Old and improved.
A resurrection of six beloved typefaces, the Historical Allsorts collection uses digital techniques to achieve warm, handmade results.
All of the typefaces we think of as “classics” are modern inventions. Each of the grand fonts whose name pays tribute to some typefounder past — every Garamond, Caslon and Bodoni on your computer — is a recent invention, created by a designer in a modern drawing office, attempting to capture the essence of some historical artifact. Unless you have set Giambattista Bodoni’s foundry types by hand, you’ve never actually “used Bodoni.”
Type designers call these adaptations “historical revivals,” and they form the foundation of the modern typographic corpus. Some revivals acknowledge themselves to be interpretations, adopting a personal, ironic, or even antagonistic stance toward their historical sources. But most are created with reverence, their designers dutifully going about capturing the virtues of some attractive artifact in a modern medium. Inevitably these projects are highly subjective, since only the designer can decide which qualities are virtues and which are flaws, and even attempting to distill a collection of visual forms down to “qualities” reveals the perspective of the modern interpreter. Someone attempting a Garamond revival does not have Garamond’s workbooks or essays to read, nor any preparatory drawings that might reveal his specific intentions. Our notion of “Garamond” is enshrined in a collection of printing types created by the hand of Claude Garamond (or his workshop), and even these printing types might fail to capture what we think of as the essential quality of Garamondness.
The Historical Allsorts, created in 1992, was an experiment to see if a historical revival could be produced independently of the judgment of the designer. Read more...