Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Font of The Week #14: Bookman Pro

   Good morning to you! Today I'd like to take a closer look at one of my favorite digital revivals in the entire Jukebox library. The illustrious and much sought after Bookman family

   BookmanJF Pro

   BookmanJF or sometimes referred to as “Jukebox Bookman” is a digital revival of an old typeface that was huge in its day as a photo-lettering face but for some reason never quite made into the digital era until I brought it back to life as part of the Jukebox collection.

   Consequently this typeface was often requested by designers in type forums online who were always disappointed to find out it didn’t really exist. There was an obscure digital version that was available for awhile, but the company that created it is long gone and the font was not carefully executed.

   In September of 2005 I went to Calgary to meet with the creative team at Veer. I had been kicking around the idea of doing a digital revival of the original Bookman fonts (in all their swashy glory) for awhile and when I mentioned it, the guys jumped on it! We decided unanimously that I would create the version that today is Bookman JF.

   Bookman JF is a revival of a version of the Bookman family that was originally designed by Alexander C. Phemister and Chauncey H. Griffith in the early 20th century. This version contained a large selection of swash characters that was particularly unique, especially for the italic face. 

   These fonts became wildly popular in the 1960s and 1970s and were used extensively in advertising and signage. It is one of the earliest fonts I can remember falling in love with as a child in the mid-70s. Around that same time, Ed Benguiat designed a new version of the Bookman and Bookman Swash fonts for ITC that was intended to be an updated iteration of the original. That font is now known as ITC Bookman. 

   Benguiat’s version is beautiful in its own right, but ended up being quite different from the Phemster/Griffith version and ultimately should be thought of as an entirely different design with its own feel. When type started going to digital in the early 1990s, it was Benguiat’s ITC version that made the transition and somehow the original was neglected.

   That was why I was so eager to create the Jukebox Bookman which is a true and faithful revivial of the original fonts. 

   Both the Roman and Italic versions contain a set of numerous alternate swash characters making the fonts quite versatile. The Italic face in particular sports the one-of-a-kind and instantly recognizable “Th” ligature which is so expertly designed. You can see it in the sample below.

   The original Roman version didn’t contain as many swashes as the italic face, so this is where I gave the Jukebox version its own twist. With the many glyphs available to OpenType fonts, I was able to add some more swashes to the Roman version and fill it out a bit.

   The Jukebox version has gone through a couple of updates over the years to add OpenType and Eastern European language support and is now available as a Pro package from Veer.

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