Early XX century revivals

davidegiorgetta's picture

Why were made a lot of typographic revivals of old typefaces in the early 1900? Maybe for the starting traditionalism of the period? and which was the most famous revived typefaces?
thanks for the answers!

blank's picture

Why were made a lot of typographic revivals of old typefaces in the early 1900?

William Morris. Updike expounds on this in great detail in volume II of Printing Types.

…and which was the most famous revived typefaces?

Monotype Baskerville.

Nick Shinn's picture

Why were made a lot of typographic revivals of old typefaces in the early 1900?

It was a way to bring order and quality to the messy new media of the 1890s.
The Arts & Crafts style used by private presses, influenced by Morris's Kelmscott Press, was taken up by the mainstream.
It was receptive because at the time there was no concept of "modernism" as we understand it, and historicism was a new idea.
Historicism appealed to the widespread Progressive ideals of the era, because many people were pissed off with the nasty side-effects of a century of industrialization, and idealized the time before -- long before.
Historicism was not just type design, but layout and illustration too.

However, the two most successful "old" faces in America in the 1900s were not revivals: Cheltenham and Kennerley.

"Jenson" was the first and most famous revived face: many type designers wanted to reinterpret the fons et origo of the roman typeface: Morris' Golden Type, Benton's Cloister, Rogers' Centaur. There is a lot of Jenson in Kennerley, too.

The Origins of Graphic Design in America 1870-1920, by Helen Mazur Thomson, tells the story.

eliason's picture

Maybe the archive of older fonts also served as fuel for the greatly sped-up processes of producing type using relatively new technology like pantographic punchcutters.

Nick Shinn's picture

... archive ...

That reminds me of the situation at ATF where, following the merger, a vast library of historical specimens was aggregated, then put in a library by Henry Bullen, where it became a resource for Morris Benton and other ATF personnel.

Regarding the pantograph and history mining, it enabled a new class of designers, independents such as Fred Goudy, to prepare working drawings for typefaces, getting deeper into the minutiae of the design process than during the days of punch-cutting. (An earlier precedent may have been wood type.)

Goudy, De Vinne, Updike, Cleland, Bradley, Rogers, all those folk were bibliophiles and members of organizations such as the Grolier Club, of which De Vinne was one of the founders.

William Berkson's picture

I think a lot of the effort was due to the technological change around 1890. There was not only the pantographic punch cutter, which was critical, but also Linotype and Monotype, which necessitated recutting all faces for them. The ease of producing many sizes that the Pantographic Punch Cutter enables was an important force in the efforts of Morris Fuller Benton at ATF.

Of course there was also a fashion change, a tiring of the extremes of Victorian design, and a taste for the more classic coming back.

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