Serif face revived/inspired from early Aldus/Griffo work...

matthew_desmond's picture

It begins without a sample of work. As I haven't started it yet.

I have however, downloaded a full copy of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, which I plan on basing the revival/inspiration on. This book is seriously beautiful and I think this is as good as any as a starting point.

I can't seem to get through the completion of a serif face of my own design. So, to prove to myself that I can actually do it, I'm beginning from a historical model.

Since the Aldus/Griffo types were poorly "revived" in the early 20th century with Monotype's muddy Poliphilus, I figure there could stand to be a clean copy out there that is not Bembo.

My goals for the face will be as follows (critiques of any part of this are welcomed!):

1. The face should be suitable for book text.
2. The face will follow the work of Griffo as closely as possible from the printed samples available without being too literal. (Are there surviving examples of the actual type used? Are they accessible? What other sources should I be looking into?)
3. The family will include at least the following: Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic, and possibly small caps and lining figures etc.

So, let me know what you think of all of this. Please pardon the thinking out loud.

hrant's picture

Stefan, concerning what were you expecting a response from me?

BTW, I also find the Jenson model far superior to Griffo's. I think
we talk so much about the latter mostly because Morison so badly
wanted a cause célèbre.


William Berkson's picture

Both styles are very viable, both originally and in revival, so I don't have a strong opinion about this.

However, I do feel is that Griffo did make something of an advance over Jenson in making metal type more fully 'typographic', which is to say more 'invisible' by making the color more even, and the characters less calligraphic, and more restrained. The horizontal e is part of this.

Jenson is also great, but my feeling is that for small 12 pt and lower sizes the model set by Griffo may have an edge.

For example, Centaur is a more beautiful type than Monotype Bembo, but it doesn't work at small sizes, as far as I have seen. There have been a number of recent revivals or Jenson-influenced type, and maybe if I studied them I might change my mind.

Stefan Seifert's picture

Hi hrant, hi William!

Hey! In fact I have great difficulties in finding the discussions in progress since the redesign. How is it possible to get a quick link to the discussions one has last made a response or anything. The search modus works very slow and I do not manage to find actual replies very easy. Its hard work for my patience ;-)
hrant, I didn't expect any precise response just have to get used that maybe some topics come to an end while others go on or start from new. I am a beginner with forum, guess I have to learn a lot.

I wanted to attach another secret for me in letter design ;-)

Nice to hear from you anyhow.
hrant what is your baskerville revival doing or wasn’t it you?
I sent to you something - not much maybe it didn’t arrive

so long
hope I will get better in using this forum


Stefan Seifert's picture

Hi William,

you are right anyhow what concerns Centaur for example in small sizes. Depends also a lot yet on the lack of ink means blackness specially in the smaller sizes. The Valdonega interpretation of Centaur has a beautiful 8 point size!! (even smaller than we are used to 8 point!) Heavy enough it is very readable and if use it as a footnote the colour of 12, 16 and 8 point perfectly match. If you close the eyes a little a page set in various size has the same colour density feeling! It is possible.
Ok, Adobe made some progresses in that direction but why are there forms always so rounded and weaky?
Look at Adobe Jensons g, its far to round, to nervous in its counterforms, doesn’t work like a real Jenson.


hrant's picture

I did get your email - I've just been lousy at replying... Sorry.

BTW, who's the bird?

> why are there forms always so rounded and weaky?

It's the air up there.


Stefan Seifert's picture


>I did get your email - I’ve just been lousy at replying... Sorry.

No, I didn’t refer to the mail, I have sent to you a specimen of Baskerville and a printed page via post. Guess it swims somewhere in the atlantic... :-))
I am also lousy at replying. ;-)

>It’s the air up there.

Who's air? Are you living in the mountains? Besides all what I have seen so far in this forum is way better than Adobes fonts!


Stefan Seifert's picture


>who’s the bird?

the bird is from one of Paolo Roversi beautiful photographs from Italian Vogue.
I find it stimulating during the design progress to watch human body forms (specially female I have to admit ;-) as I really think they tell us a lot about natural charming forms. This is what I am gaining at designing letters.

so far
think I have to eat now and go to bed! Sun goes down in Germany.
Besides it rained a week now..


hrant's picture

Ah, something besides bills to look forward to in the mail - thank you! :-)


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