There is no such thing as a typeface called “Caslon.” Caslon was, in fact, the person to produce a full range of roman and italic faces at all sizes. But he was working in the 18th century, and had no concept that different sizes had to match in design. —That idea only became established in the late 19th century. Furthermore, he was a kind of revivalist himself, taking as his models faces from different Dutch and English punch cutters. So his different sizes have quite different designs. For example, here is 72, 60 and 48-point Caslon Old Face from the original specimens of Caslon type foundary 1924. Terminal of a small a at 60-point is shorter. Capital N at 48-point is wider then N at 60-point and the small s at 60-point is wider then s at 48 point. Essentially these are two different typefaces, by modern standards.
The story of William Caslon, and the type face which bears his name, is a tale that has often been told, but is one that is well worth repeating because of its interest to all who are in any way concerned with printing, either as producers or as users of the printer‚s product.Before telling the story of William Caslon, and pointing out the many virtues, as well as the few shortcomings. of Caslon type, it may be well to glance brieﬂy. at the status of printing before Caslon’s time. By so doing the reader will gain a more clear conception of the importance of this type face, and will better understand the classes of work to which it is best adapted Caslon did not invent the type face to which his name is given, as so many superficial writers on typography assert. Type faces are not invented. A type face can not be invented. It does not spring full grown from the brain of its designer, but is an evolution from an existing form. Such it was with Caslon type. To discover the source from whence it came it is necessary to go back to the Italian manuscript books produced before printing was invented. But since this is not an historical discussion, there is no need of tracing its descent further than to Jenson, who commenced printing at Venice in 1470.More or less trustworthy chroniclers tell us that Jenson learned the art of printing from Gutenberg, a French king having sent him to Mainz to discover the secret and introduce it in France. Meanwhile the king died, and his successor not being interested in the art, Jenson moved to Venice and started to produce that long series of beautiful volumes which will always be an inspiration to the printer who loves his craft. Characterized by dignified simplicity, correctly proportioned, with every element in harmony, these books set a high standard indeed—a standard that, considering the mechanical limitations of that period, has given to Jenson a fame that will always endure.
On the right is shown a reproduction, considerably reduced, of a page from the first book Jenson printed—the “Eusebius” of 1470. It is but fair to assume that this type face is an almost exact copy of the style of writing then in use in Italian manuscript books.
Over 250 years old, Caslon is a typeface of remarkable durability. lt is also the oldest typeface for which the original matrices are still available. Now, this milestone of typeface development has been successfully melded with one of lTC’s most popular original display typeface releases, lTC/LSC Caslon No. 223 to create a new design for text and display usage: ITC Caslon No. 224. After exhaustive study and trial development, Ed Benguiat has created a new Caslon typestyle eminently able to meet the requirements of modem typographic usage. The result of his efforts is a highly readable typeface, alive with warmth and dignity. A large x-height, smooth weight transitions, and careful structuring of hairline strokes have made ITC Caslon No. 224 ideally suitable to a wide variety of typographic applications. lTC Caslon No. 224 is available in Book, Medium, Bold, and Black weights with corresponding italics. Small caps are available in the lightest weights and oldstyle ﬁgures have been designed for the complete family. Designer Ed Benguiat is well known for his many typeface designs. More than ten typeface families in the ITC Library are the fruit of his exceptional talent. He developed the ITC Avant Garde Gothic“ Condensed, ITC Bookman'," lTC Lubalin Graph" Oblique, ITC Korinnaf and ITC Souvenir’ families; and was re sponsible for the design of ITC Barcelona'," lTC Bauhaus?‘ lTC Benguiat° with Condensed, ITC Benguiat Gothic'," ITC Modem No. 2161“ and ITC Tiffany families. ITC Caslon No. 224'," his most recent design, is in the same tradition of excellence as Mr. Benguiat’s earlier creations. Each weight and style is presented here in a full range of text and display sizes commonly used today. The letter and word spacing selected for the sample settings shown in this booklet represent what, in the opinion of ITC, is the most handsome presentation of the typeface as created by the designer. Although identical typeface art is supplied to all ITC Manufacturing Subscribers, their conversion of the face to fit their particular machines may vary slightly from one manufacturer to another depending upon the mechanical and optical characteristics of each piece of equipment. This sometimes results in a slight difference between the sizes shown here and those available on the particular phototypesetter you are using. The copyfitting table on the back cover, however, accommodates all sizes and all systems. The key to its use is the overall length of the lowercase alphabet “a-z” measured in points (or picas). In critical cases, it is well to obtain an accurate “a-z” length from your typographer. But where extreme accuracy is not required, the lengths shown at the right of each copy block in this brochure will suffice.
A modern attempt to capture the spirit of Caslon by William Berkson currently used in Boston magazine. Although not aimed at being fully authentic in every respect, the typeface closely follows Caslon's original specimen sheet in many respects, including varied slopes for the italic letters. The weight is heavier, to compensate for changes in printing processes.
Caslon 540 was designed by the staff of American Type Founders and released in 1902. The typeface was originally intended for use in advertising and is based on Caslon 471 with shortened descenders. It does not include a bold weight.