Benedictine Pro Family - Under Development by Alter Littera

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José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
Benedictine Pro Family - Under Development by Alter Littera
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I have been loving the Benedictine face since I first saw it a few months ago on pages 30-31 of McGrew's American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century. I searched once and again for information about it on the Internet, and, apart from a couple of sample images, I could only find (naturally) an old but quite revealing post on Typophile, and, of course, that wonderful manual on typography by Mergenthaler Linotype from 1923.

Given that no one seems to have carried the remarkable beauty of the Benedictine family (an apparently forgotten gem) into the modern OpenType world, I decided to do it myself ...







The Book weight (including small caps and italics) is almost finished, with Regular and Bold following (hopefully) shortly. For more information (including detailed specimen and sample sheets) please visit alterlittera.com. I would be extremely grateful if you could send your advice on this project.

Thanks in advance.

Danny Hannah's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2004 - 1:04pm
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Great job! Looks true to the original!

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Thanks for your comment.

Apart from minor glyph additions, the Book Uprights are done. Updated samples and specimen sheets are available at alterlittera.com. The Book Italics will follow in a few weeks.

The more I develop the Benedictine Family, the more I like this beautiful typeface ...

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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A small preview of the just-finished Book Roman (more info at alterlittera.com):
Book Italic following soon ...

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Instead of the Italics, I went for the Regular and Bold weights first. The Book, Regular and Bold Romans (uprights) are now finished (sample characters). Updated details can be found at alterlittera.com.
Thanks again for your interest.

Craig Eliason's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
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I think your wordspace may be too big (though it's hard to tell since all of your specimens are fully justified).
Are the small caps proportions taken from the original source? They look relatively too large to me.
Do those variants come from you or from Linotype?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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So the three Roman weights are uniwidth* but what about the Italic ones?

* http://typophile.com/node/91519

hhp

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Thanks for reading and commenting. Answers to questions posted in this and other threads are as follows:

1. "Wordspace may be too big" - I would be very grateful if you could confirm this by having a look at this sample.

2. "Small caps look relatively too large" - I tried several metrics starting from the original sources, out of which I only retained those for the Book weight. Most of the glyphs (including the small caps) in the Regular and Bold weights were derived mainly from the Book weight. Among other things, the original x-heights of the Regular and Bold seemed too small to me when compared between them and to the x-height of the Book.

3. "I assume the Italics are not uniwidth with the Romans, but are they uniwidth among themselves?" - Yes, they will be. I will also try to make them uniwidth with the Romans. That would be nice, I believe. However, it is not possible to achieve that effect with the original sources (on which the current version of the Book Italics is based).

Thanks.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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A traditional Italic would suffer way too much being uniwidth with the Roman.

hhp

Craig Eliason's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
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Yes, I would narrow the space a bit.

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Thanks for your comments.
What about this word spacing?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Hard to tell in low-res/image.

hhp

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Sorry. Here you are a PDF sample.

Craig Eliason's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
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Better!

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Looks pretty solid, at least in that sample. The "ch" and "th" seem a bit tight, and the "va" a bit loose.

BTW, I was going to complain about the "o" being too wide, but: there's a good deal of width variance elsewhere; and I actually believe an "o" that looks a bit too wide is good for reading.

hhp

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Thanks a lot for your time and for your comments. I will keep posting as work progresses.

Best wishes.

Yulia Tigina's picture
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Joined: 1 Apr 2011 - 3:50am
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Your font looks beautiful! I don't know if you took the letter spacing in small caps like it was in the original source, but to my eye it seems too tight (maybe it's because I got used to more loosely spaced small caps in old books).

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Thank you.
This sample shows 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100 tracking values:
This is my first attempt at a font with small caps. I decided to provide a letter spacing slightly more than proportional with respect to the upper and lower cases, which can be enlarged as desired within the design software. Maybe this is a reasonable move, or maybe not ...

Yulia Tigina's picture
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Joined: 1 Apr 2011 - 3:50am
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To me the 100% tracking looks good, when small caps are set separately as on your picture. But you should consider that the spacing of small caps also depends on the spacing of upper and lower case letters because they are often used in a context. For example small caps can be used among lower case text to attract attention to a certain word or paragraph (as means of selection) and here the more loosely spaced small caps (comparing to lowercase) will help the word to be distinguished. Also small caps can play the role of lowercase in mixed setting, when the word set in small caps starts with an uppercase letter and here the spacing of small caps should be identical to uppercase, because they stand together in the same word. Also small caps can be used among the uppercase text (for example in a book title) and it is a common practice to use some tracking in uppercase setting (which can be programmed in a font with the “cpsp” feature) so if you make such feature you should consider this too when deciding on the spacing of small caps (for the harmony between small caps and tracked uppercase). So there can be different situations and you can leave the spacing of your small caps as it is and let a designer who'll use your font to decide on tracking or try yourself find the spacing of small caps which will suit most of situations.

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Apart from kerning adjustments and a few assorted finishing touches, the Book Italic is done:

Regular and Bold Italics will follow hopefully soon, with which the Benedictine Pro family will be complete. More details and samples at alterlittera.com.

Thanks in advance for your comments/suggestions.

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Quite a few additions to the four "finished fonts" since the last post (Regular and Bold Italics still in progress). Please visit alterlittera.com for new sample posters and, especially, for new, high-res specimen and sample character PDF sheets.

Adaptation from Cédula de Excomunión, Biblioteca de la Universidad de Salamanca, Spain, 1776.

Cheers, and have a nice summer.

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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It's been a long, long time ... But now, the Benedictine Pro Family is getting really finished. Just one major issue left: kerning. So I would be extremely grateful if someone could have a look at these test files:

1. Kerning Test 1 - Book.
2. Kerning Test 2 - Book Italic.

Thanks in advance for your help !!

Tim Gallant's picture
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Joined: 13 Nov 2014 - 9:04am
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Last word on Alter Littera's own site is pretty old, and the above post is from April 1. Would love to hear further word on this. I could envision using this typeface.

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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Thank you. Still in progress. Comments welcome.

Fleisbeck's picture
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Joined: 9 Nov 2008 - 10:57pm
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I have inquired several times about a reconstruction of this face. I have two manuals which need recomposing and I attach one page. Can I get a beta copy?

José Alberto Mauricio's picture
Joined: 4 Jan 2012 - 5:47am
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My apologies for the late response. Please e-mail me to alterlittera[AT]gmail[DOT]com. I will be very pleased in providing you with beta copies of the Benedictine fonts.