Historical Portuguese Fonts

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Evan Brogan's picture
Joined: 1 Apr 2007 - 3:05pm
Historical Portuguese Fonts

First of all, let me say how happy I am typophile is back online! I've checked for years now. I don't know when it happened, but FINALLY!

I am looking for recommendations on fonts for a book about the history of the Portuguese "founding" of Brazil circa 1500. It's a scholarly critique of a contemporary piece of writing on said history, so I'm looking for two fonts to contrast the historical and the contemporary. One possibility is that I switch between which font is used for headlines, while using the other for body. Perhaps the piece being critiqued has it one way, while the critique itself has it the other way. My other feeling is that I use a modern clean font for headlines, and a more traditional serif for the body. That's not ultimately important right now, but the more information the better, right?

On the contemporary side, I found a font from a Brazilian studio that I liked, Ofelia: http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/blackletra/ofelia-std/
On the historical side, and from the same source, is Garibaldi: http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/harbor-type/garibaldi/ I found it quite interesting that the second example in the carousel actually references Portuguese.

I'm curious if there are other options out there for either font, but especially the historical font I need. On the one hand, the timeframe in question is only 50 years after Gutenberg so some sort of blackletter might have been common in Portuguese book design, but I think those are going to be a little heavy-handed and I don't want run the legibility risk either. Are there other humanist fonts from this time I could look at? (Centaur/Jenson Venetian fonts come to mind but perhaps something else I haven't heard of, or hopefully, created by a Portuguese designer.)


Sérgio Provênça's picture
Joined: 6 Jul 2010 - 1:24pm

Hi, Evan, how's things?
First off, I've posed the same question to myself when I first started enjoying type design. Unfortunately the answer is NO, there is no original aldine portuguese types. The first typefaces in Portugal were Hebraic, founded in the Algarve region in the early 1500 (currently the books printed with those faces are in England, stolen like many other works of art in the piracy heydays).
Most early printers worked with German founders and there never was any local design/foundries doing aldine, or even baroque.
As a portuguese native you can imagine my frustration with this outcome to my queries.
If you're looking for contemporary portuguese designed typefaces there's a good number of fine people working at it, like Dino dos Santos, and even more so in Brazil (even tough it's not Portugal, different country, not the same), that you can see and sample today.
Hope I was helpful in someway!

Evan Brogan's picture
Joined: 1 Apr 2007 - 3:05pm


Helpful in some way? Absolutely! Since my research wasn't being fruitful, I knew it would be tough to find what I was looking for. You've taught me something -- I've learned a little more about history. Finding contemporary designers from those two countries is also kind of tough from over here in the States, speaking English as I am. So those suggestions are more than welcome. I'll take anything I can get =)