New Scotch Roman
Why a Revival of Scotch Roman
Based on a common letter of the middle of the 18th century as seen in
specimens of the Fry foundry under the name of English, and redesigned
and recut in Scotland, Scotch was a solution to the need for a letter which
was legible in conditions that were less than ideal, such as the poor
quality of paper and rude printing techniques. Another quality the letter
possessed was the proportion of the capital letter, large and bold
compared with the lowercase of the same size. It has long been viewed as
a design flaw to be reduced, if not eliminated. In subsequent revivals of
the design for technologically advanced typesetting equipment of the 20th
century these characteristics were eliminated. It is the concept of modern
typography that a well designed page presents a uniform character in
which no features are apparent or distract the eye.
It is my opinion and the basis for this example that these design
characteristics, relatively short lowercase height and added weight of the
capital letters, directly relate to and reflect the various roles of the
letters. The most common example in text is the initial capital letter at
the beginning of a sentence. A relatively short capital letter that is close
to the weight of the lowercase does not reinforce the rule but negates it.
How much more easily confused are the letters that possess the same
form in upper and lowercase: c, o, p, s, v, w, x, or z. Proper names are
capitalized in order that they may graphically possess the dignity that we
attach to them in language.
His Royal Majesty
The modern trend in type design has been to increase lowercase x height in
order that a smaller size of type may be substituted for a design which
has a smaller lowercase x height in a larger size. The resulting design may
retain legibility as well as increase the character count, but it is at the
expense of the proportion of the capital letter.
Finally, the proportion of the capitals in this revival of Scotch simplifies
the variety of type required to fulfill the roles of bold and smallcap
versions of the design. As the capitals are proportionally heavy when
composed in a line, they provide emphasis that is normally only available
in design families which include a bold version, while a smallcap that is
in proportion with lowercase letters composed in a line is achieved when
capital letters of a smaller size are composed in a line.