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Germany and the Germans by John Ardagh

Contributed by John Butler on Aug 20th, 2020. Artwork published in
circa 1995
.
    Germany and the Germans by John Ardagh 1
    Photo: John Butler. License: All Rights Reserved.

    This is my first post, and it seems as perfect a starting point as any to begin a set “Worth Owning for the Type Alone.” I can’t be the only one fed up with spotting a delightful font choice for the blurb text on the jacket, only to be bludgeoned with Times New Roman, or at best Electra or Sabon, when I open up to an actual page. Over the years I’ve made a point of chasing down books with exemplary or unusual body copy choices.

    Back in the late 1990s I picked up this 1995 edition of this book by John Ardagh, and I immediately noticed that something about its Palatino was different and better than the 1985 Laserwriter Palatino design we have all grown… used to. It would take many more years of casual type technology study, and studying Palatino in particular, to understand why the foundry version was so much more beautiful, and how the since lost Monotype and Berthold photosetting versions were more faithful to that original foundry design. By virtue of this book’s original printings in 1987 and 1988, at a time when book photosetting was still viable, that “foundry-er” Palatino was able to reach a little bit further into the future before the Linofilm-based digital version and its Nova successors finally crushed it. There is no digital version of Monophoto Palatino. Some older Berthold versions float around, but nothing quite like this one. Dig how the extenders are just a bit longer, the stems just a bit thinner, the numbers sit a little lower than cap height, and the bold is relatively thicker. The more angular italic is almost reminiscent of Trajanus.

    The book itself seems good, and I might even get around to finishing it one day, if I can get past the distracting beauty of Palatino As Everyone Should Know It.

    Palatino Italic is used for emphasizing German words.
    Photo: John Butler. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Palatino Italic is used for emphasizing German words.

    Detail from the table of contents, with Palatino Bold for chapter titles.
    Photo: John Butler. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Detail from the table of contents, with Palatino Bold for chapter titles.

    The colophon mentions that the text was filmset in 10½/11½ Monophoto Palatino.
    Photo: John Butler. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The colophon mentions that the text was filmset in 10½/11½ Monophoto Palatino.

    The book cover is set in .
    Photo: John Butler. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The book cover is set in Copperplate Gothic.

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    • Copperplate Gothic

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    5 Comments on “Germany and the Germans by John Ardagh”

    1. There used to be a Palatino BQ that Berthold (the real, German one) marketed at the beginning of the 1990s, and which looked a lot more like the metal and phototypesetting versions than the “toned down” Adobe one. It was a PS font, and I doubt it was ever upgraded to OT.

    2. That’s correct, Stéphane. Palatino BQ was made in 1992, shortly before H. Berthold AG went bankrupt. Just like Berthold’s phototype version, which provided the basis, it harked back to Zapf’s original design as released by Stempel in 1950. Here’s an overview of the basic roman glyphs from Palatino BQ.

      Here’s the catch, though: The “toning down” didn’t start with Adobe. Already in the 1950s, Zapf himself revised his design, and tamed some of the more calligraphic glyphs, following the preferences of two American designers. Here’s a comment I recently posted on Typedrawers:

      On Zapf’s first visit to the U.S. in 1951, W.A. Dwiggins and typographer Franz C. Hess suggested to alter several letterforms. In addition to p q [seriffed descenders] w [apex no longer above x-height], this also affected s S (no horizontal middle segment), v y (bilateral left serif), and E F (seriffed middle bar). Hess was the first adopter of Palatino in the U.S. and crucial in its popularization. The revised letterforms were produced by Stempel as foundry type for Anglo-American markets and were made available as alternates elsewhere, too. The tamed glyphs probably also provided the basis for the adaptation by the American Linotype in 1956, and subsequently for most digital versions. Berthold used to have a digital version (and previously a phototype version) based on the 1950 cut, but it is no longer distributed.

      Most of this information is taken from Nikolaus Weichselbaumer’s book, which I can wholeheartedly recommend, especially for its wealth of such well-researched detail facts.
    3. Weichselbaumer’s book is near the top of my long list of things to purchase. In the meantime Robert Bringhurst’s own exhaustive recent study of Palatino was a pleasure to read. My own collection of Zapfiana is spilling into its second IKEA Kallax cubelet.

    4. Adrian says:
      Sep 24th, 2020 1:02 am

      Actually, the Berthold version is available free on various web sites, under various names. The best version I have found is named 'Palmer’, and there is also one called 'Palio’. I have edited the glyphs where they were corrupt, and I now have the complete set. There is also an 'Aldus BQ’ that is slightly different from the one sold by Linotype.

    5. You may be able to find and download files of Berthold’s version and derivatives thereof, but that doesn’t give you a valid license to use these fonts. If it’s for your private study, that might be inconsequential. As soon as it’s about producing published work, I strongly recommend to steer clear of abandonware and unlicensed copies floating around on the internet, in your own interest and that of your clients.

    6. Adrian says:
      Oct 8th, 2020 12:41 am

      Florian:

      There is no 'owner’ for these fonts anymore, and I use them as I see fit.

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