001/32. © 15/01/2020




V A R I A B L E

FAMILY VOLUME

DAVID  G.  MILLHOUSE


 

Beatrice Warde, a twentieth century American specialist in typography and marketing manager for the British MonoType Corporation claimed, that Henry Lewis Bullen (Advertising Manager of American Type Founders) invented the concept of ‘Type Family’ whereas writer Dr. James Eckman credits Moris Benton (also from ATF) with this idea.

 
Fig.1
Modern Font Family Suitcase
by D. G. Millhouse

Words such as Group, Series or Variations were often used to tie typeface styles (based on the same skeleton) together before any concept of ‘Family’.
2.  Australian Henry Lewis Bullen (1857–1938), joined the American Type Founders Company (ATF) in 1892 as Printer and Archivist. He often wrote for The Inland Printer Trade Journal (a monthly publication for a booming printing industry). In the issue of June 1907 Bullen states that Caslon Old Style was the greatest of all type series.
3.  ATF? Based in Elizabeth, New Jersey, The American Type Founders’ company started as a conglomerate of type foundries in the United States, and in 1892 introduced classic type revivals, extending on original designs, creating sub-styles and so on.
4.  One of the largest families of that period was Cheltenham (1896), originally designed by American Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue with the assistance of Ingalls Kimball, Director of Cheltenham Press in New York City. Cheltenham was made commercial by ATF. In 1923 Morris Fuller Benton re-cut Cheltenham for ATF.
5.  Cheltenham was one of the first scientifically designed typefaces for legibility. Studies into the upper half of the design were made to strengthen its reading process. Known for its short descenders, Cheltenham was highly successful as a space saver. Goodhue’s State Capitol building in Nebraska, U.S.A. (1932) is nicknamed the ‘Penis of the Plains’. It can be seen from over twenty miles away. Perhaps it were he who layed the foundations towards the term ‘Type Family’.

6.Between 1904–1913 Moris Benton had created a whole offspring of Cheltenham family variations: Bold Condensed; Bold Italic; Bold Condensed Italic; Wide; Bold Outline; Bold Extra Condensed; Bold Extended; Inline; Inline Extra Condensed; Inline Extended; Oldstyle Condensed; Medium; Medium Italic; Extrabold; Bold Shaded; Bold Italic Shaded; Extrabold Shaded; Medium CondensedExpanded
7.  Cheltenham had several imitators including Winchester (Stephenson Blake), Gloucester (MonoType), Kenilworth (Inland Type Foundry 1904) and Sorbonne (Berthold 1905). Western Type Foundry called their version Chesterfield, Hansen Type Foundry called theirs Craftsman, and InterType went so far as to release Cheltonian.
8.  BT Cheltenham was digitalised in 1993 by Ed Benguiat. BitStream Inc. (type foundry) was founded in 1981 by Matthew Carter and Mike Parker in Marlborough, Massachusetts, United States. BT become defunct in 2012 when it was bought out by MonoType Imaging.

AMERICAN TYPE FOUNDERS
AMSTERDAM TYPEFOUNDRY
BERTHOLD
HAAS
INTERTYPE
J. WAGNER
LANSTON MONOTYPE
LUDLOW
MERGENTHALER LINOTYPE
MONOTYPE CORPORATION
NEBIOLO
STEMPEL


Foundries which cut Bodoni (substitutes).


9.Benton’s re-cutting of Bodoni and then its family growth of nineteen styles from 1909–1926 exploded in popularity in the United States and prompted Europe. Bodoni was, and still is, widely used in many high-end magazines and catalogues today.
10.  How do we define the concept of ‘Type Family’ when considering all the Foundries (above) involved in the revival?
11.  A kind of tribe or Bodoni sect materialised. Nonetheless, during this period imitation was often seen as a compliment. Many artists idealised the painterly styles of their heroes. Type manufacturers also drew influence from one another, including Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813) himself, seduced by Fournier and Baskerville. Bodoni opened the drawer, for the multitude of interpretative others to follow suit.
12.  Bauer Bodoni (1926) was designed by Heinrich Jost for Bauer Foundry as an alternative to ATF Bodoni. Now owned by Linotype, Bauer Bodoni is considered by typographers as the most faithful revival of Giambattista Bodoni's original typeface.
13.  Bitstream Foundry digitalised the typeface in 1999.

14.Into the twentieth century we start to see families of metal type being cut in regard to the group, in union with the genetics of an initial idea. Not only were extended styles created to differentiate one style from another, but also to consider the paper they were pressed into. Some type requires bolder versions for thin papers and vice–versa.
15.  Between 1931 and 1937 Dutchman Jan van Krimpen had the idea to create the ‘complete’ type family which were to be ‘more ambitious than has been undertaken in the history of type production ever before or since’, and so set to work on Romulas.
16.  Roman; Sloped Roman; Semi-Bold; Semi-Bold Condensed; Sans Serif (x4+ weights); a script type and a set of Greek characters.
17.  The Enschedé printing office and MonoType Corporation collaborated on its production. It was Beatrice Warde who came to name the font Romulas (after the founder of Rome).

