First Type Designer to name a Typeface after himself?

mattmc's picture

I know it's common now for type designers to name typefaces after themselves, but who was the first to do this?

I know Claude Garamond is an early type designer known for influencing the many forms the typeface Garamond has taken on today, but as far as I know, he never actually named his faces after themselves, the name Garamond was used retroactively.

Anyone know who started the trend?

Celeste's picture

Frederic W. Goudy ?

mattmc's picture

Perhaps it's Goudy. I'm finding it's just a tough question to google (it's difficult to even phrase correctly) and the graphic design/typography history books I've read haven't answer that exact question.

paragraph's picture

Bodoni had a foundry in his name, but I doubt that he would have called any of his fonts after himself. In the old days the name of anything was more likely to be the patron's rather than the creator's. Perhaps Didot or Baskerville?

cerulean's picture

Baskerville was still too early; the idea of naming a font beyond Roman, Italic, Black, etc., didn't really happen until the industry became globally competitive. It might have been Eckmann in 1901. If not, it was probably Goudy. But "started the trend" is probably the wrong thing to call it, because by that point, there had been so many prominent type makers that it sort of happened by itself.

mattmc's picture

If it is Eckmann or Goudy, it seems surprising that it would take until the late 19th, early 20th century for a type designer to do this. I'm sure it was seen as an egotistical thing at first though. Perhaps that's why it may have taken so long after the invention of movable type?

mattmc's picture

Did Bodoni name his faces after himself, or were those given the name Bodoni afterwards by someone else? Because if Bodoni named them, that could take it all the way back to 1798

paragraph's picture

Some of us cannot use this immortal vanity vent: Schmoeger Fat Extended™ does not appeal to me (116kg ;-) As for the name itself, words starting with ‘sch...’ are rather unflattering in ייִדיש, huh.

charles ellertson's picture

Umm, didn't the Chinese have movable type before the west? Wonder if they named it.

mattmc's picture

The chinese were the first to have ceramic movable type, the koreans were the first to have metal movable type. I'm not sure if they named their faces or not, but I guess my question is about the first western type designer to name a typeface after himself.

Si_Daniels's picture

Re. China and Korea. I was wondering the same thing - but at best the type would have been named for the ruler or official that commissioned it, not the designers who did the work.

speter's picture

Some of us cannot use this immortal vanity vent

Peter Extra Bold? Peter Condensed? Peter Extended? I guess I won't have eponymous typefaces.

Nick Shinn's picture

It was the president of ATF, Robert Nelson, who recommended that Goudy Old Style be named after its designer.
(At least, according to Mr Goudy in Goudy's Type Designs.)

mattmc's picture

Some of us cannot use this immortal vanity vent

I'm not sure if I'm in the same boat, but I can't think of a great irish named typeface.

McInerney 55 Roman? FF McInerney Oblique? I dunno

Mark Simonson's picture

Kleukens Antiqua is from 1900 and was designed by F.W. Kleukens. Still looking...

Mark Simonson's picture

Grasset, designed by Eugène Grasset, 1898...

Mark Simonson's picture

Behrens Roman, Designed by Peter Behrens, c. 1900.

Nick Shinn's picture

Were those types self-published?
If not, it was probably the foundry's idea to capitalize on the designer's reputation (as with Goudy Old Style).

mattmc's picture

Thanks so much Mark, so you think Grasset is the answer?

Sye's picture

yeah, i can't see a 'simon sans' or 'robertson serif' being overly popular...

speter's picture

If "Simon Says" can be a popular game, I don't see why "Simon Sans" couldn't be a popular type!

mwelchisdead's picture

Goudy wasn't born until 1865 so I'm not sure if he would be the first.

Maybe Bodoni(1798)? Didot(1784 - 1811)?

m welch

eliason's picture

Boston typefounder H. C. Hansen was advertising a "Hansen Old Style" by the beginning of 1897.

Miss Tiffany's picture

This is some interesting trivia. I wish I had the answer.

Well there is the Romain du Roi. Not named for the designer, but for the king.
Before that Geofroy Tory had his typeface. I really don't know. And now I have
the urge to go hunting.

