A customized typeface for a centennial
Plinius was designed in 1903 as an unique typeface for the k.k. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei — the Austrian Imperial-Royal Printing Workplace for Court docket and State. The humanist serif was first utilized in a ebook revealed on the event of the centennial anniversary of the printing workplace in 1904. This ebook, a folio measuring 30×40.5 cm, was designed by three predominant proponents of Wiener Werkstätte, a Viennese artist group akin to the British Arts and Crafts motion.
The typeface was devised by Austrian lettering artist, typographer and instructor Rudolf von Larisch (1856–1934). His publications and instructing actions on writing and lettering left a deep impression on Wiener Werkstätte and subsequent artwork actions. Koloman Moser (1868–1918), artist and co-founder of the Vienna Secession in 1897, contributed the ornamental components — from title and endpapers to borders, initials and water-mark — and oversaw the ebook design. His youthful good friend Carl Otto Czeschka (1878–1960) did the woodcut illustrations. Czeschka’s involvement within the anniversary ebook marked the beginning of his profession as illustrator and ebook designer. One in all his later works is the masthead of the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, which is in use to this date.
Plinius is a typical consultant of the early-20th-century typefaces that harken again to the work of Nicolas Jenson (c. 1420–1480), a pattern that William Morris began along with his Golden type (1890). Eponymous Gaius Plinius Secundus, higher often known as Pliny the Elder, was some of the printed historical Roman authors within the time of incunabula. The Austrian National Library owns about twenty incunabula with texts by Pliny the Elder, two of them printed within the legendary print store of Nicolas Jenson.
Larisch’s interpretation of Jenson’s sort reveals calligraphic particulars like a brushy ductus within the ‘i’ dots. This lends his Plinius a vivid and ornamental really feel. Its total look and particularly its darkish shade goes terribly effectively along with Koloman Moser’s flat and decorative decorations.
A century later: a revival and a spin-off
In 2006, Czech sort designer Radim Peško did a digital revival of Plinius. The commissioned work was to change into the cornerstone of a brand new visible identification for the Vienna Secession, developed by Austrian graphic designer Willi Schmid. The first inspiration have been prints and books designed by Rudolf von Larisch — himself a member of the Vienna Secession —, set in Plinius. It wasn’t Peško’s intention to do a devoted revival, although:
[Plinius] was not our concern. It was the identification we have been designing, not the typeface. [We appreciated the] spirit of these books and that was sufficient for us to embark on a journey of our personal.
Peško and Schmid really pursued a extra experimental strategy of a revival: attempting to preserve the DNA of Plinius, whereas making one thing new and up to date. These drafts have been rejected by their shopper, although, who most popular the initially introduced direct interpretation, now often known as Larish (sic) Alte.
Larish Alte is a reasonably correct digitization and conserves the general impression of printed Plinius. A direct comparability reveals that the uppercase is much less tall and descenders have been shortened. Some particulars have been sharpened, others eliminated. These deviations might need to do with the totally different supposed design size: whereas Plinius is a textual content face, Larish Alte can be used for show functions. Just like the metallic mannequin, the brand new typeface is available in a single — semibold — weight solely. Years later, OpenType options have been added, defining two totally different seems to be of Larish Alte. A monocular ‘a’, an ‘A’ with head serifs, and a straight-sided ‘y’ are provided as alternates.
After ending the work on Larish Alte for the Vienna Secession, Radim Peško returned to the rejected drafts:
Larish Neue is a by-product of Larish Alte. Based mostly on solely totally different development ideas, this model resulted from an try and create a recent wanting typeface with the DNA of the unique.
The ensuing Larish Neue is a powerful, rugged typeface in two types, Roman and Italic. Its ancestor shines by way of in some particulars, however solely on second look.
After solely two years the Vienna Secession modified its company design once more and returned to a different Helvetica-based design. Radim Peško revised the fonts and made each Larish Alte and Neue out there for public licensing from his RP Digital Type Foundry in 2011.
Peter Pesseg is an archaeologist and graphic designer dwelling in Austria. His love of typography led to contributing quite a lot of attention-grabbing Makes use of to our Assortment. That is his first to look within the Weblog.