In 2013, after three years of research and drawing, Robert Green released a facsimile font of the lost Doves Type through Typespec. However, following the acquisition of a greater range of archive material in 2014, Green began to update his digital version of the typeface.
In order to create a definitive reproduction he decided that the original metal sorts, lying on the riverbed, would have to be examined.
In 2016, Green undertook more work to improve the digital font for contemporary usage. This second release of the updated Doves Type contained extended glyph coverage including small caps, together with both lining and tabular figures.
Metrics were also adjusted for 21st century usage. The original Doves Press type, cut for letterpress with its physical constraints and inherent quirks, contains spacing which would appear uncomfortable to modern eyes in web and litho applications.
Ever since Green began the project in 2010, he has collected an ever expanding range of Doves Press publications and other materials such as ‘overs’ sheets and proofs, in addition to the metal type he salvaged in 2014. Each new example highlighted another aspect of the typeface he hadn’t noticed or considered before. He eventually decided the type needed to be redrawn entirely.
Using a digital microscope camera enabled Robert to capture more detail than he’d previously been able to achieve and the technology was fundamental to revealing tiny individual characteristics that informed his revised letterforms.
The metal sorts were also used as sources for outlines and were drawn separately, then cross-referenced with drawings derived from the printed type. Before long, largely due to his involvement in the Thames Tideway project, Green realised that not one, but two versions of the revised Doves Type were taking shape; a Text version similar to previous iterations of the Doves Type, and a sharper Headline variant commissioned by Tideway, adapted specifically for use in challenging fabrication processes across multiple surfaces such as brick, granite, brass, wrought iron, and steel.
The heavier and softer Doves Text was designed for setting copy at sizes below 20 pt. It is similar to previous iterations of the Doves Type: stem and stroke weights remain the same, comparable to a book cut, but the updated version is intended to be an improvement for print and onscreen applications. It’s still an attempt to recreate the soft ink spread of letterpress, but some of the irregularities present in the last commercial version (v3) have been eliminated.
Doves Headline was designed for larger applications such as titles, headings, and sub-headings. As mentioned above it evolved due to practical considerations arising from work on the Thames Tideway project. It is lighter and sharper that the Text font, recommended for sizes above 20 pt, for use as an optically adjusted cut of the Doves Type.
Read more about the development of the new Doves Type Text & Headline fonts in Robert Green’s blog article.
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