Information about this fint

Ian Raphael Lopez's picture

I came about a font called Ballardvale, which somewhat looks like Melior or Renault. But the font I saw is called Ballardvale medium-condensed, and having searched for Google, I saw no results. Could someone give me some information, or hopefully, any links to buy the font? Thank you.

George Thomas's picture

You don't say what form you saw the font in -- printed, or an actual font. There is a Ballardvale series used by Balfour-Taylor, the giant yearbook publisher in the US, although the PDF I found doesn't show a condensed version. There is a trainer for Balfour, Hal Schmidt, located in Houston, TX who might shed some light on the origin of the font. His email is hal -at- halschmidt dot com

Mark Simonson's picture

It just a knockoff of Melior. If you want the font, get Melior.

Ian Raphael Lopez's picture

I saw it in a pdf

PublishingMojo's picture

Compugraphic was a US manufacturer of typesetting machines, and in the 1980s they copied popular typefaces and sold them as proprietary fonts to use with their machines. To avoid lawsuits from the foundries that issued the original fonts, Compugraphic gave their copies new names. Palatino became "Palomino," Optima became "Oracle," and Frutiger became "Frontiera." Compugraphic's Melior knockoff went by several names, one of which was "Ballardvale," named after the street in Wilmington, Massachusetts where their headquarters was.

hrant's picture

What Mark said.


Ian Raphael Lopez's picture

So Ballardvale is just a knockoff.... Last question, you have said that Ballardvale was one of the knockoff's name, so what do you think is the final name? Just asking to compare....

Albert Jan Pool's picture

The original typeface is Melior, designed by Hermann Zapf for the typefoundry D. Stempel AG in Frankfurt in 1952. That is way before Compugraphic came up with ‘Ballardvale’ for obvious reasons. The typeface collections of Stempel, Compugraphic and Bitstream all went to Monotype. In many cases the Compugraphic and Bitstream knock-offs were withdrawn from the market. For obvious reasons, I guess …
On Luc Devroye’s website you’ll find an extensive list of original names followed by the names of the knock-offs (not only Bitstream, but also Compugraphic, Scangraphic and many others).

Or what do you mean by ‘final name’?

donshottype's picture

Font forgery. This has been around since the invention of electrotyping in the 19th century. As for digital forgers check out
Not everything on the site is accurate, but it's educational to go though the material.
At least try and purchase fonts from sources that give something back to the designer, if they are still with us, and to the legitimate successors if this is not possible.

mike_duggan's picture


charles ellertson's picture

"There can be only one."

So who are Manutius's "legitimate successors"?

hrant's picture

Type designers.


Ian Raphael Lopez's picture

Thank you all for your comments. I really appreciate it. I saw the knock-off font in a Daily Mail pdf (the British newspaper). It is the name of the front-page headline font.

quadibloc's picture

So who are Manutius's "legitimate successors"?

Well, the fact that revivals exist does not mean that knockoffs cannot exist.

If one goes back to scans of the Hypnerotomachia Polyphilii and then designs a modern trued-up face oneself that captures the essence of what Aldus was doing there, that's a revival.

If one studies samples of Monotype Poliphilus to duplicate that exactly, that's a knockoff. Not that there's as much wrong as one might think with knockoffs when they're legal, and especially when the law did give some decent protection to typeface designs.

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