Typographic problem, student in need.

Hi There,

I've got a brief to make a small book/booklet in the style of a "Dockers Workbook" celebrating one man (union leader Walt Cunningham's) life on the docks of Hull between 1950's-1980's.

i have been looking everywhere for a nice clear legible serif typeface to use for my body copy , i found one that i loved FF Scala Pro Regular http://www.fontshop.com/fonts/downloads/fontfont/ff_scala_pro/ it works n perfectly with the ethos of my type having been use in books depicting democratic revolutions/movements and in Museum booklets.The elegance of this typeface is exactly what i need but don't have the € 299.00 to purchase it on a student's income.

I was wondering if anyone had any alternatives to FF Scala with a more friendly price tag. or any other typeface what would communicate perfectly the struggles of a working class movement which have been in mostly forgotten.

Thanks for any response

Matt Russell


hrant's picture

Are you sure FF Scala fits the "working class" ethos? I guess it does have some such attributes, but it also seems a bit too mannered to me here (look at that "a" for one thing). Something like Bookman (even though I personally don't like the way it looks) or Cheltenham (which I do like) might be better. Or do you think slabby serifs are helpful here?


MattRussell92's picture

Thanks, yeah just looked up Cheltenham and love it. The only reason i thought FF Scala was a good decision was because of it's previous uses seem to work pretty well in displaying political and democratic issues.

Thanks again


ncaleffi's picture

Matt, FF Scala has been used for many subjects - I have seen art and recipes books set in it - and it isn't a "democratic" or political typeface per se (*).

If you're stuck with the idea of finding a typeface related to the subject of your book, or to a particular cultural climate (the union struggles in Hull in post II world war Britain), why don't you look, for example, for a book typeface used in that period in your country?

You could try to have a look at the classic Monotype catalogue set by Stanley Morison or at the Penguin social essays published in 50/60/70's.

Eric Gill's work has a strong, unorthodox connection to socialist ideas in XX century Britain: perhaps you could try to have a look at his Aries, Golden Cockerel or Johanna serif types.

Or, more simply, try to look for a typeface from Britain's typographic heritage - Baskerville and Miller comes to mind.

Hope this helps.

(*) Martin Majoor on the origins of Scala: "FF Scala is named after the Teatro alla Scala (1776–78) in Milan. There were two reasons for this name: FF Scala was made especially for a concert hall, the Vredenburg in Utrecht, and the design has it roots in around the time Teatro alla Scala was built, the mid-eighteenth century".

hrant's picture

I like the Joanna suggestion.

FF Scala has been used for many subjects

So has Comic Sans. :-)


aluminum's picture

"any other typeface what would communicate perfectly the struggles of a working class movement which have been in mostly forgotten"

That's an oddly specific requirement for a typeface, is it not?

MattRussell92's picture

thanks for all the feedback i have looked into Johanna.
I have looked into the Monotype catalogue previously and they did help.
I wanted to stay clear of Baskerville due to history of being created for a upper class market and it's like to Cambridge University and it's connotations of dignity and it's common use to day with university studies. Not to say i don't like Baskerville (great typeface) but just feel as if would be slightly hypocritical to the narrative.

I have a meeting with a manger at GF Smith's (paper) tomorrow morning and his father owned the print company that printed the handbook's and all the forms for the dockers so that could really be a positive move forward.

Thanks again for all the help,

Really appreciated

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