Custom proofs: back on the table
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.