Wednesday, 21 January 2009

New types for old

This beautiful cover image is from a booklet describing the Rotofoto process, a photomechanical composition system developed in the late 1930s by George Westover, who had worked for Monotype.* Rotofoto, Uhertype (a Hungarian–German system), and the American Intertype Fotosetter are interesting because they show hot-metal type designs being adapted for photocomposition, and setting a high standard right at the start of commercially viable photocomposition.

The Uhertype, whose types are comprehensively discussed by Christopher Burke in his book Active literature: Jan Tschichold and the New Typography, had a comprehensive programme of type design, including versions of Monotype’s Gill Sans and Deberny & Peignot’s ‘French Roman’. The Fotosetter’s first typeface seems to have been Garamond, chosen no doubt because it showed off the phototypesetter’s ability to handle kerning.

The Rotofoto, reflecting its roots within the Monotype Corporation, offered Times New Roman and Monotype Old Style series 2. It’s not clear whether these were redrawn to any degree, or simply photographed from pulls of Monotype-set metal type. The Monotype connection was necessary: the keyboard for the Rotofoto was a Monotype one, and the unit widths of Rotofoto designs would have had to match those of the parent Monotype font.

I’ll be talking more about these and other early phototypesetting machines and the types they used at the ATypI conference in St Petersburg in September.

* See Boag, Andrew, ‘Monotype and phototypesetting’, Journal of the Printing historical Society, new series, 2, p. 58


  1. Hi Luna,
    I am glad to find your blog on the net. I am researching about the phototypesetting and the necessary adjustments in the type design for a lecture I will give to my students in the UFPE. Hope all in Reading are fine and sound.

    Silvio Barreto Campello

  2. I found your article very interesting, did not suspect the existence of this program, thank you for sharing useful information!
    Richard Brown deal room

  3. I saw how my friend started earning excellent the online gambling for real money so I decided to try to play online casino

  4. 5 dni temu — With this in-depth newbie's guide, Betman you'll rapidly turn into an expert of the stay casino – together with stay roulette, stay blackjack, and stay ... While that’s all nicely and good, and comparatively simple for a casino newcomer to know, the variations of the roulette table format need explaining. Further, 18 of the numbers are purple, with the remainder are black. You can place 50/50 bets on the winning number being purple or black, or odd and even. You can also guess on the number being 1-18 or 19-36, plus on the winning number being in a selected part of the table.