For most typefaces one introduction is enough. Sometimes, as with revival designs, it takes two. Korinna needed three.
ITC Korinna History
About The first release was in 1904, by Berthold, during the height of the Germanjugensteil (art nouveau) movement. Sometime later, the typeface showed up in the American Intertype specimen book as a new introduction for their slug casting machines. While the Intertype version is also called Korinna, the design was modified from the Berthold original. Gone were many of the obvious art nouveau overtones. Character proportions were expanded and the x-height was slightly enlarged.
Then, in 1973, as a result of a license agreement with Berthold, ITC was able to commission Ed Benguiat and Victor Caruso to revive the original Korinna design. ITC’s directive to the designers was simple: keep the style and personality of the German design, but make it relevant to current tastes and technology.
While ITC Korinna may never be mistaken for Century Schoolbook, Excelsior, or other paragons of legibility, it does maintain a remarkable typographic clarity. This is partly due to the design’s art nouveau heritage, which gives distinction to its letter shapes. For example, normally a single-storied ‘g’ is not as legible as the more common “loop and bowl” version found in type styles like Times New Roman or Baskerville. However, ITC Korinna has an unusual hook to the descending stroke of its ‘g’. Details like these help the eye differentiate characters and keep legibility high.
Other traits that make ITC Korinna easy to read are its relatively large x-height, strong (but not dominant) serifs, and character strokes that are sturdy while benefiting from a slight weight contrast.
ITC Korinna Kursiv is an original work that replaces the simpler and less effective obliqued Roman of the Berthold master. Most italic types are more condensed than their Roman counterparts and are optically lighter in weight. Not so with ITC Korinna Kursiv. It has the same robust proportions and strength of line as its upright relative. While not as graceful as some other italic designs, its ability to triumph over poor printing and reading conditions more than make up for its lack of delicacy.
The third release of Korinna produced a family of four weights with corresponding italics – and a true typographic classic.