You are surely aware of the titling caps that the great Mr. Bruce Rogers has drawn for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (what is that I hear about a logo? No, these were great). It is fantastic news that he decided to add a lowercase: 1915 saw the expansion of the design into a masterful 14-point text face, which was cut by Robert Wiebking (of Goudy fame) and privately cast by Barnhart Brothers & Spindler. The face was first used by Rogers in his recent edition of Maurice de Guérin’s The Centaur, published in just 135 copies by Carl P. Rollins’ Montague Press. (Get it if or while you can, I’m pretty sure this one’s gonna be popular.)
I was excited to see a new book face designed by Sjoerd Hendrik de Roos of Lettergieterij Amsterdam (aka Tetterode). We’re all, of course, still reeling from the incredible success of his Hollandsche Mediaeval just a few years ago: That text face (the first one designed by a Dutchman since the days of the great Fleischmann!) is quickly shaping up to be near-ubiquitous in books printed here in the Low Countries.
If you like Hollandsche Mediaeval, you may well enjoy this new face too. And if you don’t — maybe because of its cheerful roundness, its Art Nouveau-like detailing, or simply because IT IS EVERYWHERE — you may be relieved to hear that this face will not follow its predecessor as a bestseller; simply because it’s not for sale. De Roos designed it exclusively for the Hague-based private press De Zilverdistel, working closely with his client, Jean François van Royen.
I had one hell of a hard time deciding what to write about. I considered writing about specimen books or lettering manuals, flea markets or abandoned factories, house numbers or old advertising signage, puns or portmanteaus or the state I go into when I draw type at night; things that capture me completely and fill me with deep joy and sometimes make me feel like I have little pink hearts bubbling out of my ears.
But I also love just looking: at tiny, unremarkable, mundane things; and even weird or bad design that only makes limited sense outside its target audience. And, I may not be part of that audience, especially when I’m traveling (which I love for this reason, too: an outside look at things). I often get a kick out of the amazing, impenetrable kind of bad we often overlook.
So I decided to write about Sant’Anna.