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1. Introduction

larend 2. The Anatomy of Type

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3. History Background


C 4. Families 5. Characteristic


Introduction

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Clarendon font appears to have started off as a design exercise to create a font that could highlight text within normal type. Apparently, until a certain point in history, this was almost always done by using italics, and Clarendon is nominally associated as the first “related” bold face – as in it was designed to look nice along

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It’s also interesting to note that this particular font entered pop-culture history in terms of the type of font used in in certain noted environments. One being the wild western in North America (i.e. “wanted” or “reward” signs), and other, where Clarendon variants (specifically “French Clarendon“) took on a circus look (it’s even known as “Circus Letters” in some texts).

Although, there were other typefaces with a similar “look” appearing at earlier dates, the Clarendon font seems to be most appropriately associated with an origin date of 1845, and by a Robert Besley of Fann St. Foundary. Although, from general internet perusal, the circumstances are a little vague, it would appear that Besley went on to gain further fame in later years as a Mayor of London.

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Anyway, it wasn’t until the 1920s when Clarendon, once again, experienced a resurgence of sorts, and like before, this was primarily due to pragmatic reasons. You see, at this point in history, newspaper production rocketed to new heights, and as a result, the printing technology became a lot more efficient as well as a lot faster and rigorous. However, a downside to this, was the fact that many of the type sets used were taking a physical beating resulting in the plates being damaged

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“One of the first companies that began to experiment in this way was Mergenthaler Linotype Company. After four trials they finally issued a typeface that was based on a clarendon/ionic model from the 1850s. The name of the typeface was Ionic No. 5…. The typeface was very successful…”Within a year, the typeface had been adopted by some 3,000 newspapers all over the world.” (Miklavcic, 2006)”

Consequently, a number of companies attempted to produce new fonts that would still look good, but could also function in the wear and tear realities of the new printing demands. Here, the Clarendon font stepped in.

Anyway, this led to a large number of fonts which many feel fit within the Clarendon look. Including the current incarnation of the font, which was revised by Hermann Eidenbenz in 1953.

Finally, Clarendon-like fonts experienced another boost during the 1950’s. This, just after the World War 2, coincided with a general increase in advertisement productions. Typography as a whole was caught in an intensive move to design new and innovative typefaces.

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The Anatomy of Type

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Bar

Spur


t H x Terminal

Cap Height

X-height


H i s t o r y

Although, there were other typefaces with a similar “look” appearing at earlier dates, the Clarendon font seems to be most appropriately associated with an origin date of 1845, and by a Robert Besley of Fann St. Foundary. Although, from general internet perusal, the circumstances are a little vague, it would appear that Besley went on to gain further fame in later years as a Mayor of London.

Clarendon font appears to have started off as a design exercise to create a font that could highlight text within normal type. Apparently, until a certain point in history, this was almost always done by using italics, and Clarendon is nominally associated as the first “related” bold face – as in it was designed to look nice along with standard Times fonts.

B a c k g r o u n d

of Clarendon


F a m i l i e s

The classical Clarendon form originating in England in 1845 as polished by Edouard Hoffmann and Hermann Eidenbenz at Haas a little over a century later. Haas’ revival of this typeface in 1953 precipitated the revivals that follow.

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Characteristic This category includes the typefaces patterned after the Clarendon type styles first released in the mid 19th century. Clarendons were designed as bold faces to accompany text composition. Their stroke contrast is slight, and serifs tend to be short to medium length. Later, many of these designs were released at larger point sizes as display types. Character stroke weight that is more obvious, and serifs that tend to be longer than earlier designs, mark more current interpretations of this style.


Application Clarendon Bold was used by the United States National Park Service on traffic signs, but has been replaced by NPS Rawlinson Roadway. In 2008, the typeface was utilized extensively by the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain in the re-launch of their corporate identity. The travel magazine of the American Automobile Association, uses the typeface for its logo and headline copy. Versions of Clarendon can also be seen in the logotypes of corporations such as Sony, Pitchfork Media, Wells Fargo, the Spanish newspaper El PaĂ­s and the Swedish house manufacturer Ă„lvsbyhus. The Fortune, or Volta, typeface was used for the wedge spaces on the Wheel of Fortune dollar amount wheel. A modified version of Hermann Eidenbenz's Clarendon Bold is now used. The American rock band Switchfoot also utilizes a slightly distressed and altered version of the font for the band name on all of their albums and publications since the release of The Beautiful Letdown in 2003. On television, Clarendon is used in the early seasons of the original The Electric Company on PBS, and Craw Clarendon Bold Condensed was used for the titles on NBC's Little House on the Prairie , which aired from 1974 to 1983.


Conclusion The fact that there are no hard and fast rules about combining typefaces can make the process of making good choices time-consuming and maybe even a little exhausting. But it’s also nice to have a handy set of principles, as well as an understanding of certain typographic situations to avoid, to guide the process as quickly as possible to a pleasant typographic result.


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