I’m redrawing/reinterpreting Sheldon, a little-known book Roman by Van Krimpen with a massive x-height that I found in his classic On Designing And Devising Type.
While the letterforms derive their basic proportions and construction from Van Krimpen, I took some significant liberties, especially with the serif structures.
I began with “Handgloves” (see images). My goal is to perfect the drawing and spacing of this word as best I can before moving further.
I intend for this typeface to be used at text size only, and hope for it to especially shine in that same 6-8pt range (Sheldon was cut at 7pt and it’s quite striking on the page with its tall x-height—very efficient and elegant).
I’m including images on a white background, black background and small/blurred (probably best to view these on a desktop display).
I welcome any feedback!
Thanks for this information! When I first started research on Sheldon about a year ago, I remember seeing that DTL has been working on a revival, but I wasn't sure the status of the project, or whether it would be completed.
I read in On Designing And Devising Type that Oxford intended to print a Bible using Sheldon. Do you happen to know, are there any surviving copies of that Bible? Or, for that matter, any other surviving letterpress specimens besides the sample JvK included in On Designing And Devising Type?
It's just fascinating to be in contact with someone so close to the original Sheldon typeface, and this world of historic Dutch type design more generally. I have spent a lot of time over the past year thinking about and looking at Sheldon—it's become a bit of an obsession.
Given the similarity of our projects, I want to make it quite clear that I have no intention whatsoever to retail the typeface I create, regardless of how radically it ends up deviating from JvK's original. I'm very much a beginner when it comes to type design, so even if I tried to sell my work, I'm sure nobody would buy it! I was, however, hoping to use it in a book as a one-off, custom typeface (I work as a graphic designer for a small publisher in Illinois). I'm hoping this will not be a problem, given how the design has evolved away from DTL's version (see above).
Now that I know about DTL's planned 2022 release, I'd be curious if you all will be retailing your revival of Sheldon? Perhaps we could use it in our book instead—that would be even better! I wish I had known from the start of my book design that an authoritative revival was just around the corner...
As you can see in the images I first posted to this thread, the design I'm current pursuing is actually evolving into something a bit heavier in weight and differently proportioned/spaced. What I started with, though, is (to my eye) strikingly similar to what you are currently creating for DTL (see below).
It's actually a bit uncanny—I had been scouring the internet for a digitized version of Sheldon, but couldn't find anything beyond a handful of images of van Krimpen's large-scale drawings (which served as my initial references in addition to the On Devising and Designing specimen). I actually found it quite challenging to "interpolate" between the On Devising specimen (will its ink spread) and JvK's lighter, more refined, higher contrast design drawings. It seemed to me that if I wanted to capture the effect of the printed specimen, I simply needed to go quite a bit bolder. But I really do like the subtlety of the larger drawings, and strongly considered proofing my outlines against them as opposed to the letterpress specimen in On Devising.
Anyways, I'm sorry if this took you off guard in any way—I'm just a beginner type designer who's a huge fan of van Krimpen's. Delighted to have crossed paths with you, Frank!
When it comes to emboldening through the ink squash in letterpress and how to translate this in digital type, you may be interested in the research of archetypal artifacts that my students and I are doing in Antwerp. Anyway, all the best again!