The genesis for ITC Legacy actually began many years ago when its designer, Ronald Arnholm, was in a graduate design program at Yale University. In a history of typography class, he was able to study, first hand, a copy of the 1470 Eusebius, set in the roman type of Nicolas Jenson. It was (typographic) love at first sight. With this inspiration Arnholm decided that a revival design of Jenson’s work would be an exciting and worthwhile challenge – and the perfect subject for his masters thesis.
In 1982, however, Arnholm decided that his first Jenson design had not captured all the qualities of the original, and that it yearned for companion italic to complete the family. For his model he went back to the 1470 Eusebius. This time Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia provided the source. Arnholm was able to do extensive study of the Jenson type, photograph the book at very close range, and make hundreds of trial drawings just to get a proper “feel” for the type. Next came more drawings, and test fonts; then edit, rework, and more test fonts. The final result, after countless hours of labor, is ITC Legacy.
Many designers might be satisfied with a successful design revival of a classic type style, but not Mr. Arnholm. While working on the Jenson type he became intrigued with the concept of a companion series of sans serif faces having the essential skeletal structure of the old style serif types in his revival. A large pad of tracing paper and a day’s worth of trial renderings later, Arnholm was satisfied that his idea was sound.
It wasn’t until he was in the final stages of development of the serif design, however, that he began to concentrate in earnest on the sans serif design. Although both are based on the same design model, ITC Legacy Serif would be classified as an exceptionally sensitive interpretation of an earlier style, while ITC Legacy Sans could only be called an original design statement.