Extinct Oxford/Aitken?

Luc Devroye says two folks in the Bay Area revived the beautiful Oxford type around 2002. They named it Aitken:
http://luc.devroye.org/fonts-36982.html

And yet, it's nowhere for sale. Also, no one else has really revived that wonderful face, Oxford. Somehow, the world decided we need 3,400 indistinguishable takes on Futura or Helvetica, but none on Oxford. Go figure.

Yes, I know that the gifted Mr Carter redid Chauncey Griffith's Monticello. But that's a pale copy of Oxford. The x-height is much too big, the ascenders too short, and it looks unsteady, like a teenager that got tall too quick. Shouldn't somebody try again?
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Comments

  • Here is a sample of Aitken for those interested:
  • It's beautiful! Thank you for sharing. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 635
    Somehow, the world decided we need 3,400 indistinguishable takes on Futura or Helvetica, but none on Oxford. Go figure.

    Somehow, though, I don't think that is hard to explain.
    While I agree that Oxford is a beautiful face, the typefaces that are in the most demand are those which are currently in popular use. Helvetica, Futura, Times Roman, and a few others are such staples that every printer needs to have them... and, of course, these days, a lot of amateurs are engaged in printing.
    And so, what with the cost of the originals, and licensing issues, a lot of imitations were made.
    Of course, though, while Bitstream, in its collection that got distributed with Corel Draw, truly covered all the bases - Garamond, Baskerville, Century Expanded, Corona, Caledonia, Optima, Palatino - a lot of those popular typefaces haven't ended up being imitated all that much more often.
  • Yes and no, I think. Helvetica or Haas Unica are not too cheap, but neither are a lot of these lesser avatars that come out every other day. I can't even tell the difference between them anymore -- if it's Tuesday, it's another-geometric-sans day; Wednesdays are for yet-another-modernist-sans. Or is it yet-another-generic-monoline-grotesque day? I forget. And yet, they all sell for 40 bucks a style or more. (At least. Optimo and Lineto charge four times as much.) Just like Helvetica. So, I don't know what gives.

    Plus, there are big venues for long-form writing, and those can always use another, great serif font. Medium, WordPress, and the like. Weeklies that have made it into the digital economy -- places like that. They can use something other than Georgia or Palatino. Or Tiempos, if they feel fancy.  


  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 635
    edited August 14
    Yes and no, I think. Helvetica or Haas Unica are not too cheap, but neither are a lot of these lesser avatars that come out every other day.
    Oh. In that case (as opposed to the case of typefaces like Arial and FreeSans, which I was thinking of), no doubt the designers are hoping that their typeface will become the next big thing and make them wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice.
    Or, at least, they're hoping to generate a few cash sales - and feel their chances are better if they design a typeface of the kind that is currently fashionable. Someone looking to publish a book will likely use one of the well-established serif typefaces, but someone setting up an advertisement may fall in love with the "perfect" typeface for it, and in advertising/display, sans-serif is more fashionable.
    Now, it is legitimate to hope that some typeface designers might think that their odds are better if they are one of a very few supplying typefaces in a less popular category than one of thousands chasing after the most popular style. (Note, too, there are some exceptions to the favoritism for sans-serifs which you note. A great many type designers have taken the time to do a Jenson as a sort of "signature piece".)
    Still, though, it may be a case of being careful what you wish for. If this category of type designers does branch out and broaden their scope, I fear it's more likely we'll see more alternatives to Fifteenth Century/Caslon Antique coming our way, as well as Papyrus, and no doubt a few others that many here could name... rather than Scotch Romans. (And as these designers are trying to produce something new and unique, although in a fashionable genre, they wouldn't be the source of a faithful revival of Oxford or anything else in any case.)
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