When I purchased the press, it came with over 100 cases of type. This is a lot of type. However, I’m finding that some of it is damaged, or there’s not enough to set much text with it, or it’s just plain small (6pt type is really tiny)…or I don’t like it (sans serif type faces are not my favorite). This narrows down the type I can or want to use for printing.
I’ve come to rely on 3 main typefaces: Goudy, Stymie, and Bodoni (even though the members of the MI letterpress guild all frowned upon Bodoni…I kind of like it). There are other faces I like, but I only have enough type of varying sizes in these 3 to make them consistently useful. I like Lydian, but only have it in 30pt. I like Goudy Old Style, but I don’t have much of it…Schoolbook is beautiful, but I only have 10pt…
It’s hard, I think, to see the differences in typefaces. Here’s a picture showing 4 different typefaces: San Serif, Bodoni, Stymie, and Goudy in 18pt. Notice the differences in height and width…and in the shape of the letters. They’re all still identifiable as ‘M’s, but look different…and therefore read differently. It’s a matter of preference.
Below is a picture of 4 letter “M”s in Goudy 10pt, 12pt, 14pt, and 18 pt. It’s probably my favorite typeface that I own. I have a nice range of sizes in Goudy and can use it to set blocks of text and small sayings and quotes. I’ve set some poems and cards in it and I think it’s easy to read and beautiful.
That said, Bodoni is great for short quotes in cards.
And Stymie is a nice typeface for blocks of texts.
I just have to take time to decide what typeface that I own will work the best for a given project…and whether I have enough to do the job. It’s a fun challenge!