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Re: national typefaces

For me, the quintessential English typeface is Gill Sans, but it's
distinctly 20th century. Baskerville and Caslon are more pastoral somehow.
Wilhelm Klingsporschrift couldn't be more German but hardly for everyday
use (Palatino is really international by now). There are many other
typefaces which bring to mind certain countries, but usually because they
originated there (like Bodoni), not because they were most used there (like
Gill). A number of European countries probably lean heavily towards the use
of faces which were designed and made by their nationals. (It means people,
Ron ;-)

The only western country I know of that commissioned a "national" typeface
was France, with the Romain de Roi (early 1700s? -sorry, slips my mind),
designed by a team of scholar/experts and adopted by the Imprimerie Royale
for all official printing. Modern European countries probably lean heavily
towards the use of faces which were designed and made by their nationals
(It means people, Ron ;-) and I'm thinking particlarly of Sweden, the
Netherlands, and Czechoslovakia here. Most of my experience is with books
(surprise!) but I assume the local popular print media might have
established "national" looks.

As I understand it, Canada's Carl Dair had been working on the design of
Cartier for several years when he was awarded the commission to produce a
version for public use in honour of our Centennial Year in 1967.  (I think
he had had several versions produced for evaluation or private use.) That
version was released on Linofilm systems. I'm fairly sure there was never a
metal version but it is available digitally.


>I am doing some research on national typefaces - the national typographical
>equivalent to state flowers and birds. I need to know if any country's
>government has commissioned a national typeface as Canada did in the 1960s
>with "Cartier". Is there an equivalent in the US, England, France, Italy,
>Germany, Netherlands, etc?
>Furthermore, I am interested to know what you think are the faces most
>representative of each of these countries. Is there a typeface that
>immediately makes you think "This is English" or "This is French - or
>Italian - or German, etc."
>Your help would be greatly appreciated.
>Paul Razzell
>Inferno Press

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