Which Janson to choose, and why?

ThomasH's picture

I am considering to buy a "Janson" (Kis) typeface, but I can't make up my mind as to which one I prefer.

I was going for Linotype/Adobe Janson Text when I stumbled upon the recently released E+F Kis Antiqua Now (sample, portrait) which seems very nice. And then there's Monotype Janson.

Which Janson/Kis typeface is your favourite, and why?
Please share your thoughts, and feel free to suggest alternatives! (Monotype Ehrhardt?)

Thank you for any comments - and for a wonderful site!

flooce's picture

Kis Antiqua Now is the most impressive to me and the character set is rather large in comparison to other versions.

Apart from Kis Antiqua Now, Janson Text (Adobe/Linotype) is probably the most common choice: http://www.textism.com/textfaces/index.html?id=14

It might depend as well on the language you want to use it for. The capitals in Janson Text are quite tall I find, not unusually, but Kis Antiqua Now is a bit more contemporary in this regard.

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

I second the vote for Hildegard Korger and Erhard Kaiser’s interpretation of Kis for E+F. Knowing her research and drawings, this is definitely a very sensitive and sensible revival.
There is also a refreshing version by T26.

Furthermore Matthew Butterick is about to finish a very promisingly looking Ehrhardt/Janson kind of typeface — in case you can still wait for a couple of weeks. http://www.typographyforlawyers.com/?page_id=3028

ThomasH's picture

polytonic Greek and vocalised Hebrew would be nice... :-)
...but I will mostly use the typeface for text in Danish and English. However, I will occasionally use it for German bodycopy as well, so you're right in pointing out the issue of the size and feel of capitals.

I'm no lawyer, but thank you for the link. I will definitely have a look at Equity.

Keep the comments coming!

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

Oh, I don’t think Equity is restricted to the use by lawyers at all. The intention was (I think) to make it suitable for long text, office printers and, to some extend, “laymen proof” i.e. easy to set well. But Matthew explains it better on his website.
Especially the distinct and well-spaced punctuation caught my attention, probably because I had to deal with some less attentively crafted typefaces recently (had the pleasure to test it for a while and it’s bliss to set and read text in).

ThomasH's picture

Sorry, I was just joking because of the name of the website, “Typography for Lawyers”.

Interesting observations about punctuation and legibility! Perhaps somebody has got similar experiences with the other Janson fonts – ? I would like to hear something about the overall usefulness of the various Jansons, including the Kis Antiqua New, if anybody has had the opportunity to use it yet.

flooce's picture

The guy from this typographic guidelines: http://www.nbcs.rutgers.edu/~hedrick/typography/typography.janson-syntax...
recommends Janson and Sabon as readable text fonts.

Janson and Caslon are not too far from each other either. Caslon is a standard typeface.

ThomasH's picture

Oh yes, I own a few Caslons already. But let's not turn this into yet another Caslon thread :-)

flooce's picture

What I ment to say is, that you probably can't go wrong with something which is a relative of one the most used typefaces in the 20th century.

Stanley Morison called Janson "an excellent letter".

It is well received by Bringhurst:

“A number of typefaces designed for the Linotype were artis-
tically successful
in spite of these constraints. Hermann Zapf's
Aldus and Optima, Rudolf Ruzicka’s Fairfield) Sem Hartz’s Ju-
liana, and W. A. Dwiggin’s Electra, Caledonia and Falcon were
all designed for the Linotype machine. Linotype Janson, adap-
ted by Zapf in 1952 from the seventeenth-century originals of
Mikles Kis, is another eminent success. Many Linotype faces
have nevertheless been modified in the of digitization,”

Janson Text (1985) likewise seems to me the most successful
digital version. It was prepared under the supervision of Adrian
Frutiger, based on Kis)s originals and on Zapf's excellent Lino-
type machine version.”

I think the two new Variants Kis Antiqua Now and Equity are finally doing it justice for the digital world.

butterick's picture

had the pleasure to test it for a while and it’s bliss to set and read text in

Thank you for the kind words Indra. Yes, Equity will be available shortly. (PDF sample available now.)

For color and texture, I’ve always liked Janson Text and Monotype Ehrhardt a lot. But I don’t use them very much because I find some of the details distractingly quaint (the droopy ear on the lowercase g comes to mind). Also, digital Ehrhardt is a pale representation of the metal version.

With Equity, I took hot-metal Ehrhardt as a model and pushed it to be more contemporary and less quaint. Like my last font family, FB Alix, the project was inspired by my work with legal typography, but all are welcome.

Janson fans should also be aware of David Berlow’s excellent titling Janson, called Kis FB.

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

Indeed, I totally forgot about David’s. Oh the crispy display styles! Bold Italic! The headstrong figures!

Thomas, your post is more and more tempting me to get some Kis-derivates rather than helping you decide.

ThomasH's picture

In that case I consider the post a success!

butterick's picture

Update — Equity is now available from http://equityfont.com

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