Monday, November 10, 2008

Frederic William Goudy

Frederic William Goudy

“The perfect type would be invisible.” This quote displays the genuine attitude that Frederic Goudy took on when designing typefaces. Frederic William Goudy was a hardworking soul who dedicated his time and energy to creating beautiful typefaces while overcoming difficult circumstances at the same time. Although his career as a typographer didn’t even begin until he was a middle-aged man, he continued to work to find what he was good at in life, and when he did success was just was just the tip of the iceberg. Later in his life became one of the world’s most prolific designers and typographers that the world has ever seen.

Frederic William Goudy was born in Bloomington, Illinois, on August 3, 1865. Throughout his life Goudy took on many different occupations including bookkeeping, real estate, teaching, typesetting and many others. He began his first career in 1888 by taking up the job of a bookkeeper for credit and mortgage companies and just a year later he moved to Chicago where he worked in real estate. Goudy’s typographic journey started when he sent a set of capital letters to the Dickinson Type Foundry in Boston, Massachusetts along with a note reading, “might these be worth five dollars?”. To his surprise his letterset was accepted and he was paid ten dollars, but after this another sale wasn’t made for a little more than three years. In 1896 Goudy produced his first font for a press in Chicago, which his friend and he opened up. The font was called Camelot and was designed specifically for the Camelot Press. After that, Goudy began teaching as an instructor of lettering in the year 1900. During this time he taught some famous typesetters including William Dwiggins, Oswald Cooper, and R. Hunter Middleton.

One of Frederic Goudy’s most remembered years was in 1903 when he founded the Village Press in Park Ridge, Illinois with his friend Will Ransom. This was later moved a couple of times, once to Boston and then on to New York. In 1905 Goudy started a small print shop in Chicago. It is unknown when the marriage of him and his wife, Bertha M. Sprinks Goudy, took place, but during this time in 1905 she acted as typesetter for him. In less than a year after what seemed to be a failure he moved to Hingham, Massachusetts to work for a press. Goudy was a little over 40-years old at this time and felt as though he had failed himself, but he still continued on. Most people at this point in their lives continue to do what they’re doing even if it’s something they don’t necessarily enjoy because it may feel as if it is too late to do something new, but Goudy took on a different attitude and pushed on for success. Goudy had a different mindset that gained him all the fame and fortune he enjoyed later in life. At age 42 Goudy moved to New York City and tried his skills at commercial lettering. Here he had finally found something he enjoyed and was good at.

In 1908, Frederic Goudy created his first really significant typeface for the Lanston Montotype Machine Company. It was called E-38, which today is also known as Goudy Light. After what had seemed like some success after all, bad luck took a toll on him when the Village Press burned completely down. As a result, he lost all of his equipment and designs and was forced to start over. Clearly, this didn’t stop him. He would start over. Just a few years later in 1911 he created Kennerly Old Style for an H.G.Wells anthology written by Mitchell Kennerly that was considered to be his first “hit”. Of all of his typefaces, Kennerly generated him the most money by being discovered across seas, ultimately reaching a value of over $25,000 in sales and royalties. The American Type Founders Company released one of his most well-known fonts in 1915, Goudy Old Style, which was considered to be an “instant classic” and is still used today in Harper’s Magazine.

In the year 1917 Goudy was asked to create a font for the University of California. As he was trying to decide how to design the font he remembered a memorable typeface he had got a rubbing of from a trip to Paris. The rubbing was taken from a stone tablet from the Louvre pertaining to Hadrian who was a Roman emperor in 2nd Century AD. He spent a night sketching a whole alphabet of letters from the true inspiration of these rubbings and created the font he called Hadriano. This font is still used today on diplomas for the University of California.
The following years Goudy was an art director for Lanston Monotype. He did this from 1920 to 1947. Goudy’s early font designs were mostly used for advertising. Later in his life his goal was to achieve “perfection” of the traditional roman typeface.

