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Baskerville

Baskerville

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Baskerville is a transitional serif
Serif
In typography, serifs are semi-structural details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up letters and symbols. A typeface with serifs is called a serif typeface . A typeface without serifs is called sans serif or sans-serif, from the French sans, meaning “without”...

 typeface
Typeface
In typography, a typeface is the artistic representation or interpretation of characters; it is the way the type looks. Each type is designed and there are thousands of different typefaces in existence, with new ones being developed constantly....

 designed in 1757 by John Baskerville
John Baskerville
John Baskerville was an English businessman, in areas including japanning and papier-mâché, but he is best remembered as a printer and typographer.-Life:...

 (1706–1775) in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. Baskerville is classified as a transitional typeface, positioned between the old style typefaces of William Caslon
William Caslon
William Caslon , also known as William Caslon I, was an English gunsmith and designer of typefaces. He was born at Cradley, Worcestershire, and in 1716 started business in London as an engraver of gun locks and barrels, and as a bookbinder's tool cutter...

, and the modern styles of Giambattista Bodoni
Giambattista Bodoni
Giambattista Bodoni was an Italian engraver, publisher, printer and typographer of high repute remembered for designing a family of different typefaces called Bodoni....

 and Firmin Didot
Firmin Didot
Firmin Didot was a French printer, engraver, and type founder. He invented the word "stereotype", which in printing refers to the metal printing plate created for the actual printing of pages , and used the process extensively, revolutionizing the book trade by his cheap editions...

.

The Baskerville typeface is the result of John Baskerville's intent to improve upon the types of William Caslon
William Caslon
William Caslon , also known as William Caslon I, was an English gunsmith and designer of typefaces. He was born at Cradley, Worcestershire, and in 1716 started business in London as an engraver of gun locks and barrels, and as a bookbinder's tool cutter...

. He increased the contrast between thick and thin strokes, making the serifs sharper and more tapered, and shifted the axis of rounded letters to a more vertical position. The curved strokes are more circular in shape, and the characters became more regular. These changes created a greater consistency in size and form.

Baskerville's typeface was the culmination of a larger series of experiments to improve legibility which also included paper making and ink manufacturing. The result was a typeface that reflected Baskerville's ideals of perfection, where he chose simplicity and quiet refinement. His background as a writing master is evident in the distinctive swash tail on the uppercase Q and in the cursive serifs in the Baskerville Italic. The refined feeling of the typeface makes it an excellent choice to convey dignity and tradition.

In 1757, Baskerville published his first work, a collection of Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

, which was followed by some fifty other classics. In 1758, he was appointed printer to the Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

. It was there in 1763 that he published his master work, a folio Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, which was printed using his own typeface, ink, and paper.

The perfection of his work seems to have unsettled his contemporaries, and some claimed the stark contrasts in his printing damaged the eyes. Abroad, however, he was much admired, notably by Fournier, Bodoni (who intended at one point to come to England to work under him), and Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

.

After falling out of use with the onset of the modern typefaces such as Bodoni
Bodoni
-Cold Type versions:As it had been a standard type for many years, Bodoni was widely available in cold type. Alphatype, Autologic, Berthold, Compugraphic, Dymo, Harris, Mergenthaler, MGD Graphic Systems, and Varityper, Hell AG, Monotype, all sold the face under the name ‘’Bodoni, while Graphic...

, Baskerville was revived in 1917 by Bruce Rogers, for the Harvard University Press and released by Deberny & Peignot
Deberny & Peignot
Deberny & Peignot was a French type foundry, created by the 1923 merger of Peignot foundry and the Laurent & Deberny foundry. It was bought by the Haas Type Foundry of Switzerland in 1972, which in turn was merged into D...

.

Visual Distinctive Characteristics


Characteristics of this typeface are:

lower case:
square dot over the letter i.
double storey a.

upper case:
dropped horizontal element on A.

figures:

Hot Type versions


The following foundries offered versions of Baskerville:
  • The original matrices were sold by Baskerville's widow and eventually ended up in the possession of Deberny & Peignot
    Deberny & Peignot
    Deberny & Peignot was a French type foundry, created by the 1923 merger of Peignot foundry and the Laurent & Deberny foundry. It was bought by the Haas Type Foundry of Switzerland in 1972, which in turn was merged into D...

    .
  • Stephenson Blake
    Stephenson Blake
    Stephenson Blake was a British Type foundry, based in Sheffield, England. Active from the 19th century until the 1990s, it remained the last active typefoundry in Britain.-Type Founding:...

     cast the Fry Foundry version that was cut in 1795 by Isaac Morre.
  • The Fry Foundry version was also sold by American Type Founders
    American Type Founders
    American Type Founders was a business trust created in 1892 by the merger of 23 type foundries, representing about 85% of all type manufactured in the United States...

     with an italic designed in 1915 by Morris Fuller Benton
    Morris Fuller Benton
    Morris Fuller Benton was an influential American typeface designer who headed the design department of the American Type Founders , for which he was the chief type designer from 1900 to 1937...

    .
  • Linotype's
    Linotype
    The Mergenthaler Linotype Company is a corporation founded in the United States in 1886 to market the linecaster invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler...

