Typefaces for Book Writing

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Caslon refers to a number of serif typefaces designed by William Caslon I (1692–1766), and various revivals thereof.

Caslon shares the irregularity characteristic of Dutch Baroque types. It is characterized by short ascenders and descenders, bracketed serifs, moderately-high contrast, robust texture, and moderate modulation of stroke. The A has a concave hollow at the apex, the G is without a spur. Caslon's italics have a rhythmic calligraphic stoke. Characters A, V, and W have an acute slant. The lowercase italic p, q, v, w, and z all have a suggestion of a swash.


Caslon's earliest design dates to 1722. Caslon is cited as the first original typeface of English origin, but some type historians point out the close similarity of Caslon's design to the Dutch Fell types.

The Caslon types were distributed throughout the British Empire, including British North America. Much of the decayed appearance of early American printing is thought to be due to oxidation caused by long exposure to seawater during transport from England to the Americas. Caslon's types were immediately successful and used in many historic documents, including the U.S. Declaration of Independence. After William Caslon I’s death, the use of his types diminished, but saw a revival between 1840–80 as a part of the British Arts and Crafts movement. The Caslon design is still widely used today. For many years a common rule of thumb of printers and typesetters was When in doubt, use Caslon.

Several revivals of Caslon do not include a bold weight. This is because it was unusual practice to use bold weights in typesetting during the 18th century, and Caslon never designed one. For emphasis, italics or a larger point size, and sometimes caps and small caps would be used instead.

Source: [1]



Minion is the name of a typeface designed by Robert Slimbach in 1990 for Adobe Systems. The name comes from the traditional naming system for type sizes, in which minion is between nonpareil and brevier. It is inspired by late Renaissance-era type.


In 2003, Brown University adopted Minion as the typeface for the University logo.

In 2008, Wake Forest University adopted Minion Pro as its primary serif typeface as part of its project to update the university's visual identity, noting that the font "… exhibits warmth and balance …".

Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style uses Minion as its body face. Purdue University currently uses the typeface for the body text of all University Business.

Source: [2]



Garamond is the name given to a group of old-style serif typefaces named for the punch-cutter Claude Garamond (c. 1480–1561). Most of the Garamond faces are more closely related to the work of a later punch-cutter, Jean Jannon. A direct relationship between Garamond’s letterforms and contemporary type can be found in the Roman versions of the typefaces Adobe Garamond, Granjon, Sabon, and Stempel Garamond.

Garamond’s letterforms convey a sense of fluidity and consistency. Some unique characteristics in his letters are the small bowl of the a and the small eye of the e. Long extenders and top serifs have a downward slope.

Garamond is considered to be among the most legible and readable serif typefaces for use in print (offline) applications.


Claude Garamond's roman text face.

Claude Garamond came to prominence in the 1540s, first for a Greek typeface he was commissioned to create for the French king Francis I, to be used in a series of books by Robert Estienne. The French court later adopted Garamond's Roman types for their printing and the typeface influenced type across France and Western Europe. Garamond probably had seen Venetian old-style types from the printing shops of Aldus Manutius. Garamond based much of his lowercase on the handwriting of Angelo Vergecio, librarian to Francis I. The italics of most contemporary versions are based on the italics of Garamond’s assistant Robert Granjon.

Source: [3]



Sabon is the name of an old style serif typeface designed by the German-born typographer and designer Jan Tschichold (1902–1974) in the period 1964–1967. The typeface was released jointly by the Linotype, Monotype, and Stempel type foundries in 1967.

Design of the roman is based on types by Claude Garamond (c.1480–1561), particularly a specimen printed by the Frankfurt printer Konrad Berner. Berner had married the widow of a fellow printer Jacques Sabon, the source of the face's name. The italics are based on types designed by a contemporary of Garamond's, Robert Grandjon. The typeface is frequently described as a Garamond revival.