Goudy would draw his letters by hand and then send them to companies to make them into matrices. His engraver was Robert Weibking who unfortunately passed away in 1925. About him Goudy speaks that “his work was technically satisfactory, but I do not feel that type cast by any one else carries fully into print the exact qualities of rhythm and feeling I strive for in my original drawings. No punch cutter or matrix engraver, however skillful, can do more than approximate the subtleties of another’s thought and feeling.” After the death of Weibking and sending his sketches off he set up a foundry in his home in Marlbourough, New York. He set up type in a creative way making the matrices himself and worked to perfect the traditional roman typeface. His productivity was amazing as he produced over fifty types. The types that he designed and didn’t make into matrices existed as sketches, drawings or trial cuttings. Nearly fifteen years later bad luck struck his life again and another fire took place destroying all of his work along with his home and foundry. Because of this Frederic Goudy was unable to achieve “the perfect Roman”. The typefaces that he created while having a foundry at his home were subdivided into categories including “(1) a series of extraordinarily fine book types; (2) a corresponding series of italics; (3) a series of scholarly versions of calligraphic styles or of famous old types; (4) several sets of inscriptional capitals; and (5) a few special-purpose faces.” Luckily, most of these fifty-some fonts were saved from the fire in one form or another, but not all of them. Over the course of the years and through his tragedies Goudy managed to lose many typefaces but still has over a hundred that are in existence today.
After the tragedy of losing his home, foundry, and much of his work once again, Goudy devoted his life to teaching and lecturing including instructing a calligraphy class at the University of Syracuse. Although he didn’t build another foundry, he still continued to create more typefaces even after the loss. This was an eloquent display of his dedication and love for typography.

Frederic Goudy’s work was based on finding a way to create a beautiful type without making it too flamboyant and showy. His ideas and techniques were based on simplicity and perfection. It says a lot when a man can create a typeface by doing all of the steps himself. From sketching to casting and then to printing he engaged himself in each part of the process. He put the utmost care and perfection into the type he designed every step of the way. As a result he created many elegant and readable typefaces such as Deepdene, Copperplate Gothic and Trajan.
Goudy also published over 59 literary works throughout his lifetime. A few of the more popular books include “Alphabet” in 1918, “Elements of Lettering” in 1922 and “Typologia” in 1940.

An exhibition called “Goudyana” was opened up in the presence of Goudy at the Library of Congress in Washington. The numbers of fonts he designed that remain intact today is 116. Over 75 of his typefaces were destroyed in the fire in 1939.

In 1947 on a Sunday in May in Marlbourough, New York, Frederic William Goudy passed away. The cause of his death was unspecified. Goudy left behind countless ideas and techniques regarding typography. His impact on the world of design was so significant that he is still an inspiration and key influence on many typographers and designers today.
To this day Frederic Goudy is remembered as one of the world’s greatest designer’s. His dedication and perseverance is illustrated in the way he kept trying and working hard even when life didn’t seem to be going the way he planned. Some called him the “dean of twentieth century designers”, others refer to him as the “father of an American school of design”. No matter what you want to call him, one thing obvious is that he made a huge impact on the world of design and typography in general.

Year # Font Name
1869 1 Camelot
1897 2 Unnamed
1897 3 A "Display" Roman
1898 4 DeVinne Roman
1902 5 I Pabst Roman™ I
1903 6 Pabst Italic
1903 7 I Powell™ I
1903 8 Village
1904 9 Cushing Italic
1904 10 Boston News Letter
1904 11 Engravers' Roman
1905 12 Copperplate Gothics
1905 13 Caxton Initials
1905 14 Globe Gothic Bold
1905 15 Caslon Revised
1908 16 Goudy 38-e™
1908 17 Goudy 38-e Italic™
1910 18 Norman Capitals
1911 19 I Kennerley Old Style™ I
1911 19 I Kennerley Open Caps™ I
1911 20 I Forum Title™ I
1912 21 Sherman
1912 22 Goudy Lanston™
1914 23 Goudy Roman
1915 24 Klaxon
1915 25 I Goudy Old Style ™ I
1915 26 I Goudy Old Style Italic ™ I
1916 27 I Goudy Cursive ™ I
1916 28 Booklet Old Style
1916 29 National Old Style
1916 30 Goudytype
1917 31 Advertiser's Roman
1917 31 An Unnamed Design
1918 32 I Kennerly Italic™ I
1918 32 I Goudy Initials ® / Cloister Initials ® I
1918 33 I Hadriano Title™ I
1918 34 Goudy Open
1918 35 Goudy Modern
1919 36 Collier Old Style
1919 37 Goudy Modern Italic
1919 38 Goudy Open Italic
1919 39 Goudy Antique
1921 40 Nabisco
1921 41 Lining Gothic
1921 42 I Garamont™ I
1921 43

