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Date: 1830

Designer:
unknown

Foundry:
Stephenson Blake

Location:
Sheffield, England

Current equivalent:
MT Ionic

See also:
Cushing Antique, Intertype Ideal, Century Schoolbook, BT News 701, Linotype Ionic No. 5

Technologies:
Metal (foundry)
Metal (machine)
Photosetting
Postscript
Opentype

Famous for:
First of the 'legibility' group of typefaces.

Applications: Newspaper Publishing

Ubiquity:
Widely used

Category:
Clarendon/Egyptian

Stress: Vertical
Serifs: Bracketed slab serif

Design history:
Ionics and Clarendons are modified Egyptians, in that they have lighter serifs, but a more monumental structure than ordinary roman faces. Although the designer of the original is unidentified, by 1845 all the foundries had a version of it. The success of Ionic (and Clarendon) lay in the well-proportioned and bold, robust letterforms, coupled with a more moderate contrast than the debased Modern style. Ideal for high volume, low quality printing, this design is contemporary with the invention of the steam-driven press and chemical-pulp newsprint. For newspaper printing, they form the basis of the 'legibility' group (Ionic No.5, Opticon, Paragon and others) designed by Chauncey H. Griffith nearly a century later for Mergenthaler Linotype.

profile 31

picture: Yale University Press