Hunting for a high contrast serif headline font to debut with the redesign of well established high end Fine Art magazine.

Well established, high end, nationally distributed Fine Art magazine is undergoing a redesign asap (to be started now and completed in days maybe weeks but not months) Sorry for not just telling you my name and what magazine I am redesigning now but I am not at liberty to "publicly disclose" this info but send me an email and I will inform you of everting by email or phone (hurray for technicalities). Of course, you can just look at the art section of any Barnes and Noble newsstand or google high end Fine Art magazine if your in a country that may not have in on the newsstand and figure it out.

If I had a budget (I myself, am not getting a cent for the redesign: Art magazine, even long established ones that target the affluent, often, ironically, generate little in the way of net profits) I would commission something as I have done in the past but clearly that is not an option unless someone reading this really wants to make a name for themselves. What is most likely and has also happened a number of times is that someone is working on a font/font family that fits what I am looking for and so they license it exclusively to the magazine for a token amount, like a dollar, for a set time period, like a few years or until the font is ready to be commercially available. (Don't worry, I will not disclose any names of who I have done this with but all one has to do is pay attention to who are the successful type designers who often have there fonts in magazines before they are commercially available.)

So what am I looking for? A high contrast serif headline face with a hairline thin hairline in the tradition of, but not a duplicate of, Caslon or Didot. More specifically this font has to communicate a "slick high fashion" sensibility through the same visual cues that the fonts BaronMTModern, Carine, do (Examples shown) yet not be so radical that it irritates the predominately visually conservative sensibilities of its current audience who is accustomed to seeing headlines set in the Minion family. In other words I have to strike the delicate balance in the design between creating something "hip" enough to attract design forward members of generation x and millennials (which this publication needs to grow) without alienating the very affluent baby boomer and greatest generation readership it now has. From my perspective BaronMTModern and Carine are two examples that hit this balance perfectly. (though I can nit pick on some details)

Fonts I have considered using but just fell short include:

Big Caslon
(For the most part this would of been perfect but for the fact that everyone has the same cut installed on there computer and the hairline is not as thin as a hairline not to mention there are a few details that would need to be finessed. If any one has created a new version or something that is inspired by Big Caslon please let me know right alway)

(a bit overused right now and its unique attributes do not communicate "slick high fashion" to me)

Williams Caslon

(I looked at as many cuts by as many people as I could find)

Didot elder


Miller Banner
(strong contender if only other magazines were not using it as much. Also, none of the cuts has a hairline as thin as a hairline.)

Thank you for taking the time to read this I will not be getting much sleep till this redesign is done so if you email me I will likely reply fairly quick. (ps I may be contacting some of you whom I have worked with in the past directly with the same message latter- did not want to be a jerk by calling on the weekend to ask for a favor)

kentlew's picture

Matthew Carter has designed another “Big” in the vein of Big Caslon. This one is based on the larger styles cut by Isaac Moore, in the generation after Caslon and modelled after Baskerville’s types. It is called therefore Big Moore.

I’m not sure exactly when it is scheduled for official release, but the fonts themselves are done. There are, at present, only two styles — Roman and Italic. The hairlines may not be fine enough for your requirement. But if you’re interested, you might contact Harry Parker at the Font Bureau about reviewing/licensing in advance of the release.

PabloImpallari's picture

Try Libre Caslon Display & Libre Caslon Text.
It's based on lettering artist "caslonis" typical of 1950 advertising (Caslon construction, Didone contrast).

It's on the final beta stages. The iKerned release will be up in a few days.

blinded's picture

Thank you everyone for all the input will be looking into it all. Please feel free to keep it coming or to email me directly (Is that still possible with this incognito account?-thanks)

blinded's picture

Just posting to keep the thread running as I am still looking into all that was posted. Thank you once more for all the comments and if any one else would like to provide input please do.

oldnick's picture

If your object is cheap, cheap, cheap...

bojev's picture

But Nick, it is nice, nice, nice........

blinded's picture

Funny oldnick, "cheap, cheap, cheap" is not my objective at all but rather quality, quality, quality that fits the intended concept perfectly. Just as gourmet chefs hand select each ingredient and preaper everything from scratch rather then use pre processed and/or canned ingredients nether should a designers use pre processed ingredients like, layout templates, stock art and yes mass consumer fonts (no snobbery meant whatsoever.) A notable portion of the value that comes from design is the uniqueness of what is created but when you use elements that the public can get there hands on they mistakenly get the notion that there is nothing special about design and that, they themselves can "find a better template" and add "several filter effects" to "really" make the design "sparkle." I have never met a wold class photographer, who at one time or another, did not have someone from the public - that is not a professional photographer - comment on how, if they (the non photographer) had that "special, expensive" cameral they (the non photographer) would take even better photographs then the pro.

I will be considering your suggestion with all the rest.

Thanks for the input.

bojev's picture

Nick knows about good design and you mentioned the issue of no budget - I think he was just pointing out that not all "good" things need to cost a load of money, just as you point out a good camera does not always make for better photographs

Andreas Stötzner's picture

I suppose you want a much higher stroke contrast, but I could offer to make something based on this:

– unpublished.

Also this could be a starting point, an unpublished design as well:

Pablo, Libre Caslon looks very good!

blinded's picture

Just want to say thank you for all the impute that has come in, both on this bored and directly to my email. I am very impressed with both the generosity of spirit and the quality of work in the pipeline. If I have not yet had the chance to replay directly to your email I apologies, I am still working my way though the overwhelming response. I did not want to send a canned reply. I am very impressed at how some examples from type designers I was previously unfamiliar with are holding up against examples from people that everyone of us knows. Once I get all the mayor layout concepts done I will be able to test out the fonts in earnest so there is still plenty of time to keep the suggestions coming and thank you once more.

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