18.Demos (1975) by Gerard Unger is one of the first digital typefaces. Designed during the increase of offset printing with photo-typesetting. The main aim for Demos was to withstand disfigurement in curved letter shapes during the digital-to-photo type-setting process. Demos was made entirely from individual pixels for the first digital typesetter Digiset (Hell GmbH), which where then exposed by light for photo-typesetting.
19.  Praxis (1976), also by Unger, is the sans-serif family relative to Demos. Five weights: Light; Medium; Regular; Bold and Heavy. It was suggested to make an italic by electronic slanting. Flora (1980) was born as the italic for Praxis.₁₀ Both follow the harmonisation of Demos. Although Demos and Praxis were heavily adapted optically for technological output, their designs were reshaped to remain human in expression.

20.In 1993 Martin Majoor claimed to have designed the first revolutionary italic small-caps ever in the history of type design for his highly successful typeface Scala, originally designed for the Vredenburg Music Centre in Utrecht. Released by FontShop International, FF Scala was the first printed type specimen I ever obtained.
21.  Without knowing of Luc(as) de Groot’s The Mix, Majoor set to his own (simplified) theory of three typefaces that share the same geography, by designing Nexus Sans, Nexus Serif, and Nexus Mix.
22.  He called his theory The Nexus Principle. Both Mixes are basically Demi-serif styles. The demi (Mix) being somewhat of a transfont, neither one or other but still its own entity. Not a they, but a this. Majoor’s Nexus Mix typifies a third element (Nexus in Latin means ‘Connection’), the glue so to speak. He first designed the serif version, then removed serifs to generate a sans. Nexus Mix is essentially the slab-serif version, which actually derives from the sans, not the serif. So after he removed the serifs, he created new ones (in slab style) to form his Mix.₁₁

23.Type suitcases were the only way Mac OS and macOS could recognise font families before OS X. They were used to save Random-Access-Memory, (because a font is a small software-programme), a suitcase allowed for more fonts (and styles) to be open at once because Mac OS saw it as one item. They also held Apple-specific information. Today type suitcases have become unnecessary because computers have more RAM. The standard font format .dfont file-extension replaced suitcases, to keep all styles in a single file. TTF (TrueTypeFont) datafork resource map ‘.dfont’ files, were upgraded to the TTC (TrueTypeCollection) format to reach today’s standard of combining more styles and multiple fonts into a single file in order to save thread.

24.Lucas de Groot’s typeface Thesis (1994–1999) is one of the worlds most abundant type families because it consists of both Roman and Sans and their descendants.₁₂ An adaptation of Thesis Sans was used for the V&A Museum in 1994.
ROMAN SERIF: Medium Roman; Medium Italic; Medium Small Caps; Bold Roman; Semi Bold Roman; Extra Bold Roman; Black Roman; Semi Light Roman; Light Roman; and Extra Light Roman.
SANS SERIF: Medium Roman; Medium Italic; Medium Small Caps; Bold Roman; Semi Bold Roman; Extra Bold Roman; Black Roman; Semi Light Roman; Light Roman; and Extra Light Roman.
25.  Luc(as) de Groot’s threesome of fonts The Sans, The Serif and The Mix make up Thesis. All three play into the idea of adding/subtracting the serifs to create the semi/demi-serif or sans. These are not considered styles, nor variants. Although all three fall within the same family genes, their own entity governs similar responsibilities to that of a parent, insofar as becoming their own sub-set.
26.  ‘… the serifs play no discernible role, unless it is to convey the message that serifs as a weapon for ideologies have had their day. Nor is there any clear function for which these half-seriffed types are suitable. Their sole purpose is to be decorative’.₁₃
27.  Family collections of Thesis included (another series of three): Classic, Basic and Office.
28.  The Interpolation Theory is De Groot’s method of defining percentage variants in-between three masters: Hair 34[pt]; Regular and UltraBlack.₁₄ The same method is used today when designing for variable fonts.

29.Gerard Unger’s typeface family Swift (1984–1987), has a high x-height, broad serifs and open counters which drive the rhythm continuum for body texts. Swift was originally designed for newspapers at the turn of the digital type era, when only few digital typefaces where available. The weight of his design was built to suit poor quality print and thin papers (newsprint). Today Swift is used more for magazines and corporate identities. It would have been designed on a low-resolution screen which perhaps prompted the overall angular and kinetic construction for a strikingly chiselled impression.₁₅
30.  Swift 2.0 (1995) is an redrawn version (by Unger) of the original, with technical enhancements in PostScript. It was expanded into a super-family of twenty-four variants, available via the Linotype Company. In 2009 Linotype released Neue Swift, with modified details and new OpenType glyphs and features.

