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I’ve got a book here, published in 1994. The textface is definitely Bembo. But there are a few minor differences compared to the Linotype/Monotype Bembo I know. The leg on the ‘R’ isn’t as extrem and the ascender/terminal on the ‘f’ doesn’t lean to right as far. The ‘W’ seems a bit narrower. Was/is there another version of Bembo?


Not seeing the sample - it's hard to guess, could it be a cousin of Bembo, such as http://Dante?

Monotype does make some alternate versions of Bembo. For instance, if you check out Monotype Roman Alternate, you will see the difference on the leg of the 'R'. Monotype also makes a book version of Bembo; and Adobe has their own version of Bembo. If I had to guess, I would say it's one of these that accounts for the differences you are seeing.

Thanks so far.

No, it can’t be Dante (and certainly isn’t) because, like I said, the book was published in 1994 (and Dante is much younger). For the same reason it can’t be an alternate-glyph-opentype font. (I guess that’s what you meant by Roman Alternate, Aa.) It isn’t Adobe’s Bembo either.

Here are some scans:

Bumpin’ the Bembos.

I remember seeing a Berthold ad in the early '90s for their version of Bembo. One of the features that was touted was the shorter leg on the "R". There doesn't seem to be such a font on Berthold's site or anywhere else. I wonder if it was withdrawn.

> There doesn’t seem to be such a font on Berthold’s site or anywhere else

I have the Berthold Bembo version in PS type 1 format, but the font shown here is not Berthold's Bembo, because its "f" is as protruding as that of other Bembos (whereas the capital R is not as protruding).

For exact identification, Jan should supply a scan of italic. Even a few short italic words will do.

The publisher is Wagenbach, just in case it matters.


Not knowing the title and the year of first publication of the book, I can only surmise on the basis of the blurred scans that the book could be a reprint of a book printed by letterpress and typeset on a DDR (i.e. former East-German) linecaster. This would account for the fact that there are no kerns (see italic f and Roman f, italic j etc.). I suppose that Roman J and italic J (which are not shown on the scans) will have no kerns too, because line-casting machines did not have kerned letters.


Herbst in Peking
von Boris Vian

erschienen als einmalige Geburtstagsausgabe im Jubiläumsprogramm ... im Juni 1994

Für diese Ausgabe © 1983/1994,
Verlag Klaus Wagenbach,
Ahornstr. 4, 10787 Berlin

I doubt that it’s a reprint of a book from East Germany.

Bembo British & American:

Thanks, David.
‘R’ is looking good but not the ‘f’.

> ‘R’ is looking good but not the ‘f’.

The R is called the Rightwinger R (Richter-R)

see http://www.sanskritweb.net/forgers/richter.pdf, page 5

Since Berthold AG's Bembo is no longer available (see Mr. Mark Simonson' remark above), I made a typesetting specimen (including all glyphs):


Note that this file is temporary and will be deleted in a couple of days.

The foundry type Bembo was also available with a narrow (non-kerning) lowercase f:

see http://www.sanskritweb.net/temporary/Bembo-f.jpg

Thanks, Uli. That seems to be it. What is or was that “Foundry”? It is the same David posted samples of, isn’t it? And your sample is letterpress, right?

> What is or was that “Foundry”?

Foundry type means Handsatz in German. In 1983, nobody would have typeset "Herbst in Peking" in foundry type. Linotype would have still been possible in 1983, but Linotype in West Germany never sold a linecaster version of Bembo. That is the problem here. That's why I surmised that a East German linecaster (perhaps of Russian origin) was used here. There was a DDR Typoart Bembo, but I have no specimen.

For what it is worth, the specimen David shared is from Wiley's Type Specimen Book, originally published in 1974 by V&M Typographical, Inc.