|Designer(s)||Frank Hinman Pierpont|
|Re-issuing foundries||Stephenson Blake, Adobe Type, Linotype|
Monotype Grotesque is a family of sans-serif typefaces created by Frank Hinman Pierpont (1860–1937) and released by the Monotype foundry in or by 1926. It belongs to the grotesque or realist genre of early sans-serif designs.
History and design
Monotype Grotesque is a large family of fonts, including very bold, condensed and extended designs. Like many early sans-serif designs, it is strongly irregular, with designs created at different times that are adapted to suit each width and style at the expense of consistency. Monotype executive Dan Rhatigan has commented that it "was never really conceived as a family in the first place, so consistency wasn't a goal."
Pierpont based aspects of the design on Ideal, an earlier more idiosyncratic sans-serif by the H. Berthold AG foundry, and William Thorowgood's 1832 face titled "Grotesque." Uppercase characters are of near equal width, the G has a spur in some weights, and the M in the non-condensed weights is square. The lowercase characters a, e, g, and t follow the model of twentieth-century English romans.
Monotype Grotesque was somewhat overshadowed during the period immediately after its release, due to the arrival of Futura and Gill Sans, also by Monotype. With their cleaner, more constructed and geometric appearance, these designs came to define graphic design of the 1930s, especially in Britain and parts of Europe. However, while it never achieved the popularity of Akzidenz Grotesk, it remained a steady seller through the twentieth century with a revival of interest after the war, and is often found in avant-garde printing of this period from western and central Europe. Pierpont was irritated by Monotype advisor Stanley Morison's enthusiasm for marketing Gill Sans, saying that he could "see nothing in this design to recommend it and much that is objectionable."
With the rise of popularity of neo-grotesque sans-serif typefaces such as Helvetica in the 1950s, which featured a more homogeneous design across a range of styles, Monotype attempted to redesign Monotype Grotesque around 1956 under the name of 'New Grotesque' in a more contemporary style after Pierpont's death in 1937. The project proved abortive (Morison's obituary described him as having agreed to it 'without any great enthusiasm'), and did not progress beyond the release of some alternative characters. Monotype ultimately came to heavily promote Univers, Adrian Frutiger's extremely comprehensive new family which they licensed from Deberny & Peignot.
A release of light and regular styles (with italics), bold and black, light and standard condensed, regular extra-condensed and bold extended weights. This set is also sold by Adobe.
Monotype Grotesque Display
A variant with altered designs. The family consists of Bold Condensed and Bold Extended fonts. Digital version was sold by Linotype.
A less eccentric updating designed by Rod McDonald. The design combines the features in Venus and Ideal Grotesk font families. Alternate characters are also added. The development was originally approved in 2008, and lasted four years.
The font family includes 14 fonts in 7 weights, with a complementary italic. OpenType features include numerators/denominators, fractions, ligatures, lining/old style/proportional and tabular figures, superscript, small capitals, stylistic alternates, stylistic sets 1 and 2 (Roman fonts only). Only one width is offered, without condensed or extended designs.
OpenType Pro version supports all western European, most central European and many eastern European languages.
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- U&lc Volume 23 Introducing Classic Grotesque
- Monotype Imaging Announces the Classic Grotesque Typeface Family
- Classic Grotesque by Rod McDonald: a traditional font with a modern face
- Classic Grotesque – eine traditionelle Schrift in neuem Gewand – 19. September 2012 - Neue Linotype-Schrift mit umfangreichem Zeichenausbau
- Friedl, 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.
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- Monotype Imaging web page for Monotype Grotesque
- Adobe Monotype Grotesque Std: 1, 2
- Monotype Grotesque Font Family - by Monotype Design Studio