Dwiggins' humanist sans

pablohoney77's picture

In Anatomy of a Typeface it talks about how this face was never produced by Monotype and gives some sketches. I'm wondering have been any typefaces based on this lettering?

pablohoney77's picture

i will do that tonite or tomorrow morning, tiff. do you know the design i'm talking about? (i thought you of all people might) ;^)

type's picture

page 331?

Thomas Phinney's picture

If I recall correctly, the face bore a noticeable resemblance to Optima and a bit to Radiant, no?

T

pablohoney77's picture

to my eyes it look more like a roman without sans than does Optima. At any rate, here's the image from Anatomy p. 331.

WAD sans

vincent_connare's picture

'If you don't get your type warm it will be just a smooth, commonplace, third-rate piece of good machine technique - no use at all for setting down warm human ideas - just a box full of rivets... By jickity, I'd like to make a type that fitted 1935 all right enough, but I'd like to make it warm - so full of blood and personality that it would jump at you.' From Dwiggins' fictional argument over the modern age of steel and speed'

WAD

Thomas Phinney's picture

More like Optima meets Lydian than my recollection of Optima meets Radiant, though.

Gotta run into the office, though. No time to chat.

T

pablohoney77's picture

This sketch was dated March 21, 1929
on page 336 of Anatomy Lawson states that he, "showed Zapf the Dwiggins drawings in the Cary Collection, and they were a revelation to him."

pablohoney77's picture

Hmmm, couldn't find Colonia, but Stellar by Middleton was issued in 1929 but Anatomy states it was not a commercial success.

vincent_connare's picture

damn my post didn't go .. i have that image on my website by jickity...

http://www.connare.com/essays.htm

raph's picture

These are awesome letters. Is there any chance that someone can provide me with a high res scan? In any case, Anatomy goes on my must-have list.

pablohoney77's picture

hey that was gonna be MY next question! actually Anatomy says that these drawings are now in The Cary Collection. Anyone know where/what that is? Any ideas on how to get facsimilies of original drawings?

hrant's picture

Vincent, great piece - and it reminds me that I once flagged your page for a thorough perusal, but have yet to get around to it.

--

Raph, the triumvirate of type books are:
Lawson's Anatomy
Tracy's Letters of Credit
Bringhurst's Elements

BTW, this is something else that Thomas and I agree on!

hhp

pablohoney77's picture

hey i own all 3! i must be well on my way to building a solid type library!

raph's picture

paul: the Cary Collection is hosted at RIT in Rochester, NY.

pablohoney77's picture

thanks raph! that should give me a good starting point

dezcom's picture

If I remember my Caligraphy correctly (it has been 42 years), the Dwiggins sample you posted looks like a variant on Simplehand Roman. The proportions are different though. Simplehand was a true Roman proportioned writing. The Dwiggins above is much more monoproportioned. The "o" and "e" are quite narrow for Roman proportion but strangely the "g" is wider.
Actually Thomas has a point as well since Lydian looks a lot like Simplehand as well

ChrisL

hrant's picture

I've been clearing out old bagfuls of printouts, notes and other junk, and I ran into this:
https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9912&L=typo-l&P=R558&I=-3

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

You should show a sample to everyone Paul.

Miss Tiffany's picture

yes i do. but i need an image to totally jog my memory. i'm sure it hasn't. from what i remember he was distracted by other things. i'm sure Kent Lew can correct me and add to the story. :-)

Miss Tiffany's picture

I know I have this image somewhere in my notes but I can't seem to find it. I agree with Thomas, this is heavily bent toward Optima. I can't remember when he drew these. Can you make any dates out Paul? I don't have my copy here at work. Optima however was designed (completed) in 1958, and Dwiggins died in 1956. His hand was not so sure toward the end of his life because of his diabetes so this must be at least from the 30s early 40s. Myfonts mentions that Optima was designed to compete with Ludwig & Mayers Colonia. I wonder when that face was completed. Does anyone know? Can anyone post an image of that?

Miss Tiffany's picture

Right. I remember that now.

If you go to myfonts, search for "optima", then click on the sheep to see more like it you will be surprised at how many are "similar".

Miss Tiffany's picture

If anyone is serious about digging up info on Dwiggins, and wants a little bit of a head-start, I can always send them a copy of my Bibliography from my dissertation.

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