An early first use of Sabon was the setting of the Washburn College Bible in 1973 by the American graphic designer Bradbury Thompson. All books of the King James biblical text were set by hand in a process called thought-unit typography, where Thompson broke the lines at their spoken syntactical breaks.

Sabon was also used as the typeface in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church (United States), as well as all of that church's secondary liturgical texts (such as the Book of Occasional Services and Lesser Feasts and Fasts).

Source: [4]



Optima is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Hermann Zapf between 1952-1955 for the D. Stempel AG foundry, Frankfurt, Germany.


Optima is the typeface used on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Optima, or a version of it known as Optimum, has been used by the British-based international retail chain Marks & Spencer in its corporate logo. Optima was used by the 2008 John McCain presidential campaign, possibly a reference to its use on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial[2]. In addition, the font is widely used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This typeface is also used by the Mexican Social Security Institute in its institutional images. Optima is also used official branding typeface at the University of New South Wales. Optima is also the main font used in the Workbooks produced by British educational book publisher Coordination Group Publications.

Source: [5]

FF Scala.jpg

FF Scala

FF Scala is an old style, neohumanist, serif typeface designed by Dutch typeface designer Martin Majoor in 1990 for the Vredenburg Music Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The FF Scala font family was named for the Teatro alla Scala (1776–78) in Milan. Like many contemporary Dutch serif faces, FF Scala is not an academic revival of a single historic typeface but shows influences of several historic models. Similarities can be seen with William Addison Dwiggins' 1935 design Electra in its clarity of form, and rhythmic, highly calligraphic italics. Eric Gill's 1931 typeface Joanna (released by Monotype in 1937), with its old style armature but nearly square serifs is also similar in its nearly mono-weighted stroke width.

FF Scala is a complete typeface family. True small capitals, a wide range of ligatures, lining, and non-lining (old style figures) are available. A companion sans-serif version, FF Scala Sans was released in 1992. In 1997 a decorative variety of capitals titled FF Scala Jewels was released. These show influence of Dutch Baroque decorative capitals. The FF Scala face and its related faces are widely used in publishing. FF Scala is the house typeface for the prominent Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

Source: [6]



The Syntax font families are designed by Hans Eduard Meier. Originally started with sans-serif fonts, it was expanded to include serif designs.

Syntax is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by the Swiss typeface designer Hans Eduard Meier (born 1922) in 1968, and released in 1969 by the D. Stempel Schriftgießerei (type foundry) of Frankfurt am Main. It is believed to be the final face designed and released by D. Stempel for foundry casting.

The original drawings were done in 1954; first by writing the letters with a brush, then redrawing their essential linear forms, and finally adding balanced amounts of weight to the skeletons to produce optically monoline letterforms. In the period 1968–1972, Meier worked on additional weights and variations to the Syntax typeface. In 1989, the original foundry metal design was digitized by Adobe, which also expanded the family to include bold and ultrabold weights, resulting in a family family of 4 romans and 1 italic (in lightest weight) fonts.

Meier described Syntax as being a sans-serif face modeled on the Renaissance serif typeface, similar to Bembo. The uppercase has a wide proportion, and the terminals not being parallel to the baseline provide a sense of animation. The lowercase a and g follow the old style model of having two storeys. The italics are a combination of humanist italic forms, seen in the lowercase italic q, and realist obliques, seen in the lowercase italic a, which retains two storeys, unlike in other humanist sans-serif typefaces like FF Scala Sans and Gill Sans, where the a has a single storey italic.

Usages Linotype Syntax is used in OÖ Nachrichten, Deccan Herald newspapers; impuls 2000 magazine.

Source: [7]



Baskerville is a transitional serif typeface designed in 1757 by John Baskerville (1706–1775) in Birmingham, England. Baskerville is classified as a transitional typeface, positioned between the old style typefaces of William Caslon, and the modern styles of Giambattista Bodoni and Firmin Didot.

The Baskerville typeface is the result of John Baskerville's intent to improve upon the types of William Caslon. 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.

Source: [8]

Font choices taken from Julian Hansen's excellent Typography Infographic [9].