The very popular ITC Century® typeface was originally commissioned as the re-working of a font designed to overcome problems with the readability of existing typefaces in a popular magazine. The typeface combines a larger text size with ascenders and descenders that are shorter than in most other typeface styles to make a clean, very readable typeface that’s well-suited for all purposes.
ITC Century History
The Century was a popular American magazine around the end of the 19th century. Its publisher, Theodore De Vinne, commissioned a new typeface for the magazine from his friend Linn Boyd Benton. The problem with the popular typefaces of the time, which were heavily influenced by Bodoni’s work, was that when the larger fonts were reduced in size for the magazine, their already thin lines became faint, rendering the text hard to read.
Benton’s creation, simply named Century, included heavier hairlines and an increased x–height, resulting in a typeface that was much more readable at smaller font sizes. In addition, to accommodate the magazine’s 2–column format, Century was compressed slightly to permit more characters per line.
The Century typeface was successfully introduced in the magazine’s pages in late 1895. Benton’s son, Morris Fuller Benton, continued work on the typeface to bring it into line with the standards of the International Typographers Union. The new typeface, named Century Expanded, addressed the concern that original Century design was too condensed, and immediately became so popular that the original Century design was soon retired. The younger Benton then developed additional designs within the Century Expanded typeface, pioneering the concept of typeface families and making Century Expanded the first “superfamily”.
Among the many subfamilies in the Century Expanded superfamily, special attention should be paid to the Century Schoolbook® design. It’s design relied on scientific studies into the way children learn to read, and employs an increased x–height and stroke width, as well as increased space between letters in order to achieve improved readability.
The ITC Century design was commissioned in 1975 by the International Typeface Corporation; Tony Stan’s design builds on the substantial foundation of the existing Century Expanded superfamily. Bowing to contemporary sensibilities, Stan increased the x–height but narrowed the letter spacing.
Identifont: ITC Century
ITC Century Usage
The first Century typeface was designed to enhance the readability of magazine text, and a subsequent subfamily was designed for increased readability in school textbooks. This is a typeface made for use in continuous text and is in literally constant use for that purpose, whether in books, magazines or newspapers. It’s also ideal for corporate communication and printed matter such as policy manuals and white papers. It’s considered so readable that the US Supreme Court mandates that all documents submitted be set in the Century family. Hand–tooled variants are very appropriate for use in posters and headlines where an antique feel is desired, as well as book chapter and subheading titles.
Licenses for desktop fonts
A typical desktop font EULA will allow you to install the font on your computer for use with authoring tools including word processors, design tools and other applications that permit font selection. Fonts can also be used for creation of print documents, static images (JPEG, TIFF, PNG) and logos. The cost of a desktop font license is determined by the number of workstations on which the font is to be used.View the desktop EULA for this family
Licenses for Fonts.com Web Fonts subscriptions
The Fonts.com Web Fonts license provides access to a selection of fonts for use on websites for use with CSS@font-face. Font delivery from our global network is available through all subscriptions – even our free plan. Some plans include the option to self-host, access to desktop fonts, and use of our FontExplorer X font manager and Typecast design application. The price of a plan is determined by its pageview allowance and other features included.View the Fonts.com Web Fonts subscription license agreement
Licenses for mobile apps
A mobile app license permits the embedding of the font into the iOS, Android or Windows RT mobile platforms. Licenses are platform-specific meaning a separate license is required for each platform the font is embedded into. Licenses remain valid for the total operating life of the app and a new license is not required to cover free updates to the app.Learn more about licenses for mobile apps
Licenses for electronic publications (eBooks)
An electronic publication license can be used for the embedding of fonts into electronic documents including e-books, e-magazines and e-newspapers. A license covers only a single title but is valid for the full operating life of that title. Every issue of an e-magazine, e-newspaper or other form of e-periodical is considered a separate, new publication. Format variations do not count as separate publications. If a publication is updated and distributed to existing users, a new license is not required. However, updated versions issued to new customers are defined as new publications and require a separate license.Learn more about licenses for eBooks
Server licenses authorize the installation of a font on a server that is accessed by remote users or website visitors. These licenses are commonly used by Web-based businesses providing goods that are personalized by its users such as business cards, images with captions and personalized merchandise. Users are not allowed to download the font file and the font may not be used outside the server environment. The font may not be employed for a software as a service (SaaS) application in which the service is the actual product and not the means of providing the product. Server licenses cover a set number of CPU cores on production servers (development servers are not counted) on which the font is installed. The license is valid for 1 year.Learn more about server licenses