Plantin (typeface)

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Category Serif
Classification Old style serif
Designer(s) Fritz Stelzer
Foundry Monotype
Date created 1913

Plantin is an old-style serif typeface named after the printer Christophe Plantin. It was first cut in 1913 by Fritz Stelzer under the guidance of Frank Hinman Pierpont for the Monotype Corporation, and is based on a Gros Cicero face cut in the 16th century by Robert Granjon.[1] Plantin is one of the typefaces that influenced the creation of Times New Roman in the 1930s.[2]

The intention behind the design of Plantin was to create a font with thicker letterforms than had typically been used until that time: previous type designers had reduced the weight of their fonts to make up for the effect of ink spread, but by 1913 innovations in smoothing and coating paper had led to reduced ink spread.[3] Pierpont was inspired to use Granjon's designs by a visit to the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, which had them on display.[4] The Granjon font on which Pierpont's design was based was listed as one of the types used by the Plantin-Moretus Press beginning in the 17th century, long after Plantin had died and his press had been inherited by the Moretus family, but Plantin himself had used a few letters of the font to supplement another font, a Garamond.[3][4] The design for Plantin preserved the large x-height of Granjon's designs, but shortened the ascenders and descenders and enlarged the counters of the lowercase letters a and e.[4]

During the interwar period the face was adopted and popularized by Francis Meynell's Pelican Press and by C. W. Hobson's Cloister press, and also used occasionally by Cambridge Press.[4] In more recent usage, the magazine Monocle is set entirely in Plantin and Helvetica.[5] An infant variety of the typeface also exists, with single-story versions of the letters a and g.

The font was used as the signature font for ABC News from 1978 until the late 1990s.


  1. ^ Schuster, Brigitte (2010). "Monotype Plantin: A Digital Revival by Brigitte Schuster" (PDF). Retrieved 23 May 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ Meggs, Philip B.; Carter, Rob (1993), "29. Plantin", Typographic Specimens: The Great Typefaces, John Wiley and Sons, pp. 302–311, ISBN 978-0-471-28429-1 .
  3. ^ a b Carter, Sebastian (1995), Twentieth Century Type Designers, W. W. Norton & Company, pp. 28–29 .
  4. ^ a b c d Morison, Stanley (1973), "Plantin", A Tally of Types, CUP Archive, pp. 22–24, ISBN 978-0-521-09786-4 .
  5. ^ Coles, Stephen (February 13, 2009). "In Use: Plantin for Monocle". The FontFeed. FSI FontShop International. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 

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