This is a "distressed" font, but based on what?

Amado's picture

All,

Powell Antique free font:
http://www.identifont.com/find?font=Powell+Antique&q=Go

What's the closest font you know that would be a "clean," un-distressed version of something like this? Look at /P/R/A/T/p/

Put another way, is this distressed font based on some other typeface (or genre), and if so, what?

bojev's picture

Look at LeamingtonEF Light Elsner+Flake

Amado's picture

Thanks, Bob. Sadly, though, I don't see the similarity.

Any other takers? It looks strangely familiar to me, but I'm not deep enough in this world for the association to be reliably stored in my brain.

Edit: AHA! Wait, no. The /P/R/ remind me of http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/canadatype/dutch-mediaeval/ , but there's little else in common. A clue, but not a conclusion.

Edit2: Further clues. In the Dutch Mediaeval direction, there's Erasmus http://www.identifont.com/similar?7NF and Roos http://www.identifont.com/similar?209L but that's stretching further and further. That trail ends there. But on another direction, there's:

...which also led me to Belucian - http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/fontbureau/belucian/

Am I close to cracking the case? Someone here knows more about this than I!

Special-K's picture

Maybe you could ask the designer:
http://www.steffmann.de/wordpress/

donshottype's picture

Here is Dieter Steffmann's web page http://www.steffmann.de/wordpress/
He retired in 2012 but does answer questions.
Don

donshottype's picture

Based on the information found so far, the best prospect is to think about fonts similar to Pabst Old Style, by F. W. Goudy. That's not the font, but the style is very close. It has many of the features that Goudy repeated in many fonts -- he was prolific to say the least. Many of his fonts are not digitized. Some info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_typefaces_designed_by_Frederic_Goudy
I suspect that this font could perhaps be Goudy's Powell of 1903, produced by the Keystone Foundry. Mr. Powell, who was working at the time as advertising manager for the Mandel Brothers company commissioned the font and it was named after him. Powell had previously commissioned a font for another company. That font became Pabst Old Style.
As this was a private font, a specimen is not available from the usual sources. But I expect it can be found.
This might be a false lead. Lanston Type Company has digitized a font called Powell which does not match Steffmann's Powell Antique. Won't know until we find a specimen of Goudy's Powell of 1903.
There is at least one web pages reporting the progress of digitizing Goudy's fonts. http://www.goudyfonts.com/shop-numerical/
An alternative is that the font was made by a competitor at BB&s OR elsewhere working in Goudy's style.
Don

quadibloc's picture

There is an LTC Pabst Oldstyle; it is very close, but the specimen I've seen looks as if it's distressed too.

Oh, yes - looking for the original, I instead found Pabst Oldstyle itself in the 1906 ATF catalog, and it is distressed, so for regular faces of that type I'd have to go even further back.

donshottype's picture

In the late 1890s foundries started producing some fonts in a style called "rugged" which to our 21st century eye look "distressed" and we expect that there was a smooth font that was distorted. But circa 1900 the rugged fonts were produced as originals to give the impression of being produced by an artist on rough paper, or roughly cut by a punch cutter. Smooth versions of these typefaces were neither produced nor expected. This was part of the movement to replace "artistic" and "aesthetic" typefaces that had been in vogue for about 20 years with a new generation of typefaces that said, vigorous, virile and rugged This coincided with a cultural shift to imperialism, empire and "manly expression."
Some well researched books describe the change, e.g. Clouse's _Handy Book of Artistic Printing_ (2009).
Note that the shift to rugged fonts was for the the part of the typeface market that was mainly advertisers who wanted display fonts that looked like strong handwritten statements and had the other qualities mentioned. This was the field for Morris , Goudy and the like.
For the book market the change was to stronger, i.e. darker, typefaces that achieved mechanical regularity by use of new punch cutting machines that produced type designed fort the new type compositing machines.
I am attempting to describe a complex set of changes in a relatively short post, a real challenge and clearly neglects important aspects. For example, I could have said more about Morris and his effect, but this was recently discussed at length in http://typophile.com/node/114418
Don
Don

Amado's picture

Outstanding!

Your link to the wikipedia article was a big help. It's also a big help to understand that there was a stylistic trend for "rugged" fonts at one point, and that they weren't at the time thought of as "distressed."

I don't think it's necessary, for my client's purposes, for a type specimen of Goudy's 1903 "Powell" to be found. I'd certainly be interested to see one, just for the comparison, but there's no budget for anything like a revival.

I'm about to recommend Goudy 38, Goudy's "Village", or (for a different direction) Roos (or Dutch Mediaeval/Erasmus if they want something darker). I don't think we're going to find what I'd think of as a "perfect match" for this display font... I'm just gonna have to make some thing "work well enough."

THANKS for the great information.

donshottype's picture

You're welcome Amado. For some time I have had a passion for fonts from that era. Good luck on your project.
Don

bojev's picture

Here is Goudy Powell from 1903

quadibloc's picture

Incidentally, in my searches, I found a mention of a slightly condensed version of Pabst Oldstyle, with the name Avil, that appeared in the 1912 ATF catalog, taken over from Inland.

donshottype's picture

Thanks Bob, Goudy Powell from 1903 is a match for ITC Powell http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/lanston/ltc-powell/ Perhaps a little more "rugged" than the original :)
Don

donshottype's picture

Hi John, thanks for tracking down Avil, an Inland font, shown in the 1912 ATF specimen book. Here are some representative excerpts of Avil from ATF 1912 -- this was one of the last specimen books to use only sample phrases without a character set:


Very nice "rugged" font that differs from all of the typefaces mentioned so far. Note the variations in letter-forms between point sizes. Obviously each point size was cut by hand as a separate font.
The search continues.
Don

donshottype's picture

Finally was able to assemble a full character set for Inland Avil


don

bojev's picture

Good work Don - source for Avil character set?

donshottype's picture

Hi Bob, after you posted I cleaned it up a little more. It's from a sample on Luc Devroye's Inland Page, enhanced and chopped into sections for presentation in Typophile's narrow window.
It's on my "hope to font someday" list. Never enough time to do all these fun projects.
Don

bojev's picture

I think you did a good "cleanup" - nice sample.

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