Perpetua was to be the first original typeface in Stanley Morison’s plan for building the Monotype type library. (All the earlier designs were revivals based on historical models.) He knew that he wanted the design patterned after epigraphic rather than calligraphic letters, and that Eric Gill was the man for the job. Morison was, however, faced with two seemingly insurmountable problems: Gill’s open distain for mechanical devices (the Monotype typesetter being an exceptionally mechanical device) and the management of Monotype who were both conservative when it came to new ideas, and hostile toward virtually any idea of Morison’s.
Morison approached Gill with subtlety and chose his time well. Gill was just beginning to work with the Golden Cockerel Press and was becoming increasingly involved with bookmaking. Morison circumvented the “management issue” by paying (at his own expense) the Parisian punchcutter, Charles Malin, to cut a set of capitals, lowercase and titling letters. These were presented to Monotype as proof of the quality of the new design. Seven years later, in 1932, the Perpetua family was released as Monotype fonts. Why seven years? Well, that’s another story.
Haarlemmer is a recreation of a never-produced Jan Van Krimpen typeface that goes one step beyond authentic: it shows how he wanted it to be designed in the first place.
The original, drawn in the late 1930s, was to be used to set a new edition of the Bible, using Monotype typesetting equipment. One of the problems Van Krimpen faced was that metal typesetting machines like the Linotype and Monotype had to be created within a crude system of predetermined character width values. Every letter had to fit within and have its spacing determined by a grid of only 18 units. The other problem was the invasion of Holland in World War II. The original Haarlemmer never went into production. Flash forward about sixty years.
Frank E. Blokland wanted to revive the original Haarlemmer but, this time, as Van Krimpen would have intended. Blokland reinterpreted the original drawings and created a typeface that matched, as much as possible, Van Krimpen’s initial concept.
- 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.