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Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 2024
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 6:41 pm
Location: Worcestershire, England


Post by William »

Some readers may remember the following thread about the Centaur font, a famous font from Monotype.


In that thread I mentioned a pdf publication of my own which uses the Centaur font. ... e_idea.PDF

My idea of the database of free content dates back to 1979, though in a more general context of my telesoftware invention rather than of the MHP system which uses it and before the part about the certificates. At some time, in or before 1981, I thought of the name STARDISC for the database.

A recent check on the web has shown that the name stardisc is being used for various things. So maybe a different name would be needed for implementing the database now?

I remember that I used a small hand printing press (an Adana 8 x 5) to produce some logos for STARDISC, buying some 6-point metal type stars and some 6-point metal type discs from a typefounder who cast type from matrices supplied by the Monotype Corporation and then handsetting the logo design. The four letters S, T, A and R were made up from stars and the four letters D, I, S and C were made up from discs. I remember that the discs were on square bodies yet the stars were on rectangular bodies, such that although the bodies of the stars and the discs were the same size vertically, the bodies of the stars were slightly wider than the bodies of the discs. It was all hand-set using some stars, some discs and lots of spacing, the spacing being like type yet being lower so that it does not print.

I have now produced a Stardisc font, which is available as follows.

The font has five useful glyphs.

0 is a disc
1 is a space the width of a disc
2 is a space the width of a star
5 is a star
space is a space the width of a disc

I calculated the points for the star, using the idea that the star is inscribed within a construction circle such that the top point of the star is at 2048 font units vertically and that the two lowest points of the star are at 0 font units vertically. Remembering the rectangular wider-than-high shape of the metal type stars I was interested to find that the minimum rectangle to fit around the star was indeed wider than it is high.

In order to use the font one can set a design using those four digits and spaces in some ordinary font where the digits are all the same width and then select all of the design and change the font to the Stardisc font and possibly change to a smaller size as the disc glyphs are square and the star glyphs are slightly wider.

Here is an example of a design.

55555 55555 55555 55552 00001 00000 00000 00000
52222 22522 52225 52225 01110 11011 01111 01111
52222 22522 52225 52225 01110 11011 01111 01111
55555 22522 55555 55552 01110 11011 00000 01111
22225 22522 52225 52522 01110 11011 11110 01111
22225 22522 52225 52252 01110 11011 11110 01111
55555 22522 52225 52225 00001 00000 00000 00000

If that design is copied into WordPad and then Edit Select All is used and the size is set to 10 point and then the font is changed to Stardisc then the design should appear.

My original produced with metal type used 6 point type. I have not got the prints before me at this time yet the design seems to look about the same as best I remember.

The STARDISC idea did not get implemented then, maybe it will become implemented now, or at some time in the future. Maybe not using the STARDISC name, yet who knows!

William Overington

22 March 2007
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