Penguin Popular Classics -- body font

What is the font used for the body copy of Penguin Popular Classics series?

Is it Times Nine?


It's not any Times, as far as I know. Give me a minute with the Serif Guide and I think I can tell you what it is.

- Mike Yanega

Played with the a bit and it looks like it's some sort of Baskerville because of the Q, z and J.

I think it's a Baskerville, but I can't see detail well enough to be more specific.

- Mike Yanega

The numbers "1, 5, 6, 4, 8, 9" are a clue. Could be John Baskerville, Baskerville Ten or Berthold Baskerville BQ OsF

Thanks, Mike and Jeff!

I doubt if Penguin would be using that, just because I don't think it's very widespread, and for some reason I don't see Penguin using newer fonts.

- Mike Yanega

@ Kaspers: Is this your book? If so, can you provide us with a copyright date and the name of the book?

"Penguin Classics continues the major re-launch begun in 2003 with a complete repackaging program for the entire list, updated noted and introductions, even better paper quality and an incredible new title publishing program, all on the cutting edge of scholarship, packaging and interest both to the trade and academia."

If all else fails you can Twitter Penguin Classics...

Well, that information at least doesn't preclude John Baskerville, which is from about 2001. The book copyright will give a better idea if it's possible in this specific case.

However, on closer inspection, John Baskerville has no serif on the baseline leg of the K, but it seems that the K in the sample has a full serif.

- Mike Yanega

The book is Three men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

David is right -- it is Three men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome.

First published 1889. Published in Penguin Popular Classics 1994.
ISBN: 0-14-062133-4

Abe Books:


If the edition is from 1994 -- go to the whole info page (Published By Penguin Group etc etc etc)

middle of the page... do you see:

Set in....
Typeset by....
Printed in....

@ Mike:

After some further looking I doubt it's John Baskerville... I selected that as an option based off the numbers 1886 from the sample. The 1 is unlike anything I've found in other versions of Baskerville.

If it is indeed a version of Baskerville, the biggest question is what digital version would have been available in the early 90s with old style numbers?

The Adobe version 'BaskervilleBE' from the early 90s came from the Berthold cut and doesn't have the old style numbers. I don't believe the Linotype version has them either.

I found 'Baskerville 353' from Foundry listed on pg. 29 and 30 of 'Type Speciman Book' but aspects of that don't exactly match the sample. I keep looking at the italic "f" and regular "g" in the print and can't get past how much shorter the tail is on the "Q" in comparison with that of Baskerville.

It might be ITC New Baskerville but the "1" doesn't seem to match. :\

Some of the characters (notably r and f) are visibly thicker than others, and the counters on the e's are partially filled in. This makes me think that Penguin didn't set new type for the 1994 edition, but scanned tearsheets from an older edition that had been printed from Monotype or Linotype.

@david hamuel, this book doesn't have that information. Other newer Penguin books that I have do, though.

This has only the copyright notice + printed in Great Britain by Cox & Wyman Ltd, Reading, Berkshire.

I think Jeff (CreativeNRG) may have been on track by saying it might be from a typeset version, although the digital option was becoming dominant by the early 90's (I'd guess). They used something with SCOsF. Without any of my type/font books, I'm not sure which digital foundries offered that then, but Monotype, Linotype, ITC and Berthold were dominant at that time. (Adobe was mostly offering versions designed by one of those foundries, Relatively few fonts were their own versions at that time.)

- Mike Yanega

The short f looks like a Linotype design, but Penguin generally used Monotype, so I'm puzzled. This is so smudged that I agree it is likely from a photocopy of an old printed edition, reprinted.

If that is the actual title page it could prove the rest of the book was a copy... the type doesn't match the previous samples. (Look at the "W")

Also, does the front of the book have the picture from your link or is it all green with the title in Gills? Note that the version with the illustration has the new penguin logo which I suspect wasn't around in 1994.

Hmmm, this site references the book with the illustration with a publication date in 2007...

The copyright page appears to be set in Plantin.

The copyright page above shows that this is the 21st impression. I agree with Victor that this is a scan.

See Amazon's Look Inside feature here:

The ‘Excerpt' looks an exact match to me, and the copyright page confirms Montotype Baskerville.

@Jeff Rochon
That Penguin logo was designed by Jan Tschichold in the 1940s and has been left intact since.

Well, in my edition of the Jaspert Encyclopedia of type faces, Monotype Baskerville has the long nosed f, whereas Linotype has the short nose, so I don't understand what's going on.

@CreativeNRG -- This one is with the picture on the cover.

@PublishingMojo -- It looks you were right.

> @david hamuel, this book doesn’t have that information.

I'll tell you why.... :) The Canadian Conspiracy :)

> Penguin generally used Monotype, so I’m puzzled

Bill you're right; e.g. the 1999 edition was set in Monotype I'm puzzeld too.

Most newer Penguin Classics are typeset in Sabon, the older ones in Bembo.

I noticed a lot of the Penguin Popular Classics are photocopied, and the type ends up very distorted and at first distracting to read, why do they do this? Surely it's worth retypesetting it? Or is it just about profit margins?