Sye's picture

@speter - good point!

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Behrens Roman, Designed by Peter Behrens, c. 1900.

Georges Auriol gets "beaten" by Peter Behrens, then. Auriol was designed between 1901-1904. :-)

James Mosley's picture

I think the names of Grasset, Auriol, Eckmann and Behrens are all right. But it was the founders who did the naming. And I think it is no coincidence that they all happen at once. These designs are examples of what Tschichold, in his austere modernist mode, called ‘artists’ typefaces’. They already had a high profile in the graphic arts, so it was a good move on the part of the founders to exploit their distinctive lettering as type, and call it by their names. I think it’s best to see these ‘designer’ faces in the new and very competitive context of type-making of the early 20th century, when the founders, threatened by the Linotype, felt a need to market their large bodied faces more aggressively. And in both France and Germany the marketing included a pretty powerful charge of national feeling.

It seems to me that the first instincts of Morris Fuller Benton took him in a different direction. He developed an impersonal design with the bland name of ‘Cheltenham’ (the type that resulted is a long way from the lively original sketches by Goodhue) and then marketed all the variations that were made in house as members of a must-have ‘family’ of designs, like Cheltenham Condensed, Cheltenham Bold, Cheltenham Bold Expanded, and so on. But since ATF’s ‘classic’ names like ‘Bodoni’ and ‘Garamond’ sold pretty well too, they marketed the designs they bought from Goudy (and to which they gave a slick, professional ATF treatment, rather to his irritation) as ‘The Goudy Family’. And of course Barnhart Brothers and Spindler, who stayed independent from ATF, exploited the name of their one star in-house designer Oz Cooper, as in Cooper Black. ‘Star’ as in Hollywood, of course, which led the way.

Apart from Gill (a special case) English Monotype mostly stayed with high-profile classics, like Garamond, Baskerville and Fournier. Being dead they did not ask for royalties.

bieler's picture

Not sure I understand the actual rationale of the OP but Bodoni and Baskerville are attributed much much later; not in their time. Caslon, on the other hand, was Caslon from the get go.

Was Caslon a type designer or just a foundry? or is that a preference afforded independents like Goudy working in the twentieth century?


James Mosley's picture

The name of Baskerville must be one of the earliest examples of self-promotion in type history. He was a designer, rather than a type maker, getting a professional punchcutter to realize his own ideas of what a type should be. He was selling what in France would called a ‘look’: an overall concept that covered type, paper, layout – everything. At the same date (1750s) Jean-Pierre Fournier (the elder Fournier) used the legendary name of Garamond to sell the original 16th-century types, for which he had matrices.

I've been trying argue recently that the name of Caslon did not become a typographical ‘brand’ until the last of the Caslons had died, and the owner of the foundry (called Smith) was promoting the so-called ‘Caslon Old Face’ as a unique and genuine relic – a claim that led to all kinds of problems.

Uli's picture

In the oldest colophon extant, contained in the incunable "Catholicon"

if I read the Latin text of the colophon correctly, the type is attributed to the "Holy Father" ("sanctus pater"). Likewise in India, the Devanagari type is attributed to God ("deva" means God, and "deva-nagari" means "belonging to God's city").

Nick Shinn's picture

I nominate Edmund Fry, for Edmund Fry's Great Primer Script.

This is from Specimen of Modern Printing Types, by Edmund Fry. Letter Founder to The King, Type Street, London, 1828. Although the family foundry was named the Polygot Foundry, also know at the time as Edmund Fry & Son, Mr Fry, a great scholar and something of a self-promoter, positioned himself as the author of the book, and this typeface.

None of the other faces in the book are prefixed by his name, and indeed his Great Primer Script is quite different, because it is a bizarre system of typography by letter parts--so he may well have felt inspired to claim credit for what was more of an invention than a style. However, the name "Edmund Fry" does appear prominently at the foot of many other specimen pages, so it could be said he named more than one of his types after himself!

In this, and both the Caractère Grasset and Eckman-Type, the face is not identified solely by the designer's name, because that is used as a possessive noun.

