(x) Thesis... or is it? - PMN Caecilia {Stephen}

anonymous's picture

Hello font-fanatics,

I am trying to find out what this font is:


At first I thought it was Thesis TheSerif, but on closer inspection the serifs appear to be different. This sample is from the Australian 'Donna Hay Magazine', but I think that 'Real Simple' magazine also uses it.

Any help would be most appreciated...
Thank you!


Bald Condensed's picture

PMN Caecilia by Peter Matthias Noordzij (released by Adobe in 1991) predates Luc(as de Groot's Thesis by some 3 years (originally released under the FontFont banner in 1994), but the production of Thesis started in 1989, so it's quite possible they were developped almost simultaneously.

The fact they seem pretty similar is because they're both by very talented, very Dutch ;) type designers who are about the same age and studied at the same school, the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague, with the same tutor, Gerrit Noordzij, who is Peter-Matthias' father. And both typefaces were designed according to the same principle of the broad-nibbed pen.

You can find more info about the genesis of Thesis at Lucasfonts > The LF Font Families > Thesis Classic > Info & Samples. The most interesting part of the creation, it's original design under the name Parenthesis as the "corporate" typeface for the ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat, is not included anymore, sadly enough.

Bald Condensed's picture

That should be "Luc(as)" and "its original design". Bummer.

Bald Condensed's picture

Hmmm... Peter Matthias produced the preliminary sketches for his PMN Caecilia typeface during his third year of study in 1983. Perhaps Luc(as) was looking over his shoulder in class? Or was it the other way round? ;) The actual type family was designed in 1990 and named for his wife. Which is sweet.

hrant's picture

Great info, Yves. How do I get to those preliminary sketches?

BTW, I thought it was named after the wife of a nasty Roman emperor who left her to die when she got sick or something.


Bald Condensed's picture

I couldn't find them neither. The Linotype site just mentions them, but that's all I guess. I've always been a sucker for proto-versions of types too. I really like what Peter Bilak does, for instance.

anonymous's picture

Thanks Stephen, extremely helpful as always.

I have another question though: which of these fonts (PMN Caecilia or Thesis TheSerif) came first? They seem pretty similar in design (or is it just me...?)

Stephen Coles's picture

PMN Caecilia, once lauded by the TDC (or someone) as
one of the top 10 most readable fonts (or something).

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