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Scripps College Old Style™

By Monotype

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Scripps College Old Style is a custom old-style serif designed by Frederic Goudy. The family has been expanded over the years to include italics, small caps and finally transitioned to digital type.

The story of Scripps College Old Style is a heartwarming and inspiring chronicle about a young librarian, a handful of students, a wealthy grandmother, a dedicated educator - and two important American type designers.

The story begins in 1938, when Dorothy Drake, the newly hired librarian at Scripps College, a small women's college in southern California, became an impromptu dinner guest of the American type designer Fred Goudy. A business associate in Los Angeles previously invited Goudy to visit him but was unexpectedly called away. The businessman was also a friend of the Scripps College librarian and asked her to entertain the famed type designer in his absence. Goudy found Ms. Drake, intelligent, enchantingóand a true lover of type. They became fast friends.

Shortly after she met Goudy, Drake had the idea of having the designer create a special typeface for Scripps. She approached him with the idea, but Goudyís design fee, even though dramatically discounted, was much more than the college could afford. Undaunted, Drake continued to lobby for the money to commission the design. At times she would almost reach her goalóonly to be disappointed when the college administrators decided to use the funds for more "important and tangible" purchases. After three years, she virtually gave up on the dream.

Then in 1941, following one of Goudy's several visits to the college, a group of students gathered after hours to discuss the designer's presentation. As the discussion grew from a tentative simmer to roiling boil, one of the students blurted out, "I bet my grandmother would give the gift of a Goudy font to the college!" Drake's original idea found new life.

The only problem was: the student's grandmother had a $1000 gift in mind, not the $2800 Goudy requested for the design of a proper type family. Goudy eventually agreed to create a font for the smaller sum. This fee, however, would only buy a single roman font. Seven months later, the first proofs of the design were pulled.

It was four more years before the college finally commissioned the design of the italics and small caps. Theses were completed just before Goudy's death in 1947. Scripps now had a roman, an italic and a set of small caps; a modest but reasonable enough resource for most of the college's printing needs.

By the 1990s the original Goudy fonts, had become prized, but seldom-used antiques. Scripps needed digital versions of the metal fonts. This goal posed two immediate challenges: finding a designer familiar with letterpress printing and skilled at creating digital fonts, and locating the money to commission the designer's services.

The first challenge was the easiest to conquer. "Sumner Stone was my first and only choice." recalls Kitty Maryatt, the current curator of the Scripps College Press. "I knew that he had letterpress experience, was an accomplished calligrapher, and his typeface designs are simply exquisite. The choice was easy."

The second was more difficult.  It took the dedication, hard work and tenacity of Ms. Maryatt to bring the beautiful Goudy designs into the 21st century. While Stone was eager to begin work on the project, the college had no more money for new typeface designs in the 1990s than it did in the1930s. Years of lobbying, cajoling and lettering writing were necessary to obtain the collegeís approval for the design project.

Once she had the necessary funding, the design brief posed yet a third challenge. Goudy provided two sizes of type to the Press: 14 point and 16 point. Which would serve as the foundation for Stone's work? In addition, the Goudy fonts were quite worn. Should Stone use printed samples as his design-master or base his work on the original Goudy renderings? The 14 point master drawings were the ultimate choiceówith the stipulation that the finished fonts would provide a seamless transition from worn metal versions and still represent what the Goudy designs looked like when new. Once the budget and design brief were established the process of converting the original Goudy drawings into digital fonts took just a little over two months. Stone delivered finished products to Scripps in the fall of 1997. The first official use of the fonts was to set an announcement for a lecture by Stone at Scripps in February of 1998. But the story is not quite finished. Ms. Maryatt was so pleased with the new digital fonts, she wanted to share them with the graphic design community. Through Sumner Stone's suggestion, she contacted Agfa Monotype with the hope that we would add the new designs to our library. An easy decision!< Now Monotype is part of the story. We are proud to announce the release of Scripps College Old Style as a Monotype Classic Font. The once exclusive font of metal type is now available in digital form for designers around the world.

Old Style Serif