Type Design and Printing: Background information when reading Just My Type

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Just My Type

A Book About Fonts

by Simon Garfield

Just My Type by Simon Garfield
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2011, 356 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2012, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Type Design and Printing

These days, typefaces are designed using computer programs such as Macromedia Fontographer, but in the early days of type, each was made by hand using basic tools. There were three products that together formed the backbone of the process by which type was developed: the mold, the matrix, and the final piece also known as a "sort."

To create one letter, a basic punch in the shape of the letter was chiseled into some kind of pliable metal, usually copper. This formed the matrix for one letter and could be used over and over again. Many such matrices packed a mold.

Printing sort

Essentially, a mold contained many matrices for different letters in a grid pattern. The bottom part of the mold housed all the letter matrices and the top part locked over them leaving only the letter shapes exposed. To create the type, a molten alloy was poured over the mold - this alloy made most commonly of lead, antimony, and tin, would fill the interstices created by the matrices in the mold. Once cooled, ...

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