An Italic for Uccello

ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
edited October 2018 in Type Design Critiques
Hi ! Here is my attempt to give an Italic to my jensonian Uccello.

As I don't like very much Arrighi cursive letters (Cancellaresca) which were used as a companion to Centaur (the original Arrighi's work is even more agressive than Frederic Warde design), I took my inspiration in a rare calligraphic typeface found in a book of Carolus Clusius and printed by Christophe Plantin. However I think the two pages with this Italic are printed from engraving and not from movable letters.
There is no kerning at the moment. Some groups like "r-f-o" need work again.
Thanks in advance for any comment.



  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,818
    This is very nice indeed, but seems to me to belong to a different period style than Jenson. I would be interested to see it alongside your roman.
  • I really like it!  A couple of initial thoughts: the /a seems a little too thin on the left; and the /g looks light.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited October 2018
    Yes of course Plantin is more than a century after Jenson. But Jenson was very modern and this calligraphy in Clusius book has some archaïc details inside. It's more an esthetic choice than an historical one.
    Here is an image with a blend of the italic and the roman.

  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited October 2018
    @Steve Gardner You are right. And about the "g" I still hesitate. I will try also other designs for the curl below. However I will keep it a little bit lighter than other glyphs because otherwise it could make bad spots on the page.
  • Indeed perhaps not the best. That's my first attempt to design a true italic. And I am not a fan of wide ones which sometimes have lost their soul. Thus my goal was to balance the more blackish color of the roman by the stronger density of the italic. However that's perhaps not the best for the legibility. But if not the perfect companion to Uccello I will keep it for other uses :-)
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,059
    I find it a little too refined and busy to harmonize with the robust quality of the Jenson letter forms.
    As has been mentioned, perhaps a little wider, and maybe make the entry strokes at the x-height match those at the ascender height, to move away from the “pot hook” style which relates more, as you infer, to an engraved style.
  • Proportionally, I find this italic too narrow to sit comfortably with the broad generosity of a Jensonian roman.
    Yes, there's an accordion effect when reading that paragraph.
  • Thanks Nick and Craig. I will take a look at a wider version. Notice that this one is already slightly wider than the Clusius/Plantin one.
  • Thanks Nick and Craig. I will take a look at a wider version. Notice that this one is already slightly wider than the Clusius/Plantin one.
    A wider version would definitely look better with your Jenson interpretation, but I definitely wouldn’t give up on your Clusius revival — I really quite like it; I just don’t think it works particularly well as a companion italic for Uccello.
  • @André G. Isaak  and you all thanks for your appreciation ! I definetely should name it Clusius. And of course I will not give up to it. Perhaps should I draw a roman companion to it parallely to my search for an italic companion to Uccello. Sure I will come back with more work on this two ways later if not soon.
  • […] a rare calligraphic typeface […]
    Granjon’s famous Ascendonica Cursive, which he cut for Plantin in 1570, is not really ‘rare’ IMHO, if only because Matthew Carter used it as the basis for his also famous ITC Galliard Italic. Also a few of my Antwerp students have been investigating the original matrices and punches at the Museum Plantin-Moretus in the course of time. The photo below shows the excresences that can be found on the matrices and that were used for fine-tuning the widths for the (fixed) mould’s registers.

  • Wow ! That's fantastic news because Plantin's Museum is not too far from my home. I live in Louvain-la-Neuve. I even went to Antwerp to meet my friend Luc Devroye en we visit the fantastic students expo in St-Paul Church at the time of ATypI. We had a very kind and so interesting guided visit by another member of the Professors staff (but I don't remember his name :-(
    And yes, the "a" remember me something : Galliard of course !
  • I will have to check this TBH, but I think that I have put the matrices and punches of the Ascendonica Cursive in one of the glass cases when I made the current arrangement of Renaissance artefacts in the historical foundry of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. This means that you can only get them in your hands in the museum’s library on Mondays (sorry!).

