Monday, January 28, 2008

An Open Letter to Black Letter Print, 2008

Black Letter Print really does suck. Really really hard. They totally had roman typeface by the 16th century too, so I don't want to hear about early print and this bullshit being the only style available.


Doug said...

I guess at least it isn't written in Carolingian minuscule. I wish MS Word still had Carolingian minuscule as an available font. ENC1101 students would have shuddered at the very thought of taking the TA who made everyone type everything out in Carolingian minuscule--with one inch margins to boot!
Bonus: When you type papers in Carolingian minuscule, MS Word would automatically translate it into Latin. That would be totally bonum.

Sarah Redmond said...

I think GT actually makes you do that. Fancy fonts are sort of his thing.

You know, I think even early printer were aware of how much black letter print blew. They always put proper nouns like names and places in roman type (which you can see with the name "Brewen" in the example). For me, that just serves as another reminder of how lame black letter is.

Jeff Lee said...

Hi! Just found LOL Manuscripts this morning, and I think it's awesome!

Totally in agreement with you on the blackletter thing. In the latter half of the sixteenth century, there was a handful of orthographic reformers who tried to expand the alphabet into their own personal precursors to the IPA.

Two of these gentlemen, John Hart (Orthography, 1569) and William Bullokar (William Bullokars Booke at large, for the Amendment of Orthographie for English speech, 1580) wrote treatises which first proposed and explained their new alphabets, and then used those alphabets for the remainder of the book.

Hart chose a nice italic typeface for his new orthography, but Bullokar - though the end of the book shows his alphabet in roman, italic, blackletter and secretary hand - chose blackletter as his favorite (and used it for a translation of Æsop's Fables into his orthography), which of course made it even less legible than normal blackletter.

Still, I managed to use his excellent specimens for a blackletter font with the 'long s', 'half r' and other variant letter forms, so I suppose I can't complain too much. (If you're interested, I've also made a matched roman/italic pair based on Renaissance forms; all three fonts are freeware.)

leftcoast said...

I agree. Black letter print does suck.