The story of ITC Cheltenham Since the family’s release in the early 1900s, “Chelt” (as the old-timers call it) has drawn criticism for being ungainly. But someone – in fact, lots of someones – got hooked on using it, making it one of the most successful typefaces of its day. Even in recent decades, ITC Cheltenham has been one of the most popular typeface families that International Typeface Corporation offers.
In the mid-1970s, ITC commissioned Tony Stan to revitalize the design and correct a few of its shortcomings. The first thing Stan did was enlarge Cheltenham’s x-height. This dramatically improved the aesthetics of the face. Counters are now more open and the lowercase proportions are in keeping with the caps. With this single change, Stan took a dated display design and turned it into a straightforward, no-nonsense typeface that will serve ably in both text and display applications.
The first weights Stan drew were Book and Ultra. These proved so popular that ITC asked him to create companion Light and Bold weights, followed by a suite of condensed designs. The family now includes four weights of roman and four condensed weights, with companion italics for each.
According to Joe Stitzlein, ITC Tactile’s designer, “I wanted to create a modern and dynamic serif face that draws its forms from antiquity. I also wanted to have as much fun as possible with the drawing and architecture of each letter. Hopefully I’ve created a very legible typeface that grabs the reader’s eye in a nice ‘tactile’ way.”
The apparent design inconsistencies in ITC Tactile are not without justification and careful consideration. Stitzlein’s logic behind the seemingly odd serif design is quite clear. “The transitional serif is an entry point for the eye into the letterform, and the long slab is an exit, leading to the next letter. The idea being that tactile appears clean and is easy to read at text sizes, but when enlarged to display sizes, details appear that separate Tactile from more traditional designs. Stitzlein also drew the small caps to match the height of the lowercase x-height, which enables “bi-form”, or “unicase” setting in display copy.
- Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs. He is also responsible for editorial content for the company’s type libraries and Web sites.
- Prior to working for Monotype, Mr. Haley was Principal of Resolution, a consulting firm with expertise in fonts, font technology, type and typographic communication. He was also executive vice president of International Typeface Corporation.
- Mr. Haley is ex officio Chairman of the Board of the Society of Typographic Aficionados, and past President of the New York Type Directors Club. He is highly regarded as an educator and is a frequently requested speaker at national computer and design conferences.
- Mr. Haley is also a prolific writer, with five books on type and graphic communication and hundreds of articles for graphic design publications to his credit.