A forgotten type tool well worth finding again

Accuspec II Transparent Type Gauge & Specifier Set

The studio is working on a publication for The Humble Vintage and our trusty type gauge came in handy. The type gauge was once common place on the drawing table, along with many other things, like clutch pens with blue lead, along with a tin of thinners and paper towel (for cleaning), a beautiful Greenfield set square, trusty W.G. Printers ruler, .35pt and 1pt Rapidographs, et al.

To design and develop layout requires a sound familiarity of how type works on the page. In the past and today when new books or reference appeared in the studio (a great thing to do on Google Free Thursday), we would often pull out our type gauges and deconstruct the type of the page, column widths, leading, paragraph spaces, indents, type sizes, et al.

Octavo 88.5

Octavo 86.1 and 87.3

Stepping backing in time to 1990 during one’s time as Junior Designer, Andrew Gadsby, my second creative director and boss, at Gallaher + Associates (now Hello Branding) collected the publications Octavo. Octavo was an influencial set of design publications produced by London based studio 8vo, the type setting by 8vo was a favourite, and one of the leading design outputs that contributed to the popularity of bold and light, highly structured precise typography which in turn became intrenched as popular style us in corporate communications and a global communication styles.

I remember deconstructing Octavo with my type gauge and note pad, and wondered at marking up this type for typesetting and then laying it out as mechanical artwork and preparing the overlays – as one was still on the drawing table in 1990.

Over twenty years later, the type gauge is often used to deconstruct type and make sense of its design, we commend it reappearance in the contemporary design space.

Type gauges are available here for $8US plus shipping