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ITC Cheltenham®


Tony Stan

This highly-popular cold type variant of the original Cheltenham® font designed for Cheltenham Press, the ITC Cheltenham® features a larger x-height than the original and has improved italic details. The ITC Cheltenham family of fonts includes four weights and two widths each, along with complimentary italics.

The original Cheltenham font was designed in 1896 by architect Bertram Goodhue and Cheltenham Press director Ingalls Kimball. Influenced by the then new Arts and Crafts movement, it was a display typeface whose original drawings, initially called Boston Old Style, were 14” tall. The concept for the design was based on legibility studies that showed readers often identified specific characters primarily through the top of the glyph. As a consequence, long ascenders and short descenders were an integral part of the design. American Type Founders legendary designer Morris Fuller Benton then developed the final design. Although it is known that trial cuttings were made as soon as 1899, the face was not completed until 1902.

In 1904 Kimball took out a patent on the face and Benton spun out what was to be a quite extensive face family after that date. This original series was to include Bold and Bold Condensed in 1904, Bold Italic, Bold Condensed Italic, Wide and Bold Outline in 1905, Bold Extra Condensed and Bold Extended in 1906, Inline in 1907, Oldstyle Condensed and Medium in 1909, Medium Italic and Extra Bold in 1910, Bold Shaded, Bold Italic Shaded and Extra Bold Shaded in 1912, Medium Condensed and Medium Expanded in 1913 and another variant called Cheltenham #2® that was later to be named Venetian® in 1911. All of these were designed by Morris Fuller Benton for ATF.

In addition to ATF, other foundries were to produce their own versions of Cheltenham including Linotype, Monotype and Ludlow. In addition to the variant weights named above, R. Hunter Middleton at Ludlow produced a new variant called Cheltenham Cursive and Sol Hess at Monotype produced one called Wide Italic.

The cold type font ITC Cheltenham was actually introduced after these versions in 1975 and was designed by ITC’s Tony Stan. Stan was to introduce a heavier stroke weight and slightly condensed proportions giving it a more contemporary feel. There are several other cold type variants that are available under other names with other manufacturers including Nordoff® from Autologic, Sorbonne® from Berthold, Cheltonian® from Harris and Gloucester™ from Monotype. Both the original version as well as the ITC one has been digitized and in 1993 Ed Benguiat designed a new version with highlight called ITC Cheltenham Handtooled®.

One of the most prominent usages for the ITC Cheltenham was when the New York Times Tom Bodkin brought in typeface designer Mathew Carter to create a heavily condensed width with multiple weights version of ITC Cheltenham for headline use in 2003. The paper has used the original Cheltenham font as a headline font, along with several others, for the paper since 1906. Carter’s version, now referred to as NY Cheltenham® became the definitive headline font for the New York Times from that time forward.

David Berlow at the Font Bureau in 1992 adapted the ITC Cheltenham Bold Extra Condensed for the San Francisco Examiner. In book publishing, the series “...for Dummies” uses ITC Cheltenham as its body text.

Logo and advertising usage includes the logo for L.L. Bean, Florida Natural Orange Juice packaging and Orchard Supply Hardware main logo. It was the title font for the movie Five Easy Pieces.

In 2003 the Times Skimmer, an online news browser, introduced ITC Cheltenham as its primary online font. The iPad app for the New York Times also uses the ITC Cheltenham font.

Clarendon Serif