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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Design in Typography. Bruce's Shield Combination

page 125

Design in Typography. Bruce's Shield Combination.


Year by year new developments of the Scroll pattern have appeared: and one of the best yet produced was that brought out in 1881 by Bruce of New York, under the title of Combination Border No. 58. In the qualities of artistic design and general usefulness it stands far before any of the other borders in Bruce's book. One of the advantages, and by no means the least, is that it corresponds exactly with a face of double rule, on nonpareil body (No. 334), produced by the same house. With a fount of this rule, graduated to nonpareil, the capacity of the border is indefinitely increased. The foundation of the design is simple enough—the double-rule aforesaid. For this face of rule was originally provided a single corner, which, though working perfectly with the border, is not included in the fount. the combination comprises 37 characters. The plain pieces and corners are six: Here we have to note certain defects of detail. First, there is no justifying-piece shorter than pica. This deficiency can be supplied by the use of the corresponding brass-rule; but there should have been in the metal a nonpareil and a nonpareil-and-half piece, as justifiers. Then it has no proper corner on its own body. The character being economically designed to act both as inner and outer corner, is not fitted for either; and breaks the pattern and mars the design wherever it is used. There should have been proper inner and outer corners, and this character could then have been dispensed with. We do not forget that that the square corner is in most cases available as an outer corner; but as it is on a full pica body, without a mortise, no type can be brought right up into the angle. Of the three corners on pica, there is one inner (thick line inwards), and one outer. There are also four fancy corners. The minute point at the angle of the first of these, intended as a corner to the fine inner line, is very fragile, and liable to be broken off even before the fount reaches the printer. This pair of useful and original pieces deserves special notice. Their purpose is to reverse the border, bringing the heavy line inside from outside, and vice versâ, and this is neatly and ingeniously done. The next division is the centre-ornaments, of which there are three; then the ornamental scrolls, which are used in pairs, one each side of a centre-piece.

Two of this class, not being provided with opposites, cannot be used symmetrically. This is a disadvantage. The smaller one especially should have a fellow. The larger may be used as a centre. Four pairs of this class are designed with the further purpose of carrying the pattern up or down. There remain now only one pair of terminal pieces, and two pretty and graceful external ornaments. The latter are of general utility, and are good accessories to almost any combinations from the same house. The discrepancy of standard between Bruce's and all other picas prevents his designs from being satisfactorily used with outside combinations. Had these two characters been supplemented with suitable corners, they would have made neat and useful borders, quite independently of the general design.

The ornamental tablet at the head of this page shows the effect of the combination in actual use. One hint may be given to the compositor in using this design—not to put too many scrolls together. Except in a very large page, from eight to twenty-four ornamental pieces are as many as can be used without spoiling the effect: Four corners; four centres; and if the page admits of it, a supplementary scroll each side of corners or centres, or both.