Typecount: an aid to the letterpress printer

Have you ever wanted to typeset and print a passage of text in a particular face, but knew you had only a limited quantity of the type? Or, have you wondered if a single 12A 25a font would be enough type to finish composing a small job? Just curious how much type it would take to print The Gettysburg Address? For the seasoned printer, the answers to these questions may be a matter of ‘horse sense’, but for students of lettepress printing like me, a little help is in order. I created Typecount to address this simple need. It is a rudimentary application written in php.

What Typecount does

Typecount counts the characters in a passage of text; but, of course, anyone can do that with a run-of-the-mill word processing application. What is unique about Typecount is that it can count characters as if they were individual pieces of metal printing type. At your discretion, typecount will consider ligatures, dipthongs, quaint characters, or any other characters that you designate as a single piece of type.

If you are printing an old style type, say Caslon with quaints, check the boxes for ct and st and Typecount will count them as psingle pieces of type. Only after it has counted these quaint ligatures will it go on to tally up the remaining c’s and s’s and t’s.

Typecount will also consider any string of characters that you designate in the “Additional Combinations” textbox. For example, I have an ample supple of Qu ligatures in my case of 14-point Monotype Garamond 156, so I would include it in my query.

Try Typecount, the character and ligature counter for letterpress

Support for the long-s is coming soon!

12/23/07 I recently learned that some visitors are receiving errors when they attempt to use Typecount. I haven’t updated it a good bit, so I will try to work on it soon. – Ian Schaefer.

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