I've been going through some of the typefaces I feel drawn to and I've realized that there's some finesse lacking in my collection. I enjoy setting some text in Granjon but I have come to understand some of the criticism directed towards it - all those claims of it being anaemic, anorexic, feeble.
Leaving aside the usual suspects when it comes to signify typographical sophistication (Bodonis, Didots...), what is one left with when trying to convey some drama and, above all, romance? `
I would definitely get rid of the cute category, which I actually love, (Archer); the admittedly precious and refined (Mrs. Eaves) and the aforementioned Granjon.
Robert Bringhurst’s system of categorization (Baroque, Neoclassical, Mannerist…) seems extremely insightful to me. The problem is that beautiful, graceful typography has become somehow stale and reduced to a handful of types with a serious case of overuse.
Vogue magazine uses Sabon for some of its online content. It is indeed beautiful, but I wonder if there's another typeface that is better suited to convey that kind of grand, romantic, time-honored mood.
Could someone please enlighten me and suggest a few typefaces that may play the (graceful) part?
Thanks to everybody for the time, effort and patience.
I have seen Sabon characterized as having a romantic feel about it and it is probably used for a good reason in some of Vogue magazine online texts.
So, forgive me for not having formulated well my former question. I will rephrase my question again. I am looking for text faces without too many flourishes and unnecessary ornamentation but that somehow manage to convey a sense of typography in past centuries: gentle, rounded forms (Granjon comes to mind, but it is indeed a bit too light) and a general feeling of beauty.
Forgive me if my former message wasn't clear enough in its purpose.
Thanks for your time, help, effort and patience.
Thank you so much for the advice.
Also in a similar vein, Neacademia by Sergei Egorov, published by Rosetta Type. Hailed as the best digital Jenson ever.
DTL Van den Keere is absolutely breathtaking.
Try also Fontwerk's Romaine.
See also the revivals of Iberian metal types, such as Rongel and Espinosa Nova.
For slightly more postmodern takes on the romance of metal type, see Bronkhorst's Vergidris, Xavier Dupré's Garalda, Stefan Ellmer's Essay Test.
Quadraat is thoroughly contemporary but has a certain literary romance to it.
Rialto is quite romantic, in a more refined and delicate way. As are Opal, and the Stickley series from P22. Try also the Goudy "Garamont."
I fell in love with Truesdell after reading a whole novel set in it. A bit otherworldly, of another time, not quite medieval.
I may think of more. This is a genre or spirit of type design that I have spent much time exploring.
Because that means it has to be set at quite a large point size for adequate visibility, with a small character count per square cm/in.
In other words, a disregard for material expense.
In this respect, I’ve always liked Cochin, for its substantive capitals (love its odd italics too). To continue the French connection, Champlevé capitals.
Certainly, these are odd types, no doubt lacking in saccharine grace, but to the manor born, where idiosyncrasy is de rigueur.
Two more paragons of the small-x, from the 1920s: Bernhard’s Lucian and Koch’s Antiqua.
I’m not sure which version you refer to—perhaps the old, rather weak Linotype fonts? In my view, Granjon may have been the greatest punch cutter of all time. Look at all the types he made for Christophe Plantin. His nearly entire opus, in various scripts, can be found in Vervliet’s Conspectus. To describe them as “anemic, anorexic, feeble” is a terrible injustice.
Nick Shinn: I’m not sure which Cochin you refer to, but perhaps the most “romantic” of the Peignot foundry's family issued in 1912 under that name is the titling face called Nicholas Cochin. It was once hugely popular—even D.B. Updike spoke well of it. Here is the revival by Elsner & Flake.
But those numerals seem like caricatures, not something one would actually use!
Or swipe the figures from a different font.
Call me impractical but I kind of dig these instances of anti-conformism.
In its context, there was nothing eccentric about these figures. The ascending 3 and 5 was typical of the style of the Didots, and you’ll find it in the revivals by Linotype and Typofonderie (both also offer non-ranging figures). Earlier, Fournier seems to have been on the fence about figure positions, and in many of his fonts, the positions of some figures varied. In his italic fonts, 5 was most often ascending, while the roman 5 was usually descending.
Nicolas Cochin was not a typefounder, but rather a celebrated engraver of pictures. His lettering was always quite interesting and accomplished, becoming the inspiration for the series of fonts released in 1912 by Peignot & Cie.