Interested to have more information on French Clarendons

Yehan's picture

I'm actually looking for a nice French Clarendon for a project...not the Playbill kind though, the more quirky looking ones — similar to this but with more stress.

Anyone has recommendations?

Aaron Thesing's picture

Perhaps Manicotti or Trilby.

The image you linked looks like a prototype of Trilby, and I can only assume the djrtype.com URL refers to the very same David Jonathan Ross, who designed both Manicotti and Trilby.

Slightly off topic, but to clarify: does the term French Clarendon more accurately describe type like Manicotti and Playbill, or something like Audebaud?

Yehan's picture

Thanks Aaron. I'm curious too about the classification. I'm actually looking for a display-ish typeface. Trilby is wonderful, but lacks the punch I'm looking for. Manicotti is overdone for my project. Will keep trawling.

kentlew's picture

Why don't you just contact David (through the About page on his site)?

I know that he's played a lot with different variations on this theme, not just his two published results. I'll bet that sample you cited (while not prepped for retail) is probably close to a working font. Maybe you could work out a special arrangement for some limited use.

David Jonathan Ross's picture

I thought I had buried that image!

Yes that is one of the early studies of what eventually became Trilby. The version I released was chilled out a lot, but there's something here (especially in the italic) that I hope I can come back to if I take another stab at a reversed stress face. I forget what the status of this font is, but as Kent said, feel free to get in touch if you are interested in it or any of my other work.

Have you seen Novarese's Estro? Not sure what the digitizations are like, but I love it. Then there are more playful Cowboy-ish fonts like the recent Cowboyslang.

Regarding the term 'French Clarendon': Looking at the marketing copy, Audebaud appears to be a 'Clarendon that is French', while the faces that I took inspiration from were 19th-century wood types called 'French Clarendons'. I think these tended to be of British/American origin, reversed stress, bracketed, and usually condensed. There are some examples of French Clarendons, and French Antiques (without bracketing) on the excellent Rob Roy Kelly Collection site.

I'm no classification expert, and I wasn't trying to make a statement by calling Trilby and Manicotti 'French Clarendons'. It just happened to be the label for the sources that I used as a jumping off point for these projects. I've spoken with people who refer to the whole mess as 'Italian', though this makes me think specifically of the super-backwards, high-contrast Caslon's Italian, and related revivals/reimaginings. So I'm not sure if any of these are 'accurate' terms, but I guess they'll have to do in a pinch.

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