Page 1

BASKERVILLE

&

HELVETICA


g open tail

Q ea

swash tail

small counter of e

JV

BASKERVILLE John Baskerville, designer of the Baskerville typeface, is an important figure to the history of both typography and graphic design. Involved in all aspects of the bookmaking process, Baskerville strengthened the Old Style roman typographic design that began during the Italian Renaissance over two hundred years earlier. Baskerville’s type designs represent the peak of the transitional style, bridging the gap between Old style and modern type design. Although his typeface designs and printing process were widely criticized during his time, Baskerville is now one of the most widely used serifed typefaces. Breaking the rules of accepted printing, creating (what he believed to be) perfect printing, Baskerville changed the course of typographic development. John Baskerville was born in Worcestire, England, 1706, to an upper-middle class family. At age 17, his calligraphic skill was noticed and he became the writing master in the parish school. During this time he was also designing and cutting headstones. In his mid thirties, his father died, leaving him a substantial sum of money. Wanting to increase his fortune, he started a japanning business, one of Birmingham’s principal industries. Japanning, the process of applying multiple coats of varnish to decorate metal items which are then often further decorated with paintings of items or scenes, allowed Baskerville to earn a handsome living.

Although he had to work hard to keep up with his rivals in the japanning trade, this financial gain allowed Baskerville to pursue typographic endeavors, his true interest. Developing a high degree of skill in letterform definition from these earlier undertakings, Baskerville turned to printing as an avocation around the age of 45. Explaining his love for printing, Baskerville said:

“AMONGST THE SEVERAL MECHANIC ARTS THAT HAVE ENGAGED MY ATTENTION, THERE IS NO ONE WHICH I HAVE PURSUED WITH SO MUCH STEADINESS AND PLEASURE AS THAT OF LETTER-FOUNDING. Having been an early admirer of the beauty of letters, I became intensely desirous of contributing to the perfection of them. I formed to myself ideas of greater accuracy than had yet appeared, and have endeavoured to produce a set of types according to what I conceived to be their true proportion.” Classified as Transitional, the Baskerville typeface may not appear that different from its predecessors, but the difference between the fine and bold strokes is more pronounced, the lowercase serifs are nearly horizontal, and the emphasis on the stroke widths is almost vertical.

Lighter and more delicate than Old style typefaces, printers and typographers of the day claimed his type was unreadable and poked fun at his smooth paper, an invention that allowed him to gain greater control over the bookmaking process. Perhaps jealous of his innovation, his critics called his work “amateur.” Handmade paper that was common in Baskerville’s time was too rough and uneven to accommodate his delicate typeface and was so strong that it would need to be dampened before printing, making the surface even rougher than before. To create a smoother paper compatible with his type designs, Baskerville pressed the wet sheets of paper between hot copper plates after they left the press, which left them much smoother. This process helped set the ink, and created paper very similar to bond paper commonly used today. Critical of this innovation, some said that his paper was “so shiny that it compounded the problem of dazzling caused by his new typeface designs.” Baskerville was also revolutionary in the simplicity of his page layouts, ridding the pages of ornamentation beloved by his contemporaries. Wide margins and liberal spacing between letters contributed to the luxurious aesthetic his typefaces elicited. Although his typeface designs and paper were not popular, his advancement in ink quality was envied.

A

Baskerville achieved ink that was so rich and dark that few rival it even today. With improved paper and ink, Baskerville made his own printing press because traditional presses of the time were too inaccurate and unreliable to dependably reproduce his type. Baskerville described his press as, “exactly on the same Construction of other Peoples but perhaps more accurate than any ever formed since the invention of the Art of Printing. . .”

high crossbar, pointed apex

Ww

Baskerville began to offer his designs for sale in 1758, having produced eight fonts by that time. Despite rejection, he continued to design type until his death at age 69. After his death, Baskerville’s wife gave most of his type to Robert Martin, Baskerville’s senior workman. Several years later, his type and foundry equipment were sold to a publisher and the works of Voltaire were printed. His type, punches and matrices were transported to Paris and used during the revolutionary period fifteen years after his death. Deberny and Peignot (French foundry) purchased the punches and matrices in 1936, and presented them to Cambridge University Press in 1953.

no middle stroke

C

serifs on top and bottom

T E

long arms, matched by T

Deberny and Peignot (French Foundry) purchase Baskerville’s punches and matricies.

1953

Baskerville dies at age 69. Birmingham, England.

1936

Baskerville begins to offer his designs for sale. By this time, he has produced 8 fonts.

