Let's talk about Mrs. Eaves!

kakaze's picture

So as not to hijack Ralf's thread, I decided to start a new one.

I'd like to know everyone's impressions on why Mrs. Eaves has become such a very popular font in such a short time and whether or not it maybe just a temporary phase.

Personally, I think the charm of Mrs. Eaves is the fact that it looks modern, but has such a wonderful antique feel to it. Combined with the extra ligatures and it's lovely italic, Mrs. Eaves can be quite whimsical without being very "scripty" or novelty.

I'd like to think that it will be around for a long time, though I'm not sure if it will ever take a place alongside the big classics such as Garamond and Caslon.

hrant's picture

I think there are two reasons:
1) It combines femininity with what Bilak calls "synthetic construction". This is a very rare combination in type (usually feminine faces are very chirographic), and novelty is an important force in marketing. One could also add that femininity in society in general has been on the decline, and is now missed.
2) There was a massive core of Emigre lovers who wanted desperately to set a lot of text in an Emigre face. With Mrs Eaves they could finally do it! Except they didn't know enough about the importance of tight/regular spacing to readabilty...

hhp

hrant's picture

I think you're being a bit harsh. I mean, ITC Garamond?! :-)

> the finer details of the relationship between the x-height and the ascenders and so forth

The problem with Mrs Eaves isn't just that the spacing is messy (with only 40-something kerning pairs to patch things up) it's that its overall loose spacing goes against all its other parameters, like the tiny x-height, and the lightish color. You can't use it small, and you can't use it large. Except if you throw InDesign's optical spacing on it, in which case you can use it for about 14-24 point.

Robin Kinross has equated Mrs Eaves with a loose bicycle. I wouldn't ride it myself, but at least it's very pretty.

hhp

hrant's picture

And if you apply negative tracking, you'll amplify the bad spacing.

They should've fixed the spacing in the OT version.
<bad_joke>And called the new version Mr Richard, Mrs Eaves's ex-husband.</bad_joke>

hhp

hrant's picture

Hey

kakaze's picture

Woah, brutal.

It can't be as bad as you say if people use it.

And, I'll probably want to hurt myself later, but who is Bilak?

John Hudson's picture

I've mainly seen Mrs Eaves used quite large, most strangely in information panels at the Doge's Palace in Venice. The spacing is loose, but it is also a strangely wide face, so the spacing is not as bad as it might be for a narrower face, but I still would be inclined to respace it and add more kerning pairs if I ever had occasion to use the face.

Bilak is Peter Bilak, who gave my second favourite presentation at TypeCon.

hrant's picture

> It can't be as bad as you say if people use it.

Popularity is a very weak indication of merit, especially in the world of text types.

John, who was your first?

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

>why Mrs. Eaves has become such a very popular font in such a short time

Market Presence:
*unexpected paradigm style shift for the famous Ms Licko/Emigre
*clever name (yeah, I know, Mister Frisky was first...)
*good promotional material

Novel features:
*smart ligatures
*two sizes of small caps
*unicase variant

Discreet presence:
*Small on the body (an Emigre trope)
*Open fit
(These combine with solid color to create balanced weight.)

plainclothes's picture

"I use it because it is unique and it does stand out."

Tiffany, how does this work when we're all saying that
it is ubiquitous? it may be unique in terms of Baskerville
interpretations, but is it really unique in the
marketplace now?

plainclothes's picture

"But what if, perchance I can use it in a fresh way?
With an unexpected type combination? I'm not going to
throw it out just because it is everywhere."

no argument there. the type itself is only one
component of the equation; an invaluable component,
but not an exclusive one.

bshaykin's picture

Nick, I totally agree, but when you say "unicase variant," aren't you thinking of Filosofia, Emigre's other ubiquitous historical reworking?

I can't begin to describe how much I love that "gg" ligature.

Nick Shinn's picture

>aren't you thinking of Filosofia,

er, yes. sorry.

anonymous's picture

Mrs. Eaves may be be chique, fancy, fresh, charming, cool, "feminine", beautiful etc etc.

But it has rarely anything to do with good typography. It is superficial, shallow and, in short, an abomination.

It is a failure of ITC Garamond proportions.

Use it as you wish.
It may bring you luck, it might even bring you typographical insight, but do not set any amount of text over ten syllables.

I'll leave it to the good people of Typophile to explain the finer details of the relationship between the x-height and the ascenders and so forth, while I, in desperate need for more nuance, go and polish my english typographical vocabulary.

Next time I'll post as a registered member. Promise.

anonymous's picture

Hrant, my pleasure.
Second or third thing tomorrow. Now: Sleep.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Mrs. Eaves can be condensed a bit to make up for the wideness of it. Not a lot mind you, but it can be. I just wish the serifs were a little smaller or shorter.

The way I see it, if a typeface is poorly spaced, but fits the bill for your needs, you shouldn't shy away from the challenge of using it. I do have some personal opinions about Mrs. Eaves, but even still I use it because it is unique and it does stand out. But, I don't use it when I need a crystal goblet.

Miss Tiffany's picture

You are right about that plain*clothes. But I still think there is life in her yet. But when I've used it, it is usually in display or sub-display tasks. I'm talking advertising. Yes I know it is everywhere. But what if, perchance I can use it in a fresh way? With an unexpected type combination? I'm not going to throw it out just because it is everywhere.

Stephen Coles's picture

Nick nailed it.

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