In studying types made in the hand punchcutting era, it is not uncommon to consider some famous figure to whom the design of a type has been attributed and ask "but did not his punchcutter contribute greatly, in interpreting his design." In this way, we raise the status of the punchcutter (and are happy to do so because hand punchcutting has been given an aura of mystery that it never possessed when it was an everyday craft).
Yet when we consider the 20th century equivalent of the hand punchcutter - the drawing office personnel without whom there would have been no path from letterform design to matrix making - we do not grant them equivalent status. Instead, we denigrate them as villains, obstructing with their French curves and T-squares the true artistic expression of the capital-D Designers. This is manifestly unfair, as their work in the creation of type was as important as that of anyone else. Drawing office personnel created the actual forms of every commercial type made in the metal type era. Yet while it is possible to identify several dozen punch/patrix/matrix makers, we know the names of only a very few type drafters.
[UK] Victor Lardent
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