How to order typesetting

             Whatever stage you’re at, we can offer advice and suggestions; please email all enquiries to

             Our Composition Caster is run from a computer, not from paper tape punched by a keyboard; this means that you’ll be able to see (and make changes to) line breaks, hyphenation, word spacing and the extent, even before the type is cast.

Before you start –

  1. An up-to-date list of our available typefaces is right here on our site; we can often get hold of other typefaces if needed, so please do enquire if you can’t see what you’re after.
  2. If a typeface is available for setting, that means we nearly always have upper case, lower case, figures (numbers) and points (punctuation) available. It’s also quite likely that we’ll have a selection of accents and other characters, though these will vary depending on the typeface and size.
  3. If you already know what you’d like the leading to be, you can save a lot of time and effort by having it cast on a larger body. For example, if you know that you want 12pt type with 2pt leading, it can all be cast on a 14pt body. If you need us to lead your setting by hand, there will be extra charges.
  4. Word spaces can, within reason, be any size you want. By default, we set word spaces on unjustified lines to approximately a thin (based on the size of the typeface, not the body).
  5. Because of the amount of work involved in changing point size, we do have minimum casting costs.

Placing an order

  • When you’re ready to send us your copy, save it as a basic TXT file (Windows Notepad file, or Apple TextEdit). If you have the option, you should save it in UTF-8 format, but we can always convert it at this end.
  • If you already have a layout planned in MS Word, Publisher or a similar program, please save that as a separate PDF file and send it along as well.
  • Email all PDF and TXT files to, along with any definite details about the design and timeframe.
  • We’ll then mark up the TXT file to find any characters that might need to be specially made, and to generate the first soft proof; unless it’s a particularly complicated job, there won’t be a charge at this stage.
  • If all is well, we’ll send a first estimate of costs along with the soft proof; it won’t display your chosen typeface, but will show word breaks, line breaks, variable-width spaces and the full extent of the setting. It will look something like this:


             When making changes from the soft proof, please don’t send a new text file as this would need to be marked up again. Instead, refer to the line number and the change you need to make; for example

380/1106: take out ‘horse’ and replace with ‘pig’. Go onto next line if needed.

394/1092: insert copyright symbol before ‘1978’.

             We’ll then make the necessary changes and send you a new soft proof.

             When you’re happy with the soft proof, we can begin casting. If you’re a new customer, or if it’s a particularly large job, we may need to take some payment in advance. We may also need to take a deposit on the metal itself, which will be refunded when the metal is returned.

             When the type is cast, we’ll take two sets of galley proofs; extra sets can be provided at a cost. These proofs can be sent ahead of the type, or photos of the proofs can be emailed.

             Now that the type is cast, there will be an extra charge for any changes that need to be made; errors that have crept in since the soft proof won’t incur any extra charge.

             We’ll always try to send packages as cheaply as possible; for long typesetting jobs, this may mean using multiple boxes or packing onto a pallet. Type is tied with page cord, cardboard placed over the face and the foot, and each packet wrapped in kraft paper; the stack of packets is then wrapped in plastic pallet wrap. Smaller jobs (up to 30kg) are easier and cheaper to send in a box; for heavier jobs, and for long distances, we’ve started using plywood packing boxes to ensure the type arrives safely.