Text face that can cope with art nouveau display type?

DTY's picture

I read http://typophile.com/node/31206 with some interest, as I have found myself in a somewhat related predicament. I'm going to be doing layout and typesetting of a small periodical that aspires to be a scholarly journal (it isn't quite, but the people publishing it like to think that it is...) and am making new templates, because it was previously done in Quark and I use InDesign. I don't much care for the present look - 10/11 Stone Serif, 4p6 margin all around, headings in Stone Serif semibold - so I intend to alter the design some. Just to make the context clear, the content of this periodical tends to be historical, mostly but not entirely in the 1800 to 1950 time range.

The one fixed point is that the logo, which is on the cover and first interior page, uses Arnold Boecklin. This is such a floridly art nouveau face that it seems the obvious thing to do is go with that theme in the design. I can just about see something like Korinna, or maybe Magister Book, for display use, but then what would work as a text face? The obvious period faces that are suitable are mostly moderns like Century Expanded, which seem like the sort of thing art nouveau was reacting against. What did art nouveau designers use when they needed to set large amounts of text fairly unobtrusively? Perhaps one of the early old-style revivals like Cheltenham? (that one's probably not right for this use, though)

Or is art nouveau so contradictory to the aesthetic of scholarly journals that I might better forget it, pretend the logo isn't there, and design it around some other idea entirely?

dan_reynolds's picture

What about ITC Golden Type? It may not be the clearest text face, but it might strengthen the period feeling you want.

ITC Goudy Sans is a bit anachronistic, but I like it.

Is Tiemann too far out?

Nick Shinn's picture

How about Clearface?
It's a progressive face of the early 20th century on several counts, with the mother of all modernist type names.
Firstly, its design strategy addresses legibility in as logical a response to scientific reading theory as has ever been made. (It would be interesting to know more of how it was tested in prototype.)
Secondly, the way it does that is somewhat organic (hence connection to art nouveau) in the "extra" lower-case balled terminals, which grow on "branches" which sprout from the main stems in a curvy way--like round seed husks as seedlings push them towards the sky. (The "r" is very nice.)
Thirdly, it's proportions are compact and develop upon the evolutionary line that runs from the original didones, through the scotch moderns, to the more sturdily rendered Century styles of the early 20th century.
Fourthly, it is a member of the first sans + serif mega-family -- and you can get a lot of mileage out of the sans side.

DTY's picture

Thanks, Clearface and Golden Type are both interesting ideas that I'll test out to see how they work.

poms's picture

Nothing for copytext of course – but as you mentioned Korinna for display use, i thought of Belwe …

ben_archer's picture

I'm with Dan and Nick on this, but as Thomas has mentioned Belwe I'd thought I'd chime in and suggest Windsor. However I don't believe it has enough versatility for academic text setting, whereas Goudy Sans or Clearface clearly would have – a blurring of these distinct notions might produce a choice like Bookman which is not very far from your initial idea about Cheltenham...

DTY's picture

These are great suggestions everyone; they're all helping me see this in different ways. I think Windsor may not quite work for extended text, but it does highlight a possible connection - Windsor and Belwe both have an element of Venetian in them. Belwe might pair well with an early 20th-cent. Venetian like Centaur, although the swashes on V and W might be a bit too flamboyant in this use. I'm not sure if Windsor contrasts enough to be useful as display type with a Venetian, but it's certainly in the right spirit for something that nods to both art nouveau and academic sobriety. And Korinna is in somewhat the same position with regard to Bookman.

blank's picture

I'd go for an early twentieth century Venetian revival—it seems like use alongside art nouveau types would have been kept in mind by the designers. Goudy oldstyle or Cooper oldstyle should do nicely.

DTY's picture

Thanks all, this discussion made me realize that some sort of balance between organic and Venetian qualities might be the right answer, so Cooper Old Style it is.

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