Fonts- The Mood Enhancers
Bernhard Modern, created in 1929 by Lucien Bernhard, with its thick stems, small x-height and markedly tapering cross strokes, suggests drama.
Benquiat Book, designed in 1977 for the International Typeface Corp. by Edward Benquiat, has quirky curves, pointy serifs and thick strokes that suggest playfulness.
A typeface begins as a work of art. A designer draws the ABCs, numbers and symbols commonly used in typesetting. From mathematical determinations of aspects such as letter height, stem width, degree of slant and curvaceousness emerge the typefaces' inherent grace, elegance, plainness or funkiness. "Every single hair-splitting change that you make to a font changes the mood of that font. Every curvature, every detail, counts," Clark explains.
The most expressive and extravagantly designed faces are often used as attention-getting devices on book covers, but not always, remarks Victor Curran, publishing services manager, Academic Press. Some-times, he adds, book publishers favor consistency to novelty. For example, the producers of books by Tom Clancy, Danielle Steele and Clive Cussler count on catching the buyer's eye with recognizable design styles that include the prominent title display. This "logo" approach is often repeated inside the book, as well. Typeface selection for chapter headings and subheads can help establish an identity for a book or a series, Clark adds.
For book interiors, designers generally look for typefaces with legible, predictable features that lead the eye along, Clark mentions. Among serif typefaces often used for book guts are the classically styled Bembo (a Monotype trademark), ITC Berkeley Book, Adobe Garamond (larger sizes are sometimes favored because of its small x-height), janson (Linotype; available from Adobe), Minion (Adobe) and Sabon (Linotype-Hell), most of which, with the exception of Minion and Sabon, were first designed within 200 years of the printing press invention, though some have been updated since.
Like any work of art, typefaces are often born as a response to their time and to the available technologies for producing type. When Gutenberg first cast molds for metal letters in the 1450s, his typeface imitated the current "typeface" of the time- manuscript lettering. Soon after, designers, including Nicholas Jenson and Aldus Manutius, designed cleaner, more open faces suited to the press, with capitals formed in a Roman, chiseled style.