1775

Around age of 45, Baskerville turns to printing as an avocation.

1758

Baskerville’s Father dies, leaving substantial sum of money. Baskerville starts japanning business.

1751

Baskerville becomes writing master of a parish school.

1740

1706

Baskerville is born. Worcestire, England.

1723

J sits below baseline

Cambridge University Press acquires Baskerville’s punches and matricies.


HELVETICA

Stempel suggested the name Helvetia (the Latin name for Switzerland) which was then changed to Helvetica. Helvetica took off the moment it was released and traditional style type was largely replaced with Helvetica in consumer culture.

Cambridge University Press acquires Baskerville’s punches and matricies.

Die Neue Haas Grotesk is released.

aaaaa helvetica neue ultralight, light, regular, medium, bold

These aesthetic and technical refinements of the original Helvetica were carefully redrawn and expanded, and released as Helvetica Neue in 1983. In the new release, characters were subtly changed to be more harmonious and consistent for increased legibility. The crossbars on the lowercase F and T allow for increased character recognition in text.

Die Neue Haas Grotesk is renamed Helvetica.

Perhaps the biggest difference in Helvetica Neue is the additional weights that were added. The entire family includes eight weights plus italics for the regular, obliques for the expanded versions, and nine weights plus obliques for the condensed, resulting in a total of 51 weights. Helvetica is without the ornamentation and intricacies of many 19th century typefaces, eliminating details and creating neutralism by not having any intrinsic meaning. For designers who believe the meaning should come from the text and not the typeface itself, Helvetica was the solution. While some typefaces lend themselves to a specific aesthetic, Helvetica is somewhat transparent, allowing it to be interpreted based on the context in which it is used.

Helvetica Neue is released by D. Stempel AG, Linotype’s daughter company.

Linotype releases Helvetica Neue Pro.

2007

Since it was originally launched, a variety of designers have worked with Helvetica to adapt it for different technology and production methods, from hot metal to digital. Additionally, because of the technical limitations of some methods, there was inconsistency in the character widths, weights and spacing. With improved technology, these limitations were removed, allowing total freedom in design.

Some punctuation was reworked and improved, and a new numbering system was added in which each weight is identified by both a name and a number, for easier reference. The cap height was adjusted to be the same throughout the entire family, and the x height was adjusted to appear visually equal.

2004

Although Max Miedinger is credited as the designer of Helvetica and did the original drawings, it was Eduard Hoffman, supervisor of the Haas Type Foundry, who wished to improve upon Akzidenz Grotesk, a traditional 19th century German sans-serif font released by the H. Berthold AG Type Foundry in 1898. Realistically, Helvetica can be credited to both Miedinger and Hoffman as a joint effort, Hoffman with his head and Miedinger with his hands. Interestingly, Miedinger was not employed as a designer at Haas. Although he was a graphic artist by profession, Miedinger worked as a salesman who traveled Switzerland selling fonts of type because he could make more money doing this. The marketing director at Stempel type foundry (Stempel and Haas are owned by Linotype, which now owns Helvetica) had the idea to change the name to Helvetica, because the original name was not fit for sale in the United States.

1983

Swiss style emerges as International typographic style.

1953

Deberny and Peignot (French Foundry) purchase Baskerville’s punches and matricies.

1950

1936

Designers felt a sense of social responsibility and many strived for idealism, especially in Europe. During this period, the early experiments of the high modernist period were broken down and rationalized, and Swiss style emerged as an international typographic style driven by Swiss designers in the 1950s.

Helvetica transformed mismatched style advertising and company identities from the fifties into clean, sleek visual communication.

1960

ORIGINALLY CALLED DIE NEUE HAAS GROTESK, HELVETICA WAS DESIGNED IN THE 1950S POST WAR PERIOD, AND CAN BE CONSIDERED A RESPONSE TO THE NEED TO REBUILD AND RECONSTRUCT AND A DESIRE FOR THINGS TO RUN MORE SMOOTHLY.

Helvetica emerges in this period as reaction to a need for rational type that could be applied to a variety of contemporary information.

1957

Just four years later in 1957, Helvetica was released. The neo-grotesque typeface, designed by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffman, has remained one of the most popular typefaces since Linotype released it. Bolstering Helvetica’s success, Helvetica Neue was released in 1983 by D. Stempel AG, Linotype’s daughter company. Finally, in 2004 Linotype released Neue Helvetica Pro, an OpenType version with extended language support. Designed out of a desire for better legibility, the neutrality of Helvetica invites open interpretation, making it suitable for nearly any application.

