Nicholas Jenson was born around 1420 in France and died in 1480 in Venice, Italy. He was a goldsmith and engraver who is credited with creating the first model roman typeface. He studied printing in Mainz, where Gutenberg had his printing works, and then moved to Venice where he opened a printing shop. He also designed Greek-style type for quotations and a black-letter type, which he used for legal and religious works. By 1477 Jenson ran as many as twelve presses and had become a wealthy man. For a time he made Venice Italy’s publishing capital and a centre of excellence.
Claude Garamond was born around 1480 and died in 1561 having lived most of his life in Paris, France. He was a type founder, publisher, punch cutter and most famously a type designer. In 1621, sixty years after Garamond’s death, the French printer Jean Jannon (1580–1635) created a type specimen with very similar attributes. Jannon’s typefaces were lost for more than a century before their rediscovery at the National Printing Office of France in 1825, when they were wrongly attributed to Garamond. It was not until 1927, more than 100 years later, that Jannon’s and Garamond’s typefaces were correctly attributed.
Caslon is one of a series of serif typefaces designed by William Caslon (1692–1766). He started business in London as an engraver of gun locks and barrels, and as a bookbinder’s tool cutter. Having contact with printers, he was persuaded to set up a type foundry in London in 1720. His fonts were immediately popular and used for many important works, including the first printed version of the United States Declaration of Independence. It is still widely used and on this site it is used for the Turnpike Riots report and 1816 New York State Senate ruling under Legal Documents.
John Baskerville created the Baskerville typeface for his printing business in 1754 in Birmingham, UK. He based his
letterforms on Caslon shifting the axis more to the vertical, adding a swash tail to the uppercase Q and cursive
serifs in the italic face. Baskerville also experimented with ink and used smoother wove rather than laid paper. He
used heated copper cylinders to dry the ink before it soaked too far into the paper creating a crisper image. The
typeface is used here for Newspaper Snippets.
Born near Turin, Italy in 1740, Giambattista Bodoni was the fourth son of a master printer. He was made director of the Royal
Printing House of the Duke of Parma. No printer was more acclaimed in his own lifetime than Giambattista Bodoni.
He did away with old-style letters and introduced a new clear simple type - the Modern typeface. The roman letter
he cut in 1798 is usually what we mean by a Bodoni. He died in 1813.
Clarendon is a slab-serif typeface created by Robert Besley at the London printing house of Thorowgood and Co. (formerly the
Fann Street Foundry, at Aldersgate, London). Besley registered it under Britain’s recent Ornamental Designs Act, 1842
and Clarendon is considered the first registered typeface. It was named after the Clarendon Press in Oxford and is best known
for its use in Wild West posters. Here it is used for Kelly’s Directories.