Arnhem for liturgical text?

pstanley's picture

We have a significant service coming up at the (Church of England) church I go to in London--the Bishop is coming to dedicate a newly painted icon. It is a black madonna, given in memory of a 16 year old victim of a shooting. I think it warrants special thought about the design of the service book, and I am considering getting a new typeface specifically for it.

The core requirements are:

(1) Economical, especially in horizontal space consumption. Because prayers are set like verse, one wants to avoid turnover lines, and a slightly condensed type does that.

(2) A good legible bold because prayers the congregation says are set in bold. It needs to be easily distinguishable from the normal weight, but also easy to read.

(3) A self-effacing italic, because italic is used for rubrics which are not particularly important.

(4) A low cap-height because prayers are full of capital letters scattered mid-sentence (God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Father, Son, Lord etc ...) and one wants to minimize the ugliness.

(5) A good plain text face -- nothing sentimental or churchy in either the Victorian (Ye Gothicke) or modern (sentimental calligraphic) veins.

I saw Arnhem in Kinross's Unjustified Texts, and thought that it might work. But it's expensive enough that I don't want to make a mistake. Does anyone have any experience of using it? Would it fit the bill.

(PS: The CofE itself used to use Palatino, and currently uses Gill Sans. I have used both Ehrhardt and Galliard in the past. Orthodoxy for home-produced services is either Arial (they think it's Gill) or Comic Sans (cos it's "friendly", of course), but I'm a heretic.)

hrant's picture

There are very few good slightly-narrow text fonts.

I think Arnhem might not be plain enough. Consider Sumner Stone's Print:
http://www.stonetypefoundry.com/html_pages/PrintOverview.html

hhp

John Nolan's picture

Minion Pro is a very capable set you might look at, and it's compact.

pstanley's picture

Thanks for both answers. I don't know Print. Anything reasonably accessible set in it? (I am terrible at judging what type will look like when set just from samples.)

Minion is I agree an obvious choice; I have it, which is a bonus. I also have a probably unjustified prejudice against it (perhaps because one sees so much of it about), but I suppose I should probably overcome that, and at 10pt it does look nice.

hrant's picture

> Anything reasonably accessible set in it?

Old issues of Print magazine! :-)
But I don't know what time range.

Plus there's a couple of PDFs on Stone's site.

BTW, Gerald Lange's booklet on photopolymer letterpress is set in it too.

hhp

pstanley's picture

Hrant,

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't believe Print was on my radar screen at all, and it's rather admirable (I'm going on the PDFs; I should check out Print itself--presumably St Bride's, which I work very close to but have never visited, would have it). To my eye it teeters on the edge of being too condensed (I suppose I mean, it is on the edge of actually appearing condensed). But I suppose "teetering on the brink" successfully is a fair hallmark of good design, and it certainly looks promising.

BTW, I do wish it was easier to find raw data about things like cap-height, copyfitting etc -- the sort of thing you get in older books on book design. I know the figures don't tell the whole story, but they do tell quite an interesting story, and it would be very useful when looking at a sample to be given them.

pstanley's picture

Thanks for the suggestion and information, Hrant. I don't believe Print was on my radar screen at all, and it's rather admirable (I'm going on the PDFs; I should check out Print itself--presumably St Bride's, which I work very close to but have never visited, would have it). To my eye it teeters on the edge of being too condensed (I suppose I mean, it is on the edge of actually appearing condensed). But I suppose "teetering on the brink" successfully is a fair hallmark of good design, and it certainly looks promising.

BTW, I do wish it was easier to find raw data about things like cap-height, copyfitting etc -- the sort of thing you get in older books on book design. I know the figures don't tell the whole story, but they do tell quite an interesting story, and it would be very useful when looking at a sample to be given them.

hrant's picture

> it teeters on the edge of being too condensed

That's exactly how I feel!

hhp

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