Commemorating 50 years, the Helvetica documentary is released.


J

s

u

M

7

d

f

&

i

p

}

n

My Fonts Helvetica. Marlborough, MA. Bitstream, Inc. 1999–2010. http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/adobe/helvetica/ Helvetica: Old and Neue Ilene Strizver. Fonts.com by Monotype Imaging. Fonts.com, 2001–2010. http://www.fonts.com/AboutFonts/Articles/

r . t 4 M b n ~ T L r I : v f f d O

a

D

Helvetica. Dir. Gary Hustwit. Swiss Dots Production, 2007.

*

C

?

v

T

t

v

Y

t 4

~ i

V

^F

t

*8

Q

7 ‘ A

%

r

b

d

o

D

j

F e i

The Baskerville Project. http://www.baskervilleproject.com

p

LL

n

m

2

Typographic Milestones. Haley, Alan. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons. 1992. John Baskerville, A Bibliography. Gaskell, Philip. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1959.

HELVETICA

nI z

=

@

U

#

f

Baskerville’s typefaces stand alone as a representation of the transitional style, and served as a catalyst for the course of typographic development. Influencing the work of Bodoni and Didot, Baskerville has become a staple of typographic communication. Some believe Helvetica is the ultimate typeface solution and that anything after Helvetica would not compare, but be in a category all its own. In this sense, Baskerville can be seen as a typeface that inspired the typographic revolutions that would ultimately lead to the solution of Helvetica.

BASKERVILLE

P

Q

Some criticize Helvetica for the Swiss ideology of creating all the letters to look the same, when each letter could be inherently different while still correlating as a whole alphabet. Others argue that fonts should be more expressive than Helvetica, pointing out that there is a thin line between simple and powerful and simple and boring.

A

A

L t

f A / z ~

p

The relationship of the negative space and the figure ground relationship are important components of Helvetica. The shapes between characters and within characters are designed in such a way so that the letters are held powerfully within their space. While people complained of “Baskerville pains,” resulting from looking at Baskerville’s fonts for too long, some critics of Helvetica say it is too simple and straightforward, and also displeasing to look at.

Although Baskerville’s type designs were rejected during his time, they went on to become well accepted and widely used, even triggering a Baskerville revival 150 years later with nearly every type manufacturer in the world releasing a Baskerville font. Oppositely, Helvetica became popular immediately after its release, but suffers some criticism today because it has become somewhat of a default font.

‘0

A v h

J

Some defining characteristics in Baskerville lowercase letters include the open tail of the g, the small counter of the lowercase e (compared to the lowercase italic a) and the lack of a middle stroke in the w. In uppercase letters, the E has a particularly long arm (matched by the open arms of the uppercase T), the C has serifs on both the top and the bottom, the A has a high crossbar and a pointed apex, the J sits well below the baseline, the Q has a swash like tail, and like the lowercase w, the uppercase W also has no middle stroke. The calligraphic J is Baskerville’s most identifiable characteristic. One main identifying characteristic of Helvetica is the horizontal terminals (as seen in the lowercase a, c, e and g), which the structure of Helvetica is based on.

i

&

Aesthetically, Baskerville and Helvetica are vastly different typefaces. As transitional and neo-grotesque typefaces, each has inherent differences that not only differentiate them from each other, but from typefaces of the same style.

hL

T

L

e}g

OLD meets NEUE

x F 7 Q ! 4 e P J r u Lz v jh )+g M?/A C. “ f s k5*0d B

c

Hk s [

nm

$

Type Specifications Body: DINOT 9.75/11.7 Subtitles: DINOT 16.8pt Timeline: DINOT 7.5/9 Bibliography: DINOT 9/10.8 Christina Berglund GDes 2345 | Fall 2010 C. Waldron


E -

A

y

L L

F J

T

L

g p

h T m A5

p

4

!m

i 0 ‘

m

*8

e(

*

u

L3 c

*

-

b

-M

rO

Uo

z P 7 F v Av 7 t r.~ IiI E oOv mdc T E

M Ln

f

,

f:

L y

‘f

e+L

6

L 7

Xn

;

uJ

8

O

7 Q 4 P J ue Lz z j g ?/Atn d

A

4

^ F

}

x !W 1 P T v

v ‘

d

p

T

f F e i

=

@

U

#

A

P

$

t

Baskerville & Helvetica Typography Book  

Book layout for GDes 2345 Typography class.