(x) Headline from 1940s British Newspaper - ATF Century Bold {Mark S}

I’m designing a book (cover and inside) for a friend. It is WW2 shipwreck story, and the author really wants to emphasise authenticity. I thought using a font that was usual for newspapers in that era (at least for the cover, but maybe through the book as well) could be a way to convey this authenticity.

I have some scans of newspapers clippings which I put through WhatTheFont. (I’m a novice graphic designer, so my type history probably isn’t as good as it should be!). I don’t know how accurate WhatTheFont is, and maybe they don’t even exist in digital versions. Also, communication is the main goal here, so if I can find a good font that is close enough for the target audience to recognise it I would be happy with that as well.

Here are the fonts that WhatTheFont suggested:

Looking at it, it to me seems a bit like a modern serif like Didot, but much more sturdier and less delicate. I was thinking of going with some variant of Century. If that is indeed a good idea, which is the best cut to go by (for headlines), and are there fonts that work well with this that I can use to set the body text? I see Adobe has 2 version of Century (Old Style and Expanded) which are described as good text-fonts.

These are probably all stupid questions, but I would appreciate any help!

I’m sorry if this one belongs more in design that Type ID. Wasn’t sure where to put it.


It's the old ATF foundry face Century Bold. The third one in your list, Century No1 SB-Bold is a digital version of it. Bitstream's Century Expanded Bold is another.

Authenticity is a tricky thing. You have to consider the difference between what fonts were actually used in the 1940s versus what fonts people feel were used at that time - possibly pretty close, but possibly quite different.

So I might actually look more at things that people remember seeing regularly about the 40s - not fonts, but buildings, cars, etc. From there I would try to find fonts that evoke those visual ideas.

Furthermore, when it comes to choosing a text face for the body of the book, there's a severe limit to how stylistically relevant that era's fonts are in conveying that era today. Text works on a very "detached" level.


Hopefully you could find some useful information in a paper I linked to on another related thread (http://typophile.com/node/64039):

Mark Simonson: Thanka for precise answer. (By the way, loving Mostra Nuova. Hope I can find an excuse to buy it.)

hrant: Thank you for advice, I will keep it in mind.

riccard0: Thanks for the link and the eassay. Very interesting, and beautifully designed.