On Sat, 22 Sep 2001 01:03:27 -0500, Dan Franklin <[log in to unmask]>
>I have no experience in altering fonts in Fontographer or FontLab so
>they can be used to print letterpress. I'd love to hear details from
>someone who has.
There are a variety of approaches to the letterpress configuration of
digital type for printing with photopolymer plates.
MM is one, but as you say, its has severe limitation in terms of the small
number of MM fonts that were actually produced.
Another approach is to use fonts straight out of the can. Again, only a few
are available. Hoefler’s HT Didot works well, some of the Monotype
Typography type, most of the Lanston Type, etc. The Lanston type is of
particular interest in that Giampi printed the original master patterns on a
Vandercook and then scanned and digitized these reverse proofs. Thus his
type is quite exacting of the original metal versions. Unfortunately, only
useful at text sizes if used in this manner. A problem with the Lanston type
is that one of the early distributors (FontHaus) ran the stuff through
Fontographer, stripping “unnecessary” characters out and altering the
settings. Lanston used Ikarus. (I assume FontHaus did this to standardize
their offerings within a certain price range.) So there is a bastard version
of the Lanston still out there. I have some of these for comparison purposes
in case anyone disputes this.
The relatively new multiple-sized fonts, such as ITC Bodoni (initially
intended as an MM) and ITC Founders Caslon (especially the latter in its new
version from WHCaslon) are a hopeful sign and a long awaited movement (not
just for letterpress).
After these, editing down the stroke weights in Fontographer or FontLab is
the only alternative. This is useful for creating relative optical size
rankings as well. I use the old Altys “underground manual” for the
procedural process. I believe parts of this are still available in some of
the various FOG technical reports that can be found at Macromedia’s site.
I published a step-by-step approach to letterpress configuration using FOG
in a monograph on letterpress printing with photopolymer plates. For your
interest, this section is available as a downloadable text file at
go to: Files/How-to/Font modification sequence