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William Caslon Essay

2407 words - 10 pages

Look around and what do you see? You see letters forming creative words on this page, on TV and magazines. These letters form words which can be read in such a particular way. The typography behind the design seeks for the readers attention. The typography in design is the unique personality that identifies the product or advertisement, similar to fashion. Typography visually gives more to the idea behind the design. It is a way to call out and be heard without making a sound. It combines elements in new ways with different themes and ideas. The idea of typography has not changed since it was first created. The late seventieth century and early eighteenth century, type designers ...view middle of the document...

He was known as an English gunsmith and designer of many different typefaces. He was born in the village of Cradley, in Worcestershire, England in 1692. William began his career as an apprentice as a Loriner who made hardware for harnesses and spurs (Ball 70). This apprenticeship gave William experience in crafting. He later became an engraver of firearms from 1716-1719 (Ball 109). He engraved many firearms during those three years and Ball states, “The fact that Caslon is said to have been an ornamental engraver of gun-locks and barrels illustrates again the difficulty of recognizing a man’s trade” (72). William was a hard worker who gained experience from both as a Loriner and an engraver. He struggled to create well crafted work while being under appreciated. At the time people were not appreciative of the hard work that engravers or gunsmiths did. As he continued his career as a firearm engraver, he was also given the task of cutting type punches for various presses. He was surrounded by and worked with different types of typography. He enjoyed cutting type punches during his apprenticeship and learned many different techniques which would help him in the future as a type designer.
William opened his own engraving shop in London. Here, he was making tools for bookbinders as well as. As he created tools and engraved, a printer asked him to engrave type punches. John Watts had William engraving type that would be used in London (Ball 123). He engraved by using his hands to cut the punches. There was very little error in the work that William was doing while engraving typography. According the Macmillan, “It was his skill as an engraver that distinguished him” (64). Without his previous trades, the work that William was doing would not have been as detailed or perfect. Those skills that he learned throughout the years gave him an advantage in engraving typography. William engraved typefaces for the New Testament and punched font for Arabic typography (Ball 113). His roman typeface was an instant success and set an example for beauty and readability for all later type. The typeface that inspired William the most was Garamond created by Claude Garamond (Ball 274). William’s typeface became very similar to Garamond but more improved. According to Ball, “This is a fine specimen of the type design which, descending through two hundred years of French and Dutch printing, ultimately became a pattern for William Caslon to follow,” (291). As he started to engrave for printers, his constant surroundings by typefaces influenced him. Europe’s type was dominated by the French and Dutch typography. England at the time wanted a new typeface to call their own and one that would take control in typography. William, surround by all these typefaces, lead him to design and engrave his own typeface. His typeface was influenced by the Dutch, which was more ornamental, but easier to read. This typeface that he created was larger so the...

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