“You can’t tell a lie in Caslon,” goes the adage. Historian James Mosley has added, “or was it that you won’t get caught?” Whatever the case, Caslon is both uniquely welcoming and authoritative, which makes it desirable to writers (who want their works to be both read and believed) and to publishers (who want the works read, whether or not they’re believed).
Caslon has always been a favorite because it is also tops in reading comfort for extended text. The original metal fonts hit a sweet spot with just the right contrast, weight, width, and amount of letter space to achieve a distinctive, dark yet open look at text sizes. The problem had been that there wasn’t a good version of Caslon with all these characteristics. That was enough to get William Berkson interested in taking up the task.
Berkson’s approach to the revival was to capture the qualities he admired, rather than striving for strict authenticity, and Williams Caslon Text decidedly captures that unique feeling. Perhaps we will soon hear the resurrection of another favorite Caslon adage: “When in doubt, use Caslon — Williams Caslon.”