Mark Simonson's picture

The question was, Who was the first typeface designer to name a typeface after themselves?, but the answers, so far (even mine), are mostly to the question, What was the first typeface named after its designer? So, the original question implies that the designer is also the namer.

If possessives count, then I agree Fry is probably the answer.

jabez's picture

"Goudy was the first type designer to name one of his creations after himself."

Found it mentioned in Simon Loxley's book.

eliason's picture

Maybe Loxley should have started a Typophile thread on the question before going to press!

James Mosley's picture

Goudy's is the only name that makes sense if you want to answer the original question. But then he is the first type designer to operate independently, being one of the new ‘lettering artists’ who drew letters for photographic reproduction rather than cutting every letter in metal by hand in the original size. And they drew them very well. Goudy's pupils in Chicago, Oz Cooper and W. A. Dwiggins, didn't do badly. The results were simpler type designs that could be made with Benton's new pantographic technology.

And since – as we know because he took good care to tell us – Goudy not only sold designs to the type makers but made several of them himself, cutting his own pattern letters in cardboard, he wanted, understandably, to promote his own name. Unlike Grasset and Eckmann, fine artists whose names promoted their types. Making your own types at home and selling them. What an unheard of thing to do.

Jongseong's picture

Re. China and Korea. I was wondering the same thing - but at best the type would have been named for the ruler or official that commissioned it, not the designers who did the work.

Here's what I can find about names of Korean typefaces.

Typefaces that were commissioned by the Korean court were typically named after the name of the year in the sexagenary cycle. For instance, Gabinja was made in 1434, which was a gabin (甲寅) or a 'yang wood tiger' year, and Gyemija was made in 1404, which was a gyemi (癸未) or a 'yin water sheep' year.

Byeongjinja, made in 1436, a byeongjin (丙辰) year, is also known as Gangmok Daeja because it was used for the big (dae) letters in the gangmok (綱目) style texts, which mixes two sizes of letters. It is also known as Jinyangdaegunja, because it was based on letters written by Grand Prince Jinyang (Jinyang Daegun).

There are a number of other cases where typefaces are known by those whose lettering they are based on; Gabinja was also known as Wibuinja based on a false attribution of the letters to Madam Wei (衛夫人, Wi Buin in Korean), a Chinese calligrapher. Gabinja was actually based on the letters found in a number of books deemed to have beautiful lettering in the style of Zhao Mengfu another Chinese calligrapher, with Grand Prince Jinyang supplying the missing letters.

Hanguja was a typeface made in 1677 based on the letters written by Han Gu, a noted calligrapher of the time.

There are also typefaces known by the names of the publications they were used to print, or by the name of the person in charge of making them, especially if they were not commissioned by the court but by private individuals. Yulgokjeonseoja was made by a group of private individuals to print the Yulgok Seonsaeng Jeonseo (The Complete Works of Yi I, also known as Yulgok), and it is sometimes known as Honggyehuija after Hong Gyehui, one of its principal commissioners. I'm not sure if these names were given at the time they were made or later by type historians.

All the typefaces I mentioned are those used for Chinese characters. Typefaces for the Korean alphabet don't seem to have been given separate names at the time.

Nick Shinn's picture

Goudy’s is the only name that makes sense if you want to answer the original question.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, Goudy Old Style was named by the president of ATF, not by Goudy himself, who wrote that he "released" the name to ATF. Fry, however, was the foundry boss, so almost certain to have done the naming of Edmund Fry's Great Primer Script. Was Edmund Fry actually a type designer? Did he concoct that strange joining system? Who knows.

Goudy nomenclature was no different than Fry's--possessive noun followed by genre, so: Goudy Old Style, Goudy Text, Goudy Medieval, Goudy Ornate, &c.

Bradley: 1895 (based on his lettering, rendered by Joseph Phinney.)
As an artist and designer who did his own lettering, and also freelanced type design to foundries, Will Bradley preceded Goudy.
But again, naming the face after him was probably the foundry's decision, to leverage his "brand recognition".

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