Eric Henty


The hypothesis of this study supposes that it is possible to design a more accurate prepress, "user friendly" method of type selection for gravure printing than the system used today.The experimental methods chosen for this project were based on the suggestions made by the Gravure Association of America, the professors at Rochester Institute of Technology, and the technical staff at Areata Graphics, Buffalo, NY. The purpose of these methods was to gather technical information about how the gravure printing process generates type images. More specifically, this meant investigating the effects of the gravure screen on type. To accomplish this, line and circle patterns of various widths and a variety of typefaces, styles, and sizes were printed by gravure at Areata Graphics in four different engraving settings most commonly used for publication printing. The printed samples were measured and analyzed, both visually and with magnification equipment. The typeface samples of different styles and sizes were subjected to a panel review by five gravure printing professionals through the Gravure Association of America for their acceptablility or unacceptability for gravure reproduction. The results of the panel review were subjected to statistical analysis and correlations were drawn to the results of the visual observation and measurement of the samples. The results of this study suggest that a wider range of typefaces and typeface styles are suitable for gravure printing than those identified by the system of type selection used today. The existing guidelines discourage the use of several typefaces and typeface styles that registered favorable responses from the Gravure Association of America's panel review in this study. Garamond Light, a typeface characterized by fine serifs and thick and thin strokes, and traditionally thought as unsuitable for gravure printing was found to be acceptable at seven point size type. Statistical analysis of the Gravure Association of America's panel review revealed that only one of the four engraving settings tested ( 60-0 ), registered a high percentage of statistically significant responses. In engraving setting 60-0, it was possible to determine the cutoff point between acceptable and unacceptable type sizes for sixteen of the nineteen typeface styles tested. The majority of typeface styles were found to have lower acceptable type size limits at seven and eight point size type. The italic or oblique styles registered higher lower limits, at least one type size higher than the normal style of the same typeface. This can be attributed to the distortion of the line image caused by the gravure screen referred to as "jaggies" and observed to be more pronounced in italic and oblique styles as compared to normal styles. The visual observation of the "jaggies" in the line and circle patterns supports this conclusion. It appeared unusual that the statistical analysis of the GAA panel review recorded a high percentage of statistically significant findings for only one engraving setting. The GAA judges' responses appeared to follow the same pattern for all the engraving settings except that the finer screen settings recorded more favorable responses in smaller type sizes. Statistical tests were run on the original experimental data assuming that if type sizes two and three had been included in the type sample review, the judges would have found them unacceptable for gravure printing. The results of these tests recorded one hundred percent statistically significant findings for all four engraving settings. The finer screen settings recorded lower type size preferences which can be attributed to the sharper and finer rendering of smaller type sizes in these settings. It is recommended that the Gravure Association of America examine these findings and decide on their significance. The primary conclusion of the study is that the hypothesis is true. It is possible to design a more accurate prepress, "user-friendly" system of type selection for gravure printing than the system used today. This study explores the possibility of using a mechanical means of measuring typefaces for suitability for gravure printing. The results show that it is not possible to predict the suitability of a particular typeface, type style, or type size by mechanical means alone. However, a tool to measure typefaces may be a very effective way to eliminate a large number of typefaces, styles, and sizes from consideration. Two models of practical or "user-friendly" methods of type measurement may be useful tools to develop. One method involves measuring type from type sample books, the other using computer software programs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Intaglio printing; Type and type-founding

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Provan, Archie


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: Z252.5.I5 H46 1993


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