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Clarendon® BT

By Bitstream

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The Clarendon BT™ family is a careful revival of the original 18th century design. The reimagined family has all the personality of the first Clarendon while, at the same time, remarkably legible and suitable to a wide range of projects and imaging devices.

The original Clarendon was drawn in the 1840s by Benjamin Fox for the Fann Street type foundry of London. It is said that the name came from the Clarendon Press at Oxford. Early Clarendon fonts were used primarily as titling and display faces, where their strong and sturdy nature shined. Clarendon had the general structure of romans of the day, but replaced their delicate features with something much more vigorous. Being heavier, the traditional Clarendon designs were also often used as a boldface to accompany contemporary serif text faces.
 
Over the years, many versions of the Clarendon design were produced by several type foundries. Some carried the Clarendon name, while others were known as Consort, Doric, Ionic and a variety of other names. Fonts of Clarendon were available for setting type with metal and photographic technologies – and were even offered as wood type. Clarendon BT is one of the first to be designed specifically for digital imaging.

Benjamin Fox was a type designer and punch cutter for the Fann Street Foundry. He was also a partner in the foundry with Robert Besley. It is generally believed that Fox based the Clarendon design on a popular serif text typeface of the time – and “simply” made it bolder.

The Clarendon design benefits from the three pillars of typeface legibility: big features, restrained design characteristics and distinctive character shapes. Its large lowercase x-height, open counters sturdy serifs all aid in establishing high levels of legibility. In addition, stroke weight changes of Clarendon’s characters are subtle; and its serifs, while robust, are not overly elongated, or distracting. To round out its positive traits, individual letters, such as the a, c, g and t, underwrite character legibility.

Clarendon BT Pro OpenType® fonts enable the support popular of Central and Eastern European languages and their typographic features include ligatures, diagonal fractions, superscript/subscript and case-sensitive forms. The full-bodied design traits, open spacing, and even color of Clarendon also enable it to overcome marginal printing conditions and modest resolution imaging environments. Its serifs, which aid readability, are not compromised at small sizes and the design’s subtle modulation of stroke weights and large x-height take full advantage of pixel real estate.

Clarendon is a design made for large textual and a diversity of display content. Headlines, subheads and captions in books, periodicals, catalogs, brochures and advertising copy are natural environments for the Clarendon family. Its large proportions, strong serifs and simple character shapes also enable the family to perform well in a wide range of digital, on-screen applications. In addition, Clarendon is available in five weights from light to black and benefits from two condensed designs. While there are no italic versions, this has not hindered the design’s versatility over the years.