31.Today, post-nuclear type families tend to contain quantity over durable design. Expectation relies on the confidence within the initial requirement. Weight enhancement to an entire glyph-set has become a slippery, quick export. 18 family styles to the same font is regarded ordinary. The terminology to multiple ‘style-masters’ comes as a contradiction. Be prepared for a boom in variable font family metamorphosis on ‘user’ DIY sliders, the term ‘Type’ will replace its T with an H, much to one’s distaste. Non-binary combinations of multiple lost looking faces …
32.  A typeface is not a tool. A tool is a means to an end. Exploiting typographical composition as dictatorship will only tempt ignorance. One should recognise a typeface as an instrument. A pianist is not a user. As black and white as the instrument may appear, the instrument should remain in key with both the author and his/her readership.



 

‘Beatrice Warde said that Henry Lewis Bullen invented the concept of ‘Type Family’, but Dr James Eckman credits Moris Benton with this idea. It may well be that once again Bullen thought the matter out and that Benton put it into practice’. Stanley Morison, His typographic achievement, 26, James Moran (Lund Humphries, London, 1971).
The Inland Printer Trade Journal was the longest published Journal in the United States, first created in 1883 and ceased publication in 2011.
Prior to this, early trail cuttings were made in 1899. Goodhue also designed the font Merrymount for Merrymount Press.
Nebraska Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff, David Harding and Rick Yoder, 62 (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland 2010).
Around the base of the tower, within the Southwest courtyard stands a sculpture of the Greek philosopher Socrates, representing the “The Birth of Reason”.
When referring to the diverse amount of styles of architecture in the town of Cheltenham in the United Kingdom, Betjeman writes, ‘The battle of styles in Cheltenham is gay’. First and Last Loves, John Betjeman, 19 (John Murray Publishers Ltd 1952).
https://www.meermanno.nl/romulus-designs-by-jan-van-krimpen (01.2020).
Dutch Type, by Jan Middendorp, (010 Publishers, Rotterdam, 2004).
Jan van Krimpen (1892–1958) started Romulus in 1932, based on the drawings of his own Lutetia typeface (1924). Typographic Milestones, by Allan Haley (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992).
The Dutch Type Library Van Krimpen Project (1986), started when DTL founder Frank E. Blokland met Jan van Krimpen’s son Huib van Krimpen (1917–2002) for the first time at the ATypI conference in Basel. They discussed digitalising Romulas.
Frank E. Blokland created the digital revival of Romulas between 1997 and 2003.
₁₀ The Design of a Typeface by Gerard Unger, 134-149, Visible Language XIII 2 (1979).
‘He is a pioneer of systematic thinking in type design’. Erik van Blokland, https://vimeo.com/226177782 (01.2020)
Although not considered a serial family at the time, Demos (1975), Praxis (1976) and Flora (1980) became somewhat of a trio.
Linda Hintz and Dan Reynolds designed Demos Next (2014), a font family revival version which consists of 24 Typeface styles/weights, supporting more than 33 languages. Via MonoType Imaging Inc.
Flora is named after Unger’s daughter. Dutch Type, by Jan Middendorp.
₁₁ My Type Design Philosophy, by Martin Majoor, http://www.martinmajoor.com/6_my_philosophy.html
₁₂ After creating 144 fonts for Thesis, De Groot actually lost count of the abundance of weights and occasional serifs.
Thesis is the graduation project of Luc(as) de Groot. He also added mono-spaced versions.
₁₃ While You’re Reading, Gerard Unger, 168 (Mark Batty Publisher, N.Y.C, 2007).
₁₄ ‘The optical interpolation b, in the three stems a (thinnest), b (interpolation) and c (thickest), is set to the geometric mean of a and c, i.e. b2 = ac (as opposed to the linear arithmetic mean)’. Interpolation Theory, LucasFonts. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
₁₅ Swift (Elsner+Flake) travels First Class, it’s name suggests reading with speed. Gerard Unger (1942–2018) draws his influence from the Swift bird. https://www.linotype.com/6093/neue-swift.html (01.2020).

Thankyou James Mosley (historian).

 



F U R T H E R   R E A D I N G S


Drukletters, hun onstaan en hun gebruik
By M. H. Groenendaal, N. V. De Technische Uitgeverij H. Stam, Amsterdam, 1957

Stanley Morison, His typographic achievement
By James Moran, Lund Humphries, London, 1971

Bodoni, Manuale tipographco
by Giambattista Bodoni, 1818

Dutch Type
by Jan Middendorp, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2004

While You’re Reading
by Gerard Unger, Mark Batty Publisher, New York City, 2007

Fine Modern and Contemporary Art, including ‘De Stijl’
Christie’s Amsterdam B.V, 1987

Typographic Milestones
by Allan Haley, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York State, 1992

Intermediate Types
by Edward Carpenter, Mitchell Kennerley Press, New York City, 1909
(See Kennerley Old Style typeface)

Reflection on Practice
by David G. Millhouse, D.G.M. Typographics™, Rotterdam, 2019

                

DAVID G. MILLHOUSE +44 (0) 7516 605 726 EMAIL@DAVIDMILLHOUSE.COM