(x) Perpetua-style serif from The Golden Encyclopedia - Emerson {Hrant}

Bendy's picture

This comes from an encyclopedia I picked up in Burma. It was printed in the States by Golden Press in 1946. Can anyone tell me what it is?


I especially like the contrast on the z and the terminal on the top of C.

hrant's picture

Ah, that's the sober but charming Emerson, by Blumenthal.

http://typophile.com/node/15269

It owes a lot to Bremer Antiqua, mostly because both were cut
by the same punchcutter, Louis Hoell, albeit decades apart.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

No wonder I couldn't find it. First I looked at the lowercase e, and thought of Caslon, and then I checked such possibilities as Palatino, Weiss Roman, De Roos, Aldus Roman, Diotima...

Bendy's picture

Oh, wow, interesting thread Hrant. What a great find! Like you I was especially admiring the lowercase /a/ and the uppercase /U/, which was what reminded me of Perpetua. I like the foot serifs on /a/, /d/ and /u/ too. I checked out your lovely specimen and noticed the Q is very different to the one in this encyclopedia, which has an almost straight tail and looked out of place to me. I'll post an image when I get home.

Is it me or is the comma different between the roman and italic?

Did you start digitising it? I think it's a lovely face. I can post more images if you're interested.

Thanks for recognising it anyway! :)

hrant's picture

I haven't done anything with it yet - I'd have to track
down the rights first. If you get an all-clear it's yours.

hhp

Bendy's picture

>I'd have to track down the rights first

Gosh I wouldn't know how to start! But I'd love to try my hand at a revival. I was secretly hoping this hadn't already been made digital — it would be a great project :)

hrant's picture

You know, Bremer Antique is another great one to revive.

hhp

Bendy's picture

Do you have any samples of that?

I'll post some more images of Emerson on my Flickr stream. Just bought a new digital SLR so it'll be a chance to test out how my lenses respond in macro use. Exciting :)

hrant's picture

I'll start a thread on Bremer Antique soon, and hopefully you can add in your Emerson stuff - it might make for an interesting discussion, not least about the behind-the-scenes relevance of punchcutters.

BTW, what's the effective resolution on your camera macro? I have a lowly RDC-7 (3.7 megapixel) but because the macro can go as close as 1cm the effective resolution is over 2000dpi. Here's an example, at about 1700dpi:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/48413419@N00/4177363425/sizes/o/in/set-7215...

The edges start getting blurry though.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

Had I seen a copy of the Golden Encyclopedia, I would probably have just ignored the typeface, assuming the book to have been in a typeface I never saw before because of being printed in Hungary or somewhere like that to save money.

It is a beautiful typeface, but I can also understand why it was not successful. The italic looks particularly bad in the absence of any kerning. I would suspect the rights to digitize the face belong to Monotype, and, were they to do so, since a digital version would be properly kerned, the face would have a chance of achieving its potential - basically, as competition to Palatino; an oldstyle typeface comparable to Bembo or Caslon, but with a very modern design sensibility in some areas, such as the serif at the bottom of the lowercase y.

The fact that it has "hybrid numerals" - like those in Microsoft's Georgia - is interesting. I had not known that there were legitimate examples of this; although it's certainly useful in avoiding confusion for modern readers, some people will react to a 1 that doesn't look like an I in non-ranging numerals as an indication of typographic illiteracy - instead of simply a creative and original touch. As I noted in the thread on Al Gore, though, people are familiar with hybrid numerals in typewriter faces.

Thus, if hybrid numerals were hybridized a second way - so that while certain digits did extend below the baseline, or above the digit height, they did so by small amounts, and the numeral height was only slightly less than the cap height - then the ranging-style 1 would be perceived as normal.

hrant's picture

> I had not known that there were legitimate examples of this

Almost all of them are legitimate.
The old-fashioned x-height OS nums are dying out for good reason.

hhp

Bendy's picture

Yeah, the italic looks less successful than the regular to me too. I somehow like the charm of the no-kerning predigital era.