     Baskerville was cut in 1923 by George W. Jones, though it was subsequently re-cut in 1936. A bold version was cut by Chauncey H. Griffith
    Chauncey H. Griffith
    Chauncey H. Griffith , American printer and typeface designer. Griffith was born in the U.S. state of Ohio, and began his career as a compositor and pressman. In 1906 he joined the Mergenthaler Linotype Company as part of their sales force...

     in 1939.
  • Lanston Monotype's
    Monotype Corporation
    Monotype Imaging Holdings is a Delaware corporation based in Woburn, Massachusetts and specializing in typesetting and typeface design as well as text and imaging solutions for use with consumer electronics devices. Monotype Imaging Holdings is the owner of Monotype Imaging Inc., Linotype,...

     Baskerville was cut in 1923 under the direction of Stanley Morison
    Stanley Morison
    Stanley Morison was an English typographer, designer and historian of printing.Born in Wanstead, Essex, Morison spent most of his childhood and early adult years at the family home in Fairfax Road, Harringay...

    . Italic and bold versions were cut by Sol Hess
    Sol Hess
    Sol Hess was an American typeface designer. After a three-year scholarship course at Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Design, he began at Lanston Monotype in 1902, rising to typographic manager in 1922. He was a close friend and collaborator with Monotype art director Frederic Goudy,...

    . These versions were modified slightly and then offered by Intertype
    Intertype Corporation
    The Intertype Corporation produced the Intertype, a typecasting machine closely resembling the Linotype, and using the same matrices as the Linotype...

    .

Cold Type versions


As it had been a standard type for many years, Baskerville was widely available in cold type.
Alphatype, Autologic
Information International, Inc.
Information International, Inc., commonly referred to as Triple-I or III, was an early computer technology company; Founded by Edward Fredkin in 1962 in Maynard, Massachusetts. It then moved to Santa Monica, Culver City, and Los Angeles California. Triple-I merged with Autologic, Inc. in 1996...

, Berthold, Compugraphic
Compugraphic
Compugraphic Corporation was an American producer of typesetting systems and phototypesetting equipment, based, at the time of the Agfa merger, in Wilmington, Massachusetts, just a few miles from where it was founded...

, Dymo
DYMO
The DYMO routing protocol is successor to the popular Ad hoc On-Demand Distance Vector Routing protocol and shares many of its benefits. It is, however, slightly easier to implement and designed with future enhancements in mind....

, Star/Photon, Harris
Harris Corporation
Harris Corporation is a Florida-based international communications equipment company that produces wireless equipment, electronic systems, and both terrestrial and spaceborne antennas for use in the government, defense, and commercial sectors. It is also the largest private-sector employer in...

, Mergenthaler, MGD Graphic Systems, and Varityper
Itek
Itek Corporation was a US defense contractor that initially specialized in the field of camera systems for spy satellites. In the early 1960s they built a conglomerate in a fashion similar to LTV or Litton, during which time they developed the first CAD system and explored optical disk technology...

, Hell AG, Monotype, all sold the face under the name Baskerville, while Graphic Systems Inc.
Singer Corporation
Singer Corporation is a manufacturer of sewing machines, first established as I.M. Singer & Co. in 1851 by Isaac Merritt Singer with New York lawyer Edward Clark. Best known for its sewing machines, it was renamed Singer Manufacturing Company in 1865, then The Singer Company in 1963. It is...

 offered the face as Beaumont.

Digital Versions


Digital versions are available from Linotype, URW++, Monotype
Monotype Corporation
Monotype Imaging Holdings is a Delaware corporation based in Woburn, Massachusetts and specializing in typesetting and typeface design as well as text and imaging solutions for use with consumer electronics devices. Monotype Imaging Holdings is the owner of Monotype Imaging Inc., Linotype,...

, and Bitstream
Bitstream Inc.
Bitstream Inc. is a type foundry that produces digital typefaces . Founded in 1981 by Matthew Carter and Mike Parker among others, it claims to be the oldest such company...

 as well as many others. The Baskerville typeface was used as the basis for the Mrs Eaves
Mrs Eaves
Mrs Eaves is a transitional serif typeface designed by Zuzana Licko in 1996, and licensed by Emigre, a typefoundry run by Licko and husband Rudy VanderLans...

 typeface in 1996, designed by Zuzana Licko
Zuzana Licko
Zuzana Licko is a typeface designer based out of the San Francisco Bay Area who was born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.Licko came to the United States when she was a child along with her family...

.

Usage


The font is used widely in documents issued by the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

. A modified version of Baskerville is also prominently used in the Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 government's corporate identity program
Federal Identity Program
The Federal Identity Program is the Canadian government's corporate identity program. The purpose of the FIP is to clearly identify each program and service of the government or the government of Canada in general. Managed by the Treasury Board Secretariat, this program, and the government's...

—namely, in the 'Canada' wordmark
Wordmark
A wordmark, word mark or logotype is a standardized text logo or graphic representation of the name of a company, institution, or product name used for purposes of identification and branding. A wordmark is usually a distinct text-only typographic treatment as can be found in the graphic identities...

.

External links