Albertus (typeface)

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Monotype Albertus
AlbertusMT.png
CategorySerif
ClassificationGlyphic
Designer(s)Berthold Wolpe
Commissioned byStanley Morison
FoundryMonotype Corporation
Date created1932
VariationsPegasus

Albertus is a glyphic serif display typeface designed by Berthold Wolpe in the period 1932 to 1940 for the British branch of the printing company Monotype. Wolpe named the font after Albertus Magnus, the thirteenth-century German philosopher and theologian.

Wolpe studied as a metal engraver, and Albertus was modelled to resemble letters carved into bronze. The face began as titling capitals. Eventually a lowercase roman was added, and later a strongly cursive, narrow italic. Albertus has slight glyphic serifs. It is available in light and italic varieties.

The project began in 1932. Titling caps were released first, and the Monotype Recorder of summer 1935 presented the capitals as an advance showing.[1] Other characters and a lower case were added by 1940.

Characteristics[edit]

A metal-type specimen for Albertus, showing three alternative characters: a variant "M", "W" and ampersand.
  • In the uppercase "M" the middle strokes descend only partway, not reaching the baseline, in the default version.
  • The uppercase "U" has a stem on the right side.
  • Figures are lining.

In the metal type period, Albertus was offered with alternate characters, including a non-descending 'J' that stops at the baseline, an 'M' that reaches the baseline, and a different ampersand, similar to that used on Dwiggins' Metro.[2][3]

Wolpe later designed Pegasus, a spiky serif design intended to complement Albertus with more body text-oriented proportions. It was less popular and had faded in popularity by the end of the metal type period, although Matthew Carter digitised it and added a bold and italic in 1980 as part of a commemorative exhibition project on Wolpe's work.[4][5]

Phototypesetting copies[edit]

Finsbury Circus - City of London - Street Sign

Albertus has remained popular since its release. During the phototypesetting period, it was made available for photocomposition by Monotype and other vendors.

Digitisations[edit]

Monotype released an updated digital version of Albertus, named Albertus Nova, in 2017. It was digitised by Toshi Omagari as part of a Berthold Wolpe Collection series that included Pegasus and three other Wolpe typefaces. Monotype promoted the digitisation with an exhibition at the Type Museum in London.[6][7] Omagari added a number of alternates, including the metal type alternates, others based on Wolpe's lettering and an uncial 'e' used in the branding of the British 1960s TV show The Prisoner.[8]

Monotype's previous digital version is also available and Albertus digitisations have also been sold by Adobe, Bitstream, Fontsite, SoftMaker and others.[9][10][11] (As many early digitisations were cross-licensed, several of these may represent the same digitisation marketed by different rights-holders, possibly upgraded with modern features such as contextual ligature substitution.)

URW++ released a lookalike version known as A028 for free for use with Ghostscript and TeX. Featuring medium and extra-bold weights but no italics, A028 is widely available on Linux systems and other open source environments.

Use[edit]

An RSC blue plaque using Albertus.

Albertus is used for the street name signs in the City of London, City of London Corporation and London Borough of Lambeth (where Wolpe resided until his death in 1989). Wolpe frequently used it in book jackets he designed for the London publisher Faber and Faber. It has also been used in many other publications.

Outside of publications Albertus is particularly known for its use in surreal British TV spy thriller The Prisoner, where it was used for all signage in the show's surreal prison village setting, as well as for the series' logo.[12] It is also used for the title card on the American television series How To Get Away With Murder and was the typeface for Electronics Arts from 1999-2006. It is also famous for its use by director John Carpenter in the opening credits of several of his films, including Escape From New York, The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, and They Live.

British band Coldplay used the Albertus Medium variant on the album covers, and subsequent single releases associated with their first three albums; Parachutes (album), A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Front cover" (PDF). Monotype Recorder. 34 (2): 1–2. 1935. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  2. ^ Coles, Stephen; Fidlin, Noah. "Parachutes by Coldplay". Fonts In Use. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  3. ^ Coles, Stephen. "Albertus 481". Flickr. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  4. ^ Shaw, Paul. "Overlooked Typefaces". Print magazine. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  5. ^ Margaret Re; Johanna Drucker; James Mosley; Matthew Carter (1 July 2003). Typographically Speaking: The Art of Matthew Carter. Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 6, 73. ISBN 978-1-56898-427-8.
  6. ^ "The Wolpe Collection celebrates a quiet legend of design, Berthold Wolpe". Monotype Imaging. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  7. ^ Sinclair, Mark. "Berthold Wolpe: An Uncommon Type". Creative Review. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  8. ^ Omagari, Toshi. "[Twitter post]: Apart from regular OT stuff (e.g. small cap and superscripts), these are unique ones in Albertus". Twitter. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Albertus MT". MyFonts. Monotype. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Flareserif 821". MyFonts. Bitstream. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Adelon Serial". MyFonts. Softmaker. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  12. ^ Hall, Alastair. "The Prisoner". Fonts in Use. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  • Blackwell, Lewis. 20th Century Type. Yale University Press: 2004. ISBN 0-300-10073-6.
  • Fiedl, Frederich, Nicholas Ott and Bernard Stein. Typography: An Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Through History. Black Dog & Leventhal: 1998. ISBN 1-57912-023-7.
  • Jaspert, W. Pincus, W. Turner Berry and A.F. Johnson. The Encyclopædia of Type Faces. Blandford Press Lts.: 1953, 1983. ISBN 0-7137-1347-X.
  • Macmillan, Neil. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. ISBN 0-300-11151-7.
  • Williams, Owen Berthold Wolpe and His Typeface Albertus Letter Arts Review, Vol 20 No 1, 2006

External links[edit]