The process Jim used to
create Stern illustrates his remarkable approach to type design – using
the same process for decades, all of his rough work is done by hand
before being translated into digital forms using the program Ikarus.
After the characters are designed in Ikarus using a plotting pen, they
are output to a laser printer. Although there is nothing new about this
part of the process, Jim’s application takes it a step further by using
it as the basis for his metal type design and casting. From this point,
a paper master pattern, then a lead working pattern are created and
scaled to a brass matrix (16 point, in the case of Stern). The matrix
or mould casts one individual letter, one piece of type at a time.
Noted typographer Frederic Goudy used a similar engraver to the same
effect in creating typefaces for his own Village Type Foundery.