Algerian (typeface)

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Algerian
Algerian spec.JPG
Category Serif / Display
Classification Decorative
Designer(s) Alan Meeks and Philip Kelly
Foundry Scangraphic
Date released 1988

Algerian is a decorative serif digital font family, based on the Keystone Foundry's nineteenth-century face Glyphic.[citation needed] The design for the typeface is owned by Linotype, while the name 'Algerian' is a trademark of the International Typeface Corporation. Algerian comes in two styles: 'Algerian' (regular) and 'Algerian Condensed'.

Algerian (regular) was created for Scangraphic at Letraset. Algerian Condensed was created by the Linotype library designer Alan Meeks. Although Algerian is reminiscent of Victorian era woodcut types, both styles were created in 1988.

In a similar way to Comic Sans, Algerian is reviled for its overuse.[1][2][3] Originally, the Algerian font only had capital letters, but Michael Hagemann, with the FontMesa publisher developed in 2005, a complete typeface which includes lowercase letters with the name of Algerian Mesa (as seen in the image).[4]

In 2017 Michael Hagemann, with the FontMesa type foundry, expanded the Algerian font family to 144 styles introducing new bold, light, outline and open faced weights including italics, this new version was released under the name of Tavern. Why the name change? FontMesa wanted a name that reminded you of England where this font was created in 1907 by the merged foundries of Stephenson, Blake & Co. and Sir Charles Reed & Sons in Sheffield and London.

An additional reason for the name change was from a design perspective, a few minor changes to the original design were necessary to create the bold weight, the changes were then reflected back through the regular and light weights to balance the styles. Due to the changes FontMesa didn't want the end user to mistakenly use the new Tavern font family for a period piece, the final reason for the name change was for marketing reasons regarding future styles planned for release.

Earlier use of the name[edit]

The name Algerian was earlier used for a foundry type cast by Stephenson Blake in 1908. The current Algerian family has no relation to this face.[citation needed]

FontMesa would like to add that in the 1907 Stephenson, Blake & Co. type specimen book on page 142 is the Algerian font that you see used today, the all caps version that everyone is familiar with was in fact the small caps lowercase to a more decorative uppercase set of initials based on the same style. The solid black version of Algerian is shown on the same page however it was released under the name of Gloria, there was also a separate shadow layer font available to go with the Gloria version. The reason for having the two names of Gloria and Algerian for the same type style is unknown but the current Algerian uppercase is definitely related to the 1907 version from Stephenson, Blake & Co.

References[edit]