Hrant, I'm afraid I don't know quite how to calculate effective resolution as I'm a newbie to digital technology. Most of my photos are done with slide film. However my new camera has 15 megapixels and my old 70mm f2.8 Sigma lens can focus at a minimum distance of less than 20cm. The results should be awesome — I haven't had a chance to try it out as I need to buy a memory card tomorrow.

But here's the previous pic zoomed to 100% on my cheap and nasty 5.1 megapixel Fuji pocketcam.

So in terms of rights, would it simply be a matter of contacting Monotype? How would one approach it?

Oh, I remember I was saying something about serifless instrokes to the /a/. I think this is my favourite example of one that really works.

Bendy's picture

Oh, you know, I made a mistake about that Q. On closer inspection, the headings are in an entirely different font. What? And why?

eliason's picture

Why, because it's bolder.

Bendy's picture

Isn't it only bolder because it's larger? And if it's larger, wouldn't it have been just as easy to set Emerson a point size larger and achieve the same degree of emphasis? And if not, why not choose something that would contrast better? That Q poked me in the eye because the font looks the same but isn't. It just looks funny to me. (Forgive my naivete here, I know next to nothing about predigital technology.)

eliason's picture

wouldn't it have been just as easy to set Emerson a point size larger and achieve the same degree of emphasis?

Not if they didn't happen to have a font of Emerson a point size larger!

And if not, why not choose something that would contrast better?

They thought they could get away with it, and 63 years later you may be the first to complain, so they were pretty close to correct! :-)

Bendy's picture

Hah! You're right of course :D I bet nobody else noticed in 63 years!

marcox's picture

AQUEDUCT is set in Plantin

quadibloc's picture

I can guess one reason they might have chosen to use Plantin for the all caps headings of the entries in the encyclopedia.

They may have even partly chosen Emerson for its "hybrid" numerals, having the charm of old-style numerals while not being confusing to the younger readers of the encyclopedia.

However, Emerson does share one important attribute with Perpetua: the upper-case U looks like a lower-case U, having a tail. Plantin, as your image illustrates, doesn't. So they may have picked it to avoid something confusing to younger readers.

It could also be, however, that Plantin was simply part of the Golden Books visual identity for some of their covers.

Oh, I've just thought of a simpler reason. When Monotype obtained permission to make a version of Spiral, they added an italic. But the accounts of that I've seen never mentioned them adding a bold. So, once they decided to use Emerson, but they wanted to begin entries with their names in bold, they had to use another face just to get a bold.

Bendy's picture

Gosh, it is Plantin. The proportions looked so narrow I didn't even recognise it!

>But the accounts of that I've seen never mentioned them adding a bold

Yes, I checked American Type Design and Designers by David Consuegra. Page 91 says "The first version of Spiral had no italics... In 1934 the Roman version was cut, and the following year, the italic. The typeface's name was then changed to Emerson". Sounds like a cool project to make a bold.

hrant's picture

To figure out the dpi:
- What do you mean "zoomed to 100%"?
- What point size is that?

BTW, I'm seeing a lot of blur and artefacts in that sample.

> would it simply be a matter of contacting Monotype?

That's the best place to start.
But things tend to get really hairy really fast.

> Oh, I remember I was saying something about serifless instrokes to
> the /a/. I think this is my favourite example of one that really works.

Maybe the top cusp does it for you.

--

FYI:
http://typophile.com/node/66461

hhp

riccard0's picture

>I'd have to track down the rights first

Gosh I wouldn't know how to start!

Just ask Uli! ;-)

Bendy's picture

>Just ask Uli! ;-)

Perhaps not eh?! :D

>really hairy really fast
Hrant have you tried? Sounds like it's going to be really difficult.

hrant's picture

It's just that people are often non-committal, and one
thing they try to keep you becoming aware of is when a
design's ownership has lapsed due to the passing of time.

Sometimes when you ask somebody if he owns something that
he actually doesn't, he will say "Yes!" or he'll just stay silent...

hhp

Bendy's picture

For anyone who wants more: The Golden Encyclopedia on Flickr.

Bendy's picture

Never mind.

hrant's picture

What do you mean?

hhp

Bendy's picture

Hah, I was going to enquire about Bremer Antique then found your other thread, so it didn't matter any more.
:^)

Syndicate content Syndicate content