    You are always welcome to drop by at an EcTd session, of course.
  • Thanks a lot ! No problem for Mondays or any other day in the week ! I am very curious to see this material. However I would be very interested too to see prints of it and I suppose Plantin's Museum is the right place to discover them.
    Thank you also for the proposal about EcTd sessions but I am very poor at the moment, so poor that I was even not able to pay for ATypI lectures… Fortunately the student's expo was free entrance and I learned so many little things there !
  • Regardless of whether the italic minuscules are too narrow... Aren't the accompanying majuscules too broad? I understand they mimic the roman caps' tendency to stand out, but maybe they would benefit from a tiny amount of tightening?
  • @Adam Jagosz You are right about the majuscules. At the moment they are only slanted versions of the Uccello capitals and will be replaced later by the original ones.
  • Uh-huh, I've kind of seen it coming :) Good luck!
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited November 2018
    That was logical at first time because I saw it as an italic for Uccello. But if it becomes independant I must consider to use its original capitals. But no problem, they aren't so different. As you told they must be narrower, and on the other hand their serifs are longer. But their structure is very similar.
    The punctuation is also Uccello's one at the moment. I only slanted it and make it slightly smaller. But I will also use the original one soon.
  • Hi Ivan,
    Thank you also for the proposal about EcTd sessions […]
    Actually, I meant that you can always drop by at the EcTd on one of the dates mentioned in the PDF, irrespective of the fact that you are not a formal participant. The 2018—2019 course itself is fully booked already with eleven international students.

  • @LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland Wow ! That's very kind ! I will examinate which one could be the most interesting for me. Or perhaps seeing what I have published on this forum could help you to guide me to the most useful one.
    Thank you again !
  • edited November 2018
    Hi Ivan,

    Frank just sent me a mail, asking to share some information about Granjon and the museum. For your information, I was in the ExpertClass last year, having also worked on Granjon's Ascendonica Romaine and Cursive/Droite. You probably saw my two panels at the expo at the Cathedral.
    As Frank said, the stempels of Granjon's Ascendonica Cursive are in the museum, you can only access them on Monday. But the matrices are available. If you want to use my photographs, just send me a mail/message, I will upload my photos somewhere. But next to it, I recommend you to see the actual material in the reading room of the museum. It's a special experience. The Plantin Institute just got a new USB-Mircoscope, if you want to take photos on your own. If you need help ordering the matrices/stempels at the museum, I can also help you with that ;)
  • @Moritz Kleinsorge Fantastic ! Thank you so much ! I will send you a mail soon.
  • This is a really pretty italic, on its own terms, though I find the very wide caps—the few that are shown—to be a little jarring, especially with this narrow spacing. Can you show us the rest? 

    Italic caps are a late development, long after Jenson, and even Granjon and Garamond saw their italics often used with roman caps, as was the early custom. This creates a paradox: Jenson’s caps are very wide and never became a model for the subsequent generations of typefounders or even for near-contemporaries, such as Griffo. Frank Blokland has written very persuasively about why this was the case in an article I commissioned from him for the book The Eternal Letter: Two Thousand Years of the Classical Roman Capital (MIT Press, 2015, ed. Paul Shaw).

    I agree with others in saying that the French italic is a poor match to the Venetian roman. Ivan, you are not the first to try such a marriage. In the early 1980s, pre-PostScript, Ronald Arnholm designed a type called Legacy for ITC. The roman is a very successful take on Jenson (one of the best still), but the italic doesn’t work. Legacy lacks oldstyle figures and a full range of ligatures, so it’s seldom seen, even though it is available and sold on all the major sites.

    Perhaps there’s no such thing as an italic that is truly compatible with Jenson’s roman, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying! We’ll know a "right" one when we see it . . . 

  • @Scott-Martin Kosofsky Thanks for your appreciation ! In fact the capitals are just dummies here. But I saw interesting ones in this (second ?) edition of Conrad Gesner animals book where the italic is also charming while nevertheless more classical.
    The idea to take an Arrighi revival as an italic companion to Centaur was however somewhat interesting. But for my taste Arrighi's calligraphy, and the Chancery too are too sharp and agressive in the absolute. That's why I tried something else.
    And You are right, ITC Legacy roman is one of the best. I often compare text blocks of it with my Uccello while I am testing legibility and homogeneity on the page. Of course ITC Legacy is a modern typeface with short ascenders and descenders while Uccello is closer to Jenson roman for that.

  • notdefnotdef Posts: 168
    <3 this thread
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,059
    edited November 2018
    I didn’t base the italic for Goodchild on any particular font precedent, rather I adopted the strategy Hermann Zapf used for Palatino—from calligraphic principle, with a little of one’s own writing style; and drew the heft (druk) of the details to match the overall weight to that of the roman.
    After all, the cancelleresca is the model broad-nib calligraphic italic style to this day, contemporary with Jenson, and became the ur-italic font style, just as “Jenson” is the ur-roman.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited November 2018
    @Frode Thanks :) I personally <3 this forum.

  • @Nick Shinn Your italic for Goodchild Pro seems very effective and well adapted. I am curious which way I will discover for the future of Uccello Italic.
  • Thanks to Moritz who sent me so interesting material capitals are on the way from the originals. They will come progressively next week.
    For your patience here are closer lower cases.

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