Though not designed in the historical period of transitional type (the hallmark of transitional type was John Baskerville's type designed in the last half of the 18th century), Perpetua can be classified with transitional typefaces because of characteristics such as high stroke contrast and bracketed serifs. Along with these characteristics, Perpetua bears the distinct personality of Eric Gill's letterforms.
Perpetua Roman, Felicity and Perpetua Italic
Gill began work on Perpetua in 1925 at the request of Stanley Morison, typographical advisor to Monotype. Morison sought Gill's talent to design a new typeface for the foundry. By 1929, Perpetua Roman was issued as Monotype Series 239.
Gill designed two companion italic faces for Perpetua. The first, a typeface called Felicity, was a sloped roman; this design decision was primarily due to Morison's opinion that a sloped roman form was preferable to that of cursive italics for use in book text. However, Felicity met with great criticism from Monotype management, who went so far as to declare it "worthless." Perpetua's release was thus halted until Gill designed a second italic, called Perpetua Italic, which Monotype subsequently released alongside Perpetua Roman. Telltale distinctions of the unused Felicity (as seen in the illustration in Harling, page 51) include the absence of a serif at the baseline of the lowercase d and a straight tail on the lowercase y. Overall, Felicity is less sloped than Perpetua Italic.
Perpetua was set in a limited edition of a new translation by Walter H. Shewring of The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity, giving birth to the name of the typeface and its original companion italic. The book was printed in 1929. The same type and illustrations (also done by Gill) for that book subsequently appeared in the Fleuron (number 7) which was edited by Stanley Morison and printed in 1930.
Also set in Perpetua and published in 1929 was Art Nonsense and Other Essays written and illustrated by Eric Gill.
- Continental Airlines
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Pennsylvania
- Colby College
- The Lancaster Royal Grammar School's Whewell Society
- Routledge Critical Thinkers book series
- Wardle, Tiffany (2000). The story of Perpetua. University of Reading. p. 5. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- Harling, Robert (1978). The Letter Forms and Type Designs of Eric Gill (2nd ed.). D. R. Godine (The Typophiles). p. 36. ISBN 0-87923-200-5.
- Harling, Robert (1978). The Letter Forms and Type Designs of Eric Gill (2nd ed.). D. R. Godine (The Typophiles). pp. 36, 48–51. ISBN 0-87923-200-5.
- http://www.fonts.com/FindFonts/HiddenGems/Perpetua.htm Monotype Imaging: Perpetua
- http://www.identityworks.com/forum/identity-strategy/the-united-airlines-rebranding-strategy/#more-329 Identity Works
- http://www.upenn.edu/webguide/style_guide/typography.html Penn: Web Style Guide: Typography. Referenced 1/14/2011.
- Lancaster Royal Grammar School#School Societies