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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Design in Typography. Sundry Ribbons

page 137

Design in Typography. Sundry Ribbons.


Zigzag, curved, and scrolled designs, have all been tried as variations on simple Ribbon designed some seventeen or eighteen years ago by Mr Pecliey. We have traced these various developments, and illus-trated them very fully, and have described every important Ribbon combination that has appeared up to the present date. In the present article, and before going on with the next general section of our subject, we intend briefly mentioning several other designs of the same class. First, we would note the « Helvetian, » an ornamental letter with scroll borders, brought out in England by Reed, and (so far as we know) an original production of the foundly. The letter is cast in three sizes, and each size has two borders to correspond. Each border has corners on its own body, and is provided with turn-down corner and scroll end-pieces. The junctions are masked by breaks at regular intervals extending through the whole pattern—an old device in running borders, and one which we do not admire. The type may be used without the scroll, and the scroll apart from the type. We are not able to fix the precise date when it appeared: it was earlier than some of those already described. It fills only a minor place in this class of designs. The end-pieces being cast in one piece, corresponding with the body of the letter, the scroll cannot be widened.

We must not pass over the single Ribbon design (the Zigzag and Elliptical are variations, exhibiting considerable originality) of the Johnson Foundry, Border 96, §2, though we reviewed this combination in our first volume, at the time it appeared. To compose it is said to be « as easy as to roll off a log »; and this seems to be its chief recommendation. It is weak, straggling, stiff, and ungraceful. Its best feature is that, as the top and bottom lines correspond, all the characters are reversible.

Among the simpler ribbon forms is that known as the « Streamer, » brought out about ten years ago, by Zeese, of Chicago. It contains only three characters—two end-pieces and a centre, and is intended to be used with curved brass-rule. A specimen of one of the smaller sizes appears at the head of this page. It may be used with or without the centre, and two centres, if a duplicate is obtained, may be used as end-pieces. It is made in four sizes. In the largest, the end-pieces are 9 ems deep, and in the smallest, about 3½. The largest admits a line of nearly 8 ems; the smallest, of 3.

Lastly we would note the two series brought out in 1887 by the Manhattan Foundry, New York, under the name of « Baker Rule Ornaments. » These differ from other ribbons in being almost in pure outline, little attempt at shading being made. They are reversible, the top and bottom rules being of the same face. The first series is cast to correspond with a 10-to-pica-faced rule on 3-point body, and contains 69 characters, a few of which we show. In ordinary single-color work it is stiff and ineffective; but striking effects have been produced with its aid in connexion with colors and tints. It is in fact chiefly used as an adjunct to rule, in those patterns which are the delight of American printers, and in which it saves endless trouble in rule-shaping and bending. Series No. 2, adapted to light-faced rule, also contains 69 characters, but bears only a general resemblance to the first series.

We have now come to the end of the section devoted to Ribbon and Scroll Designs. From these, by a natural process of evolution, were developed various Banner and Drapery combinations, which will next come under consideration.