1921 44 Goudy Newstyle
1924 45 Goudy Italic
1924 46 Italian Old Style™
1924 47 Italian Old Stlye Italic™
1924 48 I Kennerley Bold™ I
1924 49 I Kennerley Bold Italic™ I
1925 50 I Goudy Heavy Face™ I
1925 51 I Goudy Heavy Face Italic™ I
1925 52 Marlborough
1925 53 Venezia Italic
1926 54 Aries
1927 55 Goudy Dutch
1927 56 Companion Old Style
1927 57 Companion Old Style Italic
1927 58 I Deepdene ™ I
1927 59 I Record Title ™ I
1927 60 Goudy Uncials
1928 61 I Deepdene Italic ™ I
1928 62 I Goudy Text ™ I
1929 63 Strathmore Title
1929 64 I Lombardic Capitals ™ I
1929 65 Sans Serif Heavy
1929 66 I Kaatskill Oldstyle ™ I
1929 67 I Remington Typewriter ™ I
1930 68 Inscription Greek
1930 69 Trajan Title
1930 70 Sans Serif Light
1930 71 Mediaeval
1930 71 I Hadriano Lower-case ™ I
1930 72 Advertiserπs Modern
1930 73 Goudy Stout
1930 74 Truesdell
1931 75 Truesdell Italic
1931 76 Deepdene Open Text ™
1931 76 Deepdene Text ™
1931 77 Ornate Title
1931 78 Sans Serif Light Italic
1931 79 Deepdene Medium ™
1932 80 Goethe
1932 81 Franciscan
1932 82 I Deepdene Bold™ I
1932 83 Mostert
1932 84 I Village No. 2 ™ I
1932 84 Quinan Old Style
1932 86 Goudy Bold Face
1932 87 Goudy Book
1933 88 Goudy Hudson
1933 89 Goethe Italic
1933 90 Deepdene Bold Italic ™
1934 91 Saks Goudy
1934 92 Saks Goudy Italic
1934 92 Saks Goudy Bold
1934 93 I Hadriano Stone Cut™ I
1934 94 I Village Italic™ I
?? 95 I Californian Oldstyle™ I
1953 96 I Goudy Thirty ™ I

Featured Font:  Goudy Old Style
Font Classification:  Old Style Font
Distinguishing Characteristics:
1. based on old style type
2. based on handwriting
3. elegant
4. readable
5. short x-height
6. serif

Goudy Old Style was created in 1916 by Frederic William Goudy for the American Type Founders. There was much going on in the world during this time. World War I was ongoing during this year. Other events include the Mexican Revolution, Summer Olympics in Germany were cancelled, and the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers is founded in the United States.

Works Cited

Beilenson, Peter. The Story of Frederic W Goudy. New York: Peter Pauper Press, 1965.

Boone, Andrew R. ¬“Type By Goudy.” Popular Science April 1942: 114-119.

Lanston Type Library. “Frederic Goudy Fonts”. 3 November 2008. 20 October 2008.

Questia Encyclopedia. 7 November 2008.

The Typographic Archives. 2006. 20 October 2008.

University of California, Los Angeles. 20 October 2008.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 20 October 2008.

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