Author Topic: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"  (Read 376 times)

Recusant

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"But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« on: September 16, 2017, 03:48:12 PM »
My interest in typefaces (more commonly called "fonts" now) goes back many years, to my childhood in fact. Later, I used to design and create posters and album covers for friends' bands (by hand--this was before computer graphics really took off), and had several books of typefaces from which I would glean interesting letterforms, or use as catalogues if my 'clients' wanted to choose their own. So this story caught my eye. I expect the topic may be a bit dry for many members here, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

"Meet the Font Detectives Who Ferret Out Fakery" | Wired

Quote
What does international political corruption have to do with type design? Normally, nothing—but that’s little consolation for the former prime minister of Pakistan. When Nawaz Sharif and his family came under scrutiny earlier this year thanks to revelations in the Panama Papers, the smoking gun in the case was a font. The prime minister’s daughter, Maryam Sharif, provided an exculpatory document that had been typeset in Calibri—a Microsoft font that was only released for general distribution nearly a year after the document had allegedly been signed and dated.

A “Fontgate” raged. While Sharif’s supporters waged a Wikipedia war over the Calibri entry, type designer Thomas Phinney quietly dropped some history lessons about the typeface on Quora, and found himself caught in a maelstrom of global reporting. Phinney said that because Calibri has been in use for several years, people have forgotten that it’s a relatively new font. This has made Calibri a hot topic in document forgery as fakers fail to realize that this default Microsoft Word typeface will give itself away.

This wasn’t Phinney's first forgery rodeo. He calls himself a font detective—an expert called upon in lawsuits and criminal cases to help determine documents’ authenticity based on forensic analysis of letterforms used, and sometimes the ways in which they appear on paper. Phinney even IDs each of his cases with a Sherlock-Holmesian title: The Dastardly Divorce, The Quarterback Conundrum, and The Presidential Plot.

Detecting fraud via fonts isn’t as sexy as sleuthing art forgery; it often involves tedious measurements with digital calipers, examinations under loupes and microscopes, charts that track the slight differences between two versions of the Times Roman face, or evidence that a particular form of office printer didn’t exist at the document’s dated execution.

Even so, such measurements can be worth millions—and can even be lucrative, for the handful of experts (maybe a dozen) who have hung out a font-detective shingle.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Dave

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2017, 05:13:00 PM »
Interesting, very interesting! Thanks Recusant.

These sort of deteciuve stories are fascinating, as is forensic work. In some cases a spectrographic analysis of the ink on a document can provide evidence as to its date of writing, but I would guess that with hundreds of "refillers" etc (and does every printer manufacturer formulate their own unique inks?) this would not be feasible for inkjets.

Interesting also to hear you are into type face styles. I have agonised for ages sometimes when designing a document. I like nice clean type faces, Helvetica, Arial and all the rest, but have had to judge what another might like. I have had "fights" for clarity and ease of reading before now! (Used to design ads for local businesses in the village mag and did a bit of form design work.)
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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2017, 05:21:49 PM »
I am interested in all design-related issues, so thank you, Recusant. Have you seen the movie Helvetica by Gary Hustwit?

I also agonize over the correct choice of a typeface. I remember doing manual setting with a product called Letraset in my thesis writing student days.

hermes2015

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2017, 05:37:57 PM »
I forgot to mention another good documentary I can recommend called Linotype: The Film. Link: http://www.linotypefilm.com/

Dave

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2017, 05:49:11 PM »
I am interested in all design-related issues, so thank you, Recusant. Have you seen the movie Helvetica by Gary Hustwit?

I also agonize over the correct choice of a typeface. I remember doing manual setting with a product called Letraset in my thesis writing student days.

Aaaah! Letraset! Not to be done in a hurry, very careful spacing, especially if centered text. I used to lightly pencil in the letters over the line where possible, to much of a chance if concentrating on alignment so hard you miss a letter out! So my typo record goes back that far!

I have also done type setting, with quoins in chases, for hand presses back in the 60s, we had a "printing club" on the RAF camp in Bahrain. But we only had four different faces, each in two sizes, a serif, sans serif, serif italic and a script IIRC.
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hermes2015

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2017, 06:06:48 PM »
I was going to propose a game where we suggest which typefaces we think express the characters of some of our members, but I see there is a restricted list in the "Font Face" dropdown. I would like to think that I am Helvetica.

Recusant

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2017, 06:39:26 PM »
I expect all of us who worked in any sort of design before the 90s are familiar with Letraset.  ;D

Thanks for the reminisces, and the film recommendations. Brought to mind The Last Punchcutter.

As for the game, as a typeface I'm maybe a bit schizoid and would find it hard to settle on one.  Both Caslon and the Art Nouveau of the Paris Metro are near the top of the list.  ;)

« Last Edit: September 16, 2017, 07:48:27 PM by Recusant »
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2017, 01:00:47 AM »
Interesting. I did not know that there was such a thing as a font detective!  :sherlock3:

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2017, 03:27:38 AM »
I took a typesetting class back in the early 90's. I loved it!
I think I'm a combination of Park Avenue Font, and Comic Sans Font:notsure:
If there would've been a, "font club" I would've joined it.  :grin:






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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2017, 03:50:40 AM »
Any one old enough to remember the Speedball handbook of type faces that could be done with Speedball pens?

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2017, 04:33:39 AM »
If I could take a calligraphy course I would like to write with a feather pen like medieval scribes did. I think it's very pleasing to the googly eye. :tellmemore:



(Medieval illuminations are just beautiful).
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Recusant

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2017, 06:22:30 AM »
Any one old enough to remember the Speedball handbook of type faces that could be done with Speedball pens?

Would that be this one? I didn't have that book, but I certainly recognize some of the typefaces from books that I did have. I used Rapidograph pens almost exclusively, but probably would have been able to get quicker results if I'd tried Speedball nibs.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 06:36:48 AM by Recusant »
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


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hermes2015

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2017, 08:15:18 AM »
Any one old enough to remember the Speedball handbook of type faces that could be done with Speedball pens?

Would that be this one? I didn't have that book, but I certainly recognize some of the typefaces from books that I did have. I used Rapidograph pens almost exclusively, but probably would have been able to get quicker results if I'd tried Speedball nibs.

Those pages are beautiful. I'm sure even our younger members would agree.

Recusant

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Re: "But the Deskjet Didn't Come Out Until 1988"
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2017, 04:50:25 PM »
[GBI: German Bold Italic video]

Heh, an actual font was created for that single, called by one designer who liked it a lot "a sick classic vector techno font."

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken