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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Design in Typography. The Queen Anne Border

page 101

Design in Typography. The Queen Anne Border.


Versatility of form is always a desirable feature in a combination, and this is a leading characteristic of the subject of our present chapter. It follows naturally, as well as chronologically, after Klinkhardt's Ribbon, with which it possesses several points in common, and with which it is capable of combination. It appeared, as nearly as we can ascertain, in 1882, the following year, and is known to us only as one of Stephenson & Blake's productions, though we are informed by an English friend that the design is really a French one. As our knowledge of French type is confined to the productions of one foundry—that of Gustave Mayeur—we are unable to speak with any authority of our own on the subject. The « Queen Anne » design, which combines the three valuable features of a Ribbon combination, a Tablet design, and an ordinary Border, consist only of the following 15 characters:—

This is one of the simplest and best designs of the kind that has ever been brought out. In the first place, it makes a better ordinary border than any other ribbon combination. The square corner may be used with the simple double line, or with the line adorned with scroll ornaments. A decided advantage is that no brass rule is required. The justifying pieces are all cast on two-line emerald, and line perfectly with the design. In those combinations that work with brass-rule, the lines rarely correspond as they should, and generally refuse to join up well. It possesses an advantage over all other Ribbons in the depth of line it will enclose. The ornamental ends enclose 36 - and 60-point respectively, while the open pair take 30 - or 40-point according as they are arranged, and may be extended as required. It is in the ingenious arrangement of these pieces that the versatility of the design chiefly appears. We show them set both ways—one pair both closed and extended. The latter will admit a line of any depth required. Tablet and Border designs in this combination are much strengthened by a plain rule panel inside, especially when the right side and foot are set in shaded rule. Panels may also be effectively crossed in a way that no other ribbon border will permit. The centre-piece in the first column is composed entirely from the combination, but of course any other horizontal ribbon might be substituted. One more design will illustrate one of the many ways in which it may be combined with Elinkhardt's ribbon:

As, however, there are no double-fine-line characters in the « Queen Anne, » it can only be properly combined with the lower line of the Ribbon.

We have just one quarrel with the designer of the useful combination. Our readers will note the panel at the head of this page, with the pretty central ornament above and below. Any printer would naturally suppose the extension line to be in three pieces, but reference to the synopsis will show that it is in two unequal parts, one being a lop-sided character of inconvenient length, with the centre ornament at the end! This causes an unnecessary and really stupid limitation in practical use. The last two characters, being both onesided and only adapted to each other, can be used only in one particular way. If cast in three parts, they could be used with or without the central ornament, or with the smaller centre-piece, and the detached ornament would be a very useful character in combination with the other pieces. The oversight is to us unaccountable. This, however, is a minor defect; and we know of few combinations of so few pieces so readily composed, so varied in application, and so effective in actual use. It stands out prominently among the typographical designs of the past decade as an artistic success.