Rimmer's Method for Stern

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Do you understand what this man has done for you? He's smoothed out Goudy! - Theo Rehak. ATF 2010 [1].

[This chapter is just sketched in at present. But in any case you really need to get the film Making Faces. Most of what I have to write about Rimmer consists of annotations to this film.]

1. Introduction

This is the third of three methods that Jim Rimmer used for making types. (He also engraved patrices both by hand and by machine.) It is an adaptation of Goudy's method of using heavy paper "Master Patterns" (my term). This is not the first documented reference to Rimmer's use of the "master pattern" aspect of Goudy's method. He used it in the pantographic engraving of patrices for his typeface Cartier and for the pantographic engraving of Lanston composition matrices for his typeface Hannibal. It is best documented, however, in his work on the typeface Stern.

2. Overview of the Method

Rimmer developed Goudy's method further in his cutting the 16 point size of his typeface Stern. This has been documented beautifully in the Richard Kegler / P22 Type Foundry film Making Faces. [2] If you're going to make matrices, you really need to buy this film. Fortunately, in it and in some of Rimmer's printed works there are beautiful images of him at work making these types. Unfortunately, they are all in copyright and I cannot use them here. So I'll have to do this all with words and handwaving. If you had the film, you could just see it for yourself.

Rimmer began with design drawings executed by hand. He used a broad felt-tip marker on a rough grid of verticals with aproximate baseline and x-height horizontals. [3]

He notes explicitly that he considers - and checks for - characteristics of the typeface which will affect its ability to be delivered on the machine (in this case, extrapolating a bit here from my own knowledge, he ensures that the 'g' will cast entirely on the body, without kerns, because casting horizontally kerned type on the Thompson Type-Caster is a more or less miserable experience).

Rimmer then did something quite new, and without precedent in earlier versions of this method by Goudy and Duensing. He used a computer to digitize his design drawings and refine them into Finished Drawings. The digitization system and software he used for this was Ikarus. He described this system as "unloved," and indeed it has not remained popular. But he was singularly fortunate in his use of it, because it is the only system of digital type which necessarily preserves all of the information about type required to make type. More recent software would have made his process much more difficult and, until very recently, imprecise.

3. Aspects of the Method Considered in this Book



1. At his address after the banquet at the 2010 American Typecasting Fellowship Conference, Piqua, Ohio. Quoted from memory.

2. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ph0ooDzD4ZQ P22 page: http://www.p22.com/products/makingfaces.html

3. A talented graphic artist of my acquaintance gasped in astonishment as Rimmer, in the film, lays down a row of vertical lines at a 1 degree angle rapidly, effortlessly - and perfectly.

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