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Parangon

Creating a new weight for Adobe Jenson: between light and regular

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Parangon

Fellow typophiles,

As a book designer, I am creating this topic in order to get help and learn from members who are certainly more knowledgeable and have more experience than me in setting typography.
I love humanist typefaces and want to use Robert Slimbach's revival distributed as Adobe Jenson. As you all know, it provides optical sizes ranging from caption do display as well as different weights from light to bold. What I am trying to achieve is a correct type color on the page. Jenson regular is too aggressive and lack elegance while Jenson light is too anemic (but has elegance). I want to know how to strike a balance between these two extremes and get a weight that is between the light and regular. I know editing software such as fontographer provide such tools but don't know how to proceed artfully (which I know takes a lifetime). It seems to me that choosing an em size in fontographer by simply clicking on "change weight" is not all there is to it.

So could a generous soul guide me on this path to achieving music for the eyes. (This could be references to books, websites, tutorials, suggestions, advice, etc.)

I recently discovered the I Tatti Renaissance Library series published by Harvard. I thinks that its design, beautifully orchestred by Dean Bornstein of Perpetua Press, interprets quiet elegantly the Renaissance period. He used Adobe Jenson and definitely changed the weight of the typeface but I think it still remains too thin, especially the italics. Do you think he made Adobe Jenson light weightier or Adobe Jenson Regular thinner ? How do you proceed in doing this?
Here's a sample page from the series:

itatti-text.jpg

And here are two links for more information on the design:

http://www.theperpetuapress.com/?p=223
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/features/itatti/about-book-design.html

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Kevin Thompson

I saw your similar post on Typophile.com, but I’ll respond here.

I can only assume that Adobe Jenson Light was used in the sample you posted, and that its heavier appearance on the page is due to the printing process—ink hits paper, especially uncoated stock, and spreads (either a little or a lot).

Instead of trying to alter Adobe Jenson, I'd check out other versions of Jenson or typefaces inspired by Jenson’s work (like Centaur, Iowan Oldstyle, or Nick Shinn’s Goodchild):

https://www.myfonts.com/search/Jenson/

 

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Parangon

Thank you very much for your prompt reply Kevin. I truly appreciate your advice and assistance.

I can assure you that a new typeface by the name of ITRL was created based on Adobe Jenson. This is not Jenson light for sure.

What I am trying to figure out is:

  1. Which of the weight did they most likely change: Jenson light (made bolder) or Jenson regular (made thinner)?
  2. How did they do it ?
  3. How should I create a new font with a weight that stands between light and regular? Should I start from Jenson regular, and make it thinner, or from Jenson light, and make it weightier ?

Note: I am fully aware that this is not a matter to be solved by clicking on two buttons, and this is the precisely the reason why I am seeking advice from this community. I just ordered Henestrosa's How to Create a Typeface and will especially check chapter 6 on weight, variations, and optical sizing hoping to benefit from it.

Feel free to share with me how you guys would have tackled this issue.

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Riccardo Sartori
3 hours ago, Parangon said:

a new typeface by the name of ITRL was created based on Adobe Jenson.

On the I Tatti Renaissance Library website Dean Bornstein states that “The ITRL typeface, specially designed for the series, is based on Jenson”, not specifically Adobe Jenson. And if it’s indeed based on Adobe Jenson, it could have likely be produced using Adobe’s internal Multiple Master fonts and not modifying or interpolating the retail ones.

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Parangon
Quote

[...] it could have likely be produced using Adobe’s internal Multiple Master fonts and not modifying or interpolating the retail ones.

Thank you Ricardo for this piece of information.

Now that the MM format has been replaced by OpenType, is there still any chance of having access to the masters ? Are they "embedded" within the OpenType format ?

And on a more practical level, how would one go about adjusting the axes to taste ?

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Abraham Lee
11 hours ago, Parangon said:

Now that the MM format has been replaced by OpenType, is there still any chance of having access to the masters ? Are they "embedded" within the OpenType format ?

And on a more practical level, how would one go about adjusting the axes to taste ?

They aren't part of the OpenType format (yet). There's some effort going on right now dealing with "Variation Axes" in which you'd be able to do this very thing by using a single font file, but the only apps right now that support it are a few web browsers, AFAIK. Who knows when non-web apps will be able to support them. Check out Axis Praxis for a taste of what's possible now. There are two fonts out there that were created to demonstrate this functionality, Amstelvar and Decovar.

Until then, however, you'll need to either create the masters yourself (non-trivial), or try to use the variants available (which are almost always created using other masters, and are thus likely to be used as pseudo-masters) in whichever font editor you fancy. Each editor has their own way of doing font interpolation and some are easier to work with than others. Either way, this is not a trivial process. If you are serious about it, though, it's worth learning.

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