Fairbank Italic (metal versus digital)

Do any of the Typophile brethren have an idea why Monotype opted to use upright romans rather than sloped romans when it digitized Fairbank Italic? I've owned this typeface since its initial digital release and hate that I've never used it believing the metal design is vastly superior.

The digital ampersand just hurts and ugh the spacing & kerning is ridiculous. It took me a while to get anything that closely resembles the specimen listed in the Bixler catalogue (the above image in the attached pdf) and still . . . it's pretty weak. Any insights would be appreciated. I'll pipe down now like a good Typophile lurker should.

fairbank specimen.pdf101.89 KB
PabloImpallari's picture

Interesting.... traking this post

Terrence Chouinard's picture

This from Linotype's promotional copy:

". . . the face could have been lost, were it not for Robin Nicholas, Monotype Imaging's Head of Typography in the United Kingdom, and Carl Crossgrove, a senior designer for Monotype Imaging in the US.

Nicholas and Crossgrove used the original drawings for Fairbank as the starting point for a new digital design, but this was only the beginning. They improved spacing, added subtle kerning and optimized the design for digital imaging. In addition, Nicholas created an alternative set of lowercase letters, fancy and swash capitals and enough alternate characters to personalize virtually any design project.

By the time his work was complete, Nicholas and Crossgrove had created a small type family that included Fairbank, a revived version of the earlier metal font, and Fairbank Chancery, a more calligraphic rendition of the design. An additional suite of ornate caps, elegant ligatures, and beginning and ending letters accompanies both fonts, as does a full complement of lowercase swash characters. Now, instead of a failed Bembo italic, Fairbank emerges in its true glory: a sumptuous, elegant design that will lend a note of grace to holiday greetings, invitations, and any application where its Italianate beauty is called for."

So I am left to wonder if the original drawings for Fairbank contained these incomprehensibly bad roman caps, ampersand, etc. Or did Nicholas and Crossgrove just not finish the job.

Hey Monotype! Who do I complain to?

kentlew's picture

You could drop a line to Carl Crossgrove and ask him to directly:


He might stumble upon this thread all on his own, but I don’t think he’s been visiting Typophile as regularly of late.

Terrence Chouinard's picture

Thanks Kent. Fine idea. I will try it and if I can't get him looped into this thread, then I will report back with my findings for te good of the Typophilic record. Thanks again.

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