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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZAB CDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCD EFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFG HIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJK LMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMN OPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQ QRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRS STUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTU VWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVW YZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZA DEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEF FGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYCentaurFGH KLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKL MNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMN


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Were it not for the typeface Centaur, Bruce Rogers would be remembered as one of America’s greatest book designers. This typeface design, however, also put him in the ranks of America’s great type designers.” “


Introduction

Image on Right: In 1901, Rogers designed his first typeface, Montaigne. It was a Venetian style typeface named for the first book it appeared in, The Essays of Montaigne.

Bruce Rogers’s first attempt at type design, around 1903, resulted in the Montaigne face. Rogers was inspired by Nicolas Jenson’s 15th century types. “At an exhibition of books at the Boston Public Library, I saw for the first time a copy of Nicolas Jenson’s Eusebius of 1470,” he later recalled. “I was at once impressed by the loveliness of its page, indifferently printed though as they were. The early judgment

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was confirmed for me many years later (though by then it needed no confirmation) when Berkeley Updike wrote of them: ‘to look at the work of Jenson is to think but of its beauty, and almost to forget that it was made with hands.” 6


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Bruce Rogers

Image on Right: The alphabet set in the typeface Centaur

Albert Bruce Rogers, called “B.R.” by friends, was “one of the greatest artificers of the book who ever lived,”1 according to Francis Meynell, founder of the Nonesuch Press. Rogers, born in Lafayette, Indiana, in 1870, created the typefaces Montaigne and Centaur. He designed some of the finest books ever made, such as the Oxford Lectern Bible, The Centaur, T.E. Lawrence’s

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famous translation of The Odyssey of Homer, and Fra Luca de Pacioli. From 1896 through 1900, Rogers worked as a book designer at Houghton Mifflin in Boston. There he developed his hallmark style, which, according to his biographer, was characterized by a “direct and forthright approach, a subtle lightness in the seemingly easy placement of words

on a page, and above all, a sense of order. Rogers believed that books were meant to be read; his were rarely precious or flamboyant; never objects d’art to be preserved behind glass.”


ABCDEFGHIJKLMN OPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

0123456789

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The serifs on the “n” move from a harsh gradual angle into a more delicate curve at the bottom of the letter. The varied angles increase the elegance of the form of the alphabet.

Although not satisfactory, the Montaigne typeface paved the way for his next typeface design, produced between 1912 and 1914 and ultimately named Centaur. Early uses of Centaur were exclusively for the signage and titling work produced at the Metropolitan Museum in New York as well as for Rogers’s personal book projects. It wasn’t until 15 years later in

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1929 that a commercial version

of Centaur was made available to machine composition by the English Monotype Company.


original

... an design of cultivation and grace. Centaur has been accepted as one of the and once the cutting was completed for the Monotype machine, it was welcomed be sensitive designers and printers for many of the books and ephemera.� 8 “

great type designs,

best 9


Type Anatomy Stem stroke which is vertical or diagonal

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Terminal end of a stroke which does not end in a serif

Stress direction in which a curved stroke changes weight

Bracket curved line connecting serif to the stroke


Ascendor height of the body minus ascendors and descenders

Shoulder part of a curved stroke coming from the stem

Cap height height of a capital letter above the baseline X-height height of the body minus ascendors and descenders Baseline imaginary horizontal line where letters are alligned

Loop bottom part of the lowercase roman ‘g’

Counter empty space inside the body stroke

Descender lowercase stroke which extends below the baseline

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Centaur vs. Times New Roman

A 12


a

a Centaur

Times New Roman

The capital A curves the baseline, which adds a calligraphic feel. In places where bars might seem straight, the cross on the A is slightly curved to add more personality to the form. The A also has a more dramatic shift in line weight. These little attributes make Centaur an elegant typeface used for more formal occassions.

Times New Roman has elegance yet is more restricted. The letters border the baseline. Times New Roman is a typeface used for professional documents and does not have the “bells and whistles� of Centaur. Although the line weight differs throughout the parts of the letters, it is still more consistently weighted than Centaur.

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References & Bibliography References & Bibliography

Joseph Blumenthal, Art of the Printed Book 1455-1955 (New York: Pierpont Morgan Library, 1973), 48. 1

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Ibid, 13.

8

Ibid, 33.

Bruce Rogers, The Centaur Type (Chicago: October House, 1949), 13.

Century Type Desigers. Great Britain: Lund Humphries, 2002 (A&A: Z250 A2 C364 1995 and Vault )

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Joseph Blumenthal, Bruce Rogers: A life in Letters, 1870-1957 (Austin: W.T. Taylor, 1989), 3. 2

4

Ibid, 5.

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Ibid, 10.

All the above taken from: Sheilah M. Barrett, Revival of the Fittest: Digital Versions of Classic Typefaces (New York: RC Publications), 72-79. Carter, Sebastian. Twentieth

Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style. Vancouver: Hartley and Marks, 1997. (A&A: Z246 B745 1996 and Vault) Revival of the Fittest: Digital Versions of Classic Typefaces,


essays by Carolyn Annand ... [et al.]; edited by Philip B. Meggs and Roy McKelvey, New York: RC Publications, 2000. (A&A: Z250.R45 2000) http://www.linotype.com http://www.fonts.com Note: See the list at special collections for this designer.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABC CDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDE EFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFG HIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJK LMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMN OPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQ QRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRS STUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTU VWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVW YZA KLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ DEF PQRSTUVWXYZABCDEF FGH RSTUVWXYZABCDEFGH KLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKL RSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST Centaur

This book was made in Fall 2011 in Typography 1 by Sarah Rubin. Centaur was designed by Bruce Rogers.

Centaur  

A description of Centaur's history and characteristics

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