Meggs, Akzidenz, and Benton

blank's picture

In Phillip Meggs’ History of Graphic Design Akzidenz Grotesk is said to have influenced M.F. Benton’s design for Franklin Gothic. The same claim is made about Franklin Gothic and News Gothic in the Meggs/Carter book Typographic Specimens: The Great Typefaces. In neither case is there any explanation or substantiation. Does anyone know if Benton actually did see Akzidenz can I safely write this off as a historian jumping from correlation to causation?

Celeste's picture

In “American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century”, Mac McGrew says nothing of such an influence – which I myself find very unlikely, since Benton had numerous models of Gothic faces to draw on in the catalogues of the 23 independent foundries which formed ATF. Furthermore, Franklin Gothic shows numerous features which make it a very different typeface from Akzidenz Grotesk (the two-storey g, for instance, when one of the innovations of AG was a single-storey g).

Nick Shinn's picture

...one of the innovations of AG was a single-storey g...

Not an innovation.
Already in 1858:
http://typophile.com/node/46184

Celeste's picture

You're right, Nick, it was not really an innovation — I should have written "one of AG's most distinctive features…". Thank you for correcting me.
Anyway, it seems unlikely that Benton, had he been influenced by Akzidenz Grotesk, would have overlooked this peculiar (at the time and in America) trait, which is an integral part of AG's personality.

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