Your thoughts on Bernhard Modern Roman Bold

Hello Typophiles,

I am a letterpress printer, a hobbyist who works mostly with metal foundry type. As such, my choices of typeface are limited. In fact, I often find myself designing pieces to suit the type I have rather than procuring type for a preconceived design.

I’m planning a large broadside – in the 11-by-17-inch range – with a short poem on the subject of sleeping too late on Saturday. It’s a contemporary poem, but the diction is a little nineteenth-century and the tone is romantic but restrained.

I have some 36-point Bernhard Modern Roman Bold (ATF 670) with enough letters to set the poem – a major advantage. I think it will suit the text, but that might be the result of staring at it too long while thinking wishfully. My question for you is: Is this, in general, a well-regarded typeface? My printing skills are finally starting to mature but I’ve only just begun to understand typography.

Thanks,

Barbara

oldnick's picture

It’s a contemporary poem, but the diction is a little nineteenth-century and the tone is romantic but restrained

Technically, Bernhard Roman doesn't fit any of those niches, but it's an elegant, eminently readable face which is well-suited to poetry (short lines and lots of interline air).

BarbHauser's picture

Thanks, oldnick. The Bernhard Roman does look good, set as you say in short lines with ample leading. My only other choice is Bulfinch, which I don't think has been digitized. Here's an example. What do you think?

CreeDo's picture

If it matters, I do see a digital version of Bulfinch. Nice old-timey feel. Makes me think of... gardening ads?

I hope I'm not doing the tacky thing and linking to a free ripoff of a commercial font, this is what I found via google. If the link's not kosher, my apologies.

[ Link removed by Admin ]

BarbHauser's picture

Good call, CreeDo. It may very well have been used in gardening ads. The description in McGrew's American Metal Typefaces says that it was "designed in 1903 by William Martin Johnson on behalf of the Curtis Publishing Company, owner of The Ladies' Home Journal" and that it was "used extensively as heads in their magazine,..."

This is exactly why, faced with a choice between this and the Bernhard Modern, I'm leaning heavily toward the latter. If I am convinced that neither will do, the next candidates are Caslon 471 or Goudy's Original Village, though I would have to scale down the broadside since I have them only in 18 and 16 point, respectively. These are the challenges of working with metal type, but often such limitations lead to happy creative discoveries.

Barbara

oldnick's picture

I do see a digital version of Bulfinch. Nice old-timey feel

I've had the outlines drawn for an ATF version of same, called Meriontype, sitting around waiting to be fonitfied for almost three years now; I guess I ought to get around to it...

Té Rowan's picture

Also, IIRC, those HPLHS fonts are pretty much limited to the English language.

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