Old-style numerals

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Gaius Martial's picture
Joined: 2 Mar 2014 - 4:14pm
Old-style numerals

Hello again, guys!
I’m with a new question for you. I like the so-called old-style numerals, with 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 having descenders, and 6 and 8 having ascenders. Also I like the Roman-like number 1 of fonts such as Bembo and Centaur.
According to what I’ve found searching on typefaces, the fonts Aldus, Arno, Bembo, Emerson, FF Scala, Goudy Old Style, Requiem and Sabon all feature old-style numerals, with Bembo, FF Scala, Requiem and Sabon showing the I like numeral for 1. Of these, I have Goudy Old and Sabon available in my PC, however the numerals are regular, nothing of old-style, only a slight overshoot of 4 and 7 in the Goudy Old. Also the 1 of Sabon is regular. Why? And where can I find some typeface that has truly old-style numerals?
Can you help me, please?
Thanks in advance.

Charles Ellertson's picture
Joined: 3 Nov 2004 - 11:00am

When you get into the history and the reasons lining numbers (perhaps best describes as "capital" or "uppercase" numbers) were developed, the answers are a bit long for an internet post. Alvin Eisenman did a wonderful job in an older Adobe publication Font & Function, #10, Winter 1992. Find a copy somewhere -- maybe a Library.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am

There's a ton of good stuff on this topic (including "hybrid" numeral styles) right here on Typophile. If the local search doesn't work for you use Google with "site:typophile.com".