1760 Letter From Benjamin Franklin to John Baskerville

Franklin, writing to typeface designer John Baskerville regarding a printing customer who had complained that Baskerville’s typefaces were inferior to William Caslon’s:

Yesterday he called to visit me, when, mischievously bent to try his Judgment, I stept into my Closet, tore off the Top of Mr. Caslon’s Specimen, and produced it to him as yours brought with me from Birmingham, saying, I had been examining it since he spoke to me, and could not for my Life perceive the Disproportion he mentioned, desiring him to point it out to me. He readily undertook it, and went over the several Founts, shewing me every-where what he thought Instances of that Disproportion; and declared, that he could not then read the Specimen without feeling very strongly the Pain he had mentioned to me.

Which just goes to show that clients have been making asinine demands with regard to type choices for a very long time indeed.

Thursday, 13 July 2006