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New Baskerville


Baskerville Baskerville was originally created by John Baskerville in the eighteenth century, 1757 to be exact, for the letterpress. In creating this typeface, he aimed to outdo William Caslon, a contemporary printer of the time, who had just created his “Caslon” typeface in the 1720’s. Caslon letterforms were “crisp, upright characters.” Baskerville is a transitional serif typeface between the more classic old style typefaces and the higher contrasted modern typefaces. The drama given to Baskerville on the letterpress was a mixture between the thick and thin of how the letters were cut and the care that John Baskerville took with his process. The dark, dark black ink was part of the key to Baskerville being successful. In his time, John Baskerville went to great lengths to achieve deep black ink. “He created an intense black ink color through the tedious process of boiling fine linseed oil to a certain thickness, dissolving rosin, allowing months for it to subside and finally grinding it before use.” John Baskerville also changed the wooden platen used at the time by his contemporaries with a brass platen, which made the paper and the type meet more evenly. These variables all combined made Baskerville possible. Unfortunately, the Baskerville typeface wasn’t a success until his death in 1775, after which his widow sold his typeface to a French dramatist, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, and it circulated foundries in France. Baskerville was converted into a computer typeface thanks to Bruce Rogers’s efforts for a modern revival in the 1920’s.


curved smooth brackets


l i gr a p l a c hi cs w as h tail s l stre s ca

ver ti


descender on uppercase


The lowercase p and q of above, are very similar to typeface, below. The diffe weight difference of the t

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, op



b ow


R S T U V W X Y Z a b c


f the Baskerville typeface, o the Old Style’s Garamond erences mostly lie in the thin and thick strokes.

pq John Baskerville 1706–1775

John Baskerville, born 28 January 1706 and died 8 January 1775, was the English founder of the Baskerville typeface. Baskerville got his start as a servant to clergyman. His master took note of his skill at penmanship and made it a point that he learn to write. In 1740, Baskerville began a japanning, also known as varnishing, business which gave him the money to eventually move into dabbling with type founding. Baskerville spent much of his time developing a press method. At the time, the secrets of printing were kept close and rarely shared. Oftentimes, Baskerville would follow professional printmakers and buy exactly as they did in hopes of learning the craft. It wasn’t until 1757 that he actually published his first work, an edition of Virgil. Also in 1757, he created the Baskerville typeface.

d e f g h i j k l m n o

“In short, Baskerville proved to be what they c

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ing of fonts” making the true statements more likely to be accepted and less likely to be dismissed.”

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My personal assessment of Baskerville is that, from afar, it looks very similar to any other seriffed typeface. It’s when the typeface is enlarged and one starts taking the typeface apart piece by piece that the really interesting little qualities rise to the surface. At first glance the letterforms look upright and professional but there are many calligraphic qualities to it, such as the beautiful tail to the uppercase Q. The dramatic difference between the thick and thin strokes is the perfect balance between the low contrast Old style and the slightly too dramatic Modern style. In my opinion, this typeface would work best in body paragraphs in print; it might have a little too much contrast to work as an online typeface and be a strain on the eyes. Also, I feel as if this typeface would hold it’s own in large format as well, maybe not on a billboard or anything HUGE, but maybe on the cover of a magazine or book. Baskerville lends its subject matter a sense of trustworthy truth and a sense of grace as well.

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Morgan Lynn Stockton

Kansas City Art Institute

Typography I

Fall 2012


New Baskerville  

Type Sample book for the typeface New Baskerville. Created for Typography I class at the Kansas City Art Institute

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