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Custom proofs: back on the table

March 16th, 2009 by Noam Berg

I spoke on Friday with Michael Bixler, who was very receptive to the work I wanted to do. He estimated that he could print me up a “synopsis” of Van Dijck in one or two sizes for fifty bucks. How about that for competitive? This is great news, it means that getting commissioned proofs done is once again a feasible option. I was upset about having to compromise on that front. No longer!

This weekend I worked on digitizing the specimens of Van Dijck roman and italic found in the Atlas of Typeforms, using Scanfont 4 for the work. To say the least, I’m unimpressed with Scanfont. The file size it can work with is pretty limited. The way it scales outlines when importing into Fontlab seems to be inconsistent. I imported the upper- and lower-case roman using the same settings, into the same font file, and the uppercase came out larger than it was in the specimen. I had to mess around with manually scaling the lowercase and figures to make things match.In a perfect world, I would have imported the whole specimen in one fell swoop, but Scanfont has an upper limit on how wide a file can be. It’s not as bad in Scanfont 5, but we only have 4 at the studio. This means I had to break up my specimens and import letters in several shifts. It’s almost worth the effort to do it one-by-one like I used to, just to know that all the characters are to-scale. Sometimes I wonder if the folks at Fontlab Inc. have a special committee whose only purpose is to ensure a level of mediocrity is maintained across the product line. I might look into a better way of doing this…perhaps tracing in Illustrator or some other software that can handle a large file size. My original scans from Chelmaxioms were at 3600 (or was it 3200?) DPI, this time I scanned at 1200 DPI. I think people generally work in the 300-600 DPI range for this sort of thing, but since I’m trying to capture fine details I need higher res.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s a PDF specimen of what I have so far. Want to play with the fonts themselves? Here are TTF files for the roman and italic. Feedback is always welcome.

Posted in Design, technology, Thesis, Typography

2 Responses

  1. Daddy

    Nice specimen–lots of personality!

  2. micah

    hey there, i stumbled across your blog as i was googlin’ to see if monotype van dijck had ever been revived. i’m at RIT, studying typography under chuck bigelow, and i’m working on a project which your work on reviving van dijck would come in handy for. it’s hard to briefly describe, but i’m essentially looking at metrics and trying to track if and how they might change in clusters and patterns (perhaps) over time. mind if i throw your van dijck into the mix? drop me an email if you want to discuss (uh, i couldn’t find your email address hereabouts)…

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About the Mad Scientist Running this Show

Noam Berg is a graduate Student in the Design and Technology MFA program at Parsons School for Design in New York City. He is also the (debatably) creative force behind Exfish Studio. Noam is obsessed with old vacuum tubes, type design, computers, guitars and comic books. Noam likes Thai sweet chili sauce, hats, suits & ties, Wacom tablets, Japanese green tea (with the toasted rice), nerdy science girls, many varieties of music, SLR cameras, AnarchoJudaism, lithography and pocket watches. Noam's not a big fan of cell phones, the cool kids, ugly and over-used fonts (you know who you are!) and talking about himself in the third person. Seriously, this is really weird. I'm gonna stop doing it now.