Type Anatomy: Abby Larson

I have chosen to write about Bertha S. Goudy: First Lady of Printing for this blog post.

A biography about Bertha Goudy, written by Frederic William and published in 1958 by The Distaff Side, New York.

This book was published in 1958 and was written in English. The typeface changes throughout the book and among chapters. It varies between a calligraphic style and a standard serif font. I am going to focus on the calligraphic typeface. The first letter in the chapter has been stylized to match the rest of the book. In this case, it is a red ‘I’ with a flourish that appears to be a red leaf. The following black typeface appears to be handwritten or printed with a very irregular typeface. If you look closely, you can see that the letter ‘d’ is written in two different ways. This is also seen with the ‘e’. In the second line, the ‘e’s in where and the ‘e’ in begin are written differently. This is also seen in the word ‘because’ at the start of the third line. In looking for a pattern of when the different variations of these letters are used, I found that the alternate ‘d’ is used only when it is the last letter, or second to last letter in a word. The ‘d’ that looks more customary is used at the start of words and in the middle of words. I wasn’t able to identify a pattern among the variant ‘e’s.

This page gives the reader the impression of importance, prominence, and significant

A biography about Bertha Goudy, written by Frederic William and published in 1958 by The Distaff Side, New York.

meaning, especially in comparison to the page that comes before it. The font is the biggest contributor that this text comes across the way it does. The color of the first letter also plays a role in this impression.

I also found that the capital G has a descender, which is interesting since most capitals do not have descenders by convention. The lowercase letters strictly stay within the x-height line and all of the ascenders and descenders are the same height as well. The synchronic uniformity is emphasized by the comparatively short ascenders and descenders. These elements do not vary much from the x-height.

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