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This article is about the typeface. For other uses, see Janson (disambiguation).
Category Serif
Designer(s) Chauncey H. Griffith
Foundry Linotype
Design based on Nicholas Kis' Roman of 1685

Janson is an old-style serif typeface named for Dutch punch-cutter and printer Anton Janson (1620–1687). Research in the 1970s and early 1980s, however, concluded that the typeface was the work of a Hungarian punch-cutter, Miklós (Nicholas) Tótfalusi Kis (1650–1702). Tótfalusi Kis traveled to Amsterdam in 1680 to serve as an apprentice under Dirk Voskens; he cut several typefaces while working under Voskens, producing a roman-text face about 1685 upon which present-day Janson is based. Tótfalusi Kis also cut Greek and Hebrew typefaces, both for use in printing Polyglot Bibles. Janson shows strong influence of the Dutch Baroque typefaces.[1]

A revival of the face was designed in 1937 by Chauncey H. Griffith of the Mergenthaler Linotype foundry. The revival was taken from the original matrices, held since 1919 by the Stempel Foundry, Mergenthaler's exclusive agent in Europe.

The most common digital version, Janson Text, comes from a metal version produced by Hermann Zapf in the 1950s at Stemple, based on Kis' original matrices.[2]

Despite its 17th-century origins, Janson is used in a wide variety of contemporary text applications. As of the magazine's 2011 redesign, Architectural Digest uses Janson for body text in all of its articles.

A separate common revival of the 'Janson' designs is Ehrhardt, created by Monotype in the 1930s.[3] Somewhat more condensed than most Janson revivals, giving it a crisp, vertical appearance, it is a popular book typeface, particularly often used in the UK.[4]


  1. ^ Middendorp, Jan (2004). Dutch type. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 9789064504600. 
  2. ^ Jaspert, Pincus, Berry, and Johnson, p. 122.
  3. ^ "Ehrhardt". MyFonts. Monotype. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Butterick, Matthew. "Equity specimen" (PDF). Practical Typography. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 

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