycle, and therefore which character is cast. If the pressure is too high the wrong pins can be raised and an incorrect character is cast. If the pressure is too low the pins may not rise, or rise too slowly, and again, the wrong character is cast.

We tried fitting a second regulator to the air supply in an attempt to maintain even pressure. It did help, but we were still getting more typos than we were happy with. We thought that the trouble might be that there were two air pipes: one to control the pins and the other to cool the die case. Both were positioned after the new regulator. Changing it round (and buying some jubilee clips that tighten up without breaking) so that the cooling tube comes off before the second regulator has made an enormous difference.

That’s not to say that everything is perfect now. This week the pump kept sticking, and we had an enormous splash of molten metal, which meant dismantling the mould to clean it out. Nick, who is doing most of the casting, thinks that now that we’re running the machine 2-3 days a week it’ll bed in and these problems will diminish.

Monotype at last

18 May 2010

Yesterday we  cast a full galley of type for the first time. We’d been getting a whole load of inconsistencies before, like rogue commas at the beginning of lines. We thought we’d tried everything, and we were about to unhitch the computer interface and have a go at casting a paper spool to see if we could find where the fault lay. We had another go before doing that, and Nick did some very fine adjustments to the pressure of the air going to the caster. That did the trick.

Our attempts to get the Monotype working have been interfering with the rest of out work. We have started work on The Taming of the Shrew, and we’re not as far along as we should be.

There’s been another distraction, because Phil is giving a talk at the Edward Johnston Foundation Ditchling Seminar on Sunday.

Monotype at Hand & Eye

5 December 2009

We’re pretty busy at the moment. As well as printing Christmas cards we’re getting ready for a new challenge. On 17 December we’re installing our own Monotype casters. We expect that it’s going to take some time before we’ll have learnt enough to run them commercially, but we believe they’re going to open up exciting possibilities.

At present we’re booking movers and electricians prior to re-organising the workshop. Once we have the machines in we’ll be putting together a list of the matrices we hold and starting to get to grips with type casting.