Commercial Type
Please turn your device to landscape orientation to view the pin tester

Select Fonts

Selected Good

End User License Agreement


This End User License Agreement (the “Agreement” “EULA,” “License,” “Agreement” or “License Agreement”) is a legal agreement between the Licensee (you) and Schwartzco, Inc., d/b/a Commercial Type (collectively, “Commercial Type”) and becomes a binding contract between you and Commercial Type when you access, install and/or use the Commercial Type Font Software (“Font Software” or “Fonts”). This Agreement governs the terms of use the Font Software and the design of the Fonts embodied therein (collectively, “Font Software”), for, among other uses, use in multi-use methods, large scale multi-user commercial uses, as well as simple uses such as individual desktop only uses. This License also controls the use and distribution of any media, electronic documentation, updates, add-ons, artwork, web services and/or the form of proprietary technology used to implement use of the Fonts as exists now or in the future. This Agreement becomes effective (a) when you “accept license agreement,” or when you open the electronic file in which the Font Software is contained. If you do not wish to enter into this Agreement, do not purchase, access, download and/or install or otherwise use the Font Software.

What this section means

Please read this document carefully, because you agree to its terms by installing the font software.


(a) Upon payment in full, Commercial Type will grant you a non-exclusive, terminable License to the Font Software that accompanies this EULA. Use of the Font Software is limited to the specific uses permitted in your purchase receipt. All Commercial Type licenses are for use by the identified Licensee (You) only. Transfer or export or use of the Font Software by third parties is not permitted. For the purposes of this Agreement, “Font Software” shall be defined as the design of the Fonts together with the Font Software which, when used generates the typeface, typographic designs and, if included in the Font Software, ornaments or other designs. 

(b) The types of licenses offered by Commercial Type include, but are not limited to:

i. Use for Creation – Desktop. Under this license you are permitted to (1) Use fonts installed to a desktop computer for creating printed material or images; (2) embed the Fonts in non-editable documents. 
Such uses include internal documents, company letterhead, production of a newspaper, magazine, book or other paper publication, print advertising, broadcast advertising, film titles, social media posts, signage, packaging, and point of sale displays.

ii. Uses for Creation with Distribution Rights. Under this license, the Font Software is bundled with and distributed as part of the licensed uses and includes: (1) App License; (2) Web License; (3) ePub License; (4) Software Embedding License; (5) Device Embedding License; (6) Automated Document Production Server License; (7) Embedded Content License.

iii. Add-on or License Extensions. If the proper license extension is purchased, you are permitted to: (1) use the Font Software to produce merchandise for sale, including alphabet-themed products; (2) embed the Fonts in editable documents; (3) use the fonts in external third party platforms; (4) share the fonts with third parties doing work on behalf of Licensee.

iv. Use of the Font Software with Generative or other Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) services or in other AI programming is expressly prohibited.

PLEASE READ: To understand the terms and conditions associated with a particular type of license, review the Attachment to this agreement. The relevant terms and conditions in the attachment form a part of this agreement.

What this section means

This paragraph outlines what kind of usage is permitted with each kind of licensing that may be purchased. The receipt and license document delivered with the fonts will list what usage you are licensed for, and at what license levels (i.e. the number of users permitted by a desktop license, the number of domains and unique visitors per month permitted by a web license, etc.). Your user account on this website will also give a record of the licenses you have purchased and the usage permitted under each of them.

If you are uncertain whether a particular use is permitted under the license you have purchased, please contact us at info[at] for assistance.


FONT SOFTWARE DELIVERY. The Font Software will be transmitted, as necessary, to Licensee via Internet download for use on the computers and, if applicable, on the websites of Licensee in the (i) WOFF and WOFF2 Web Font formats; (ii) in the Open Type Format for Desktop use and; (iii) in TrueType Format for Application (“App”) uses as specified by the license purchased. Commercial hereby agrees to provide amended or updated Webfonts and/or Font Software, upon the request of Licensee, in the event generally accepted and commercially used software and/or Internet browser formats change in response to technology innovation.

What this section means

The fonts will be delivered in different formats depending on the license you have purchased.


If you are a design consultancy, advertising agency or purchasing this license for use by or on behalf of such an entity, the ultimate end user should also purchase a license appropriate for their intended use of the Font Software. The license granted herein for personal use extends to temporary employees or independent contractors using the Font Software only so long as they are providing professional services expressly for the benefit of Licensee. 

What this section means

A license may not be shared by multiple companies (i.e. both a designer and his or her client). We make an exception for a freelancer working on behalf of a licensed client as an individual may use the fonts during the course of a project must purchase a separate license if they wish to use the fonts for other projects after the completion of the gig.


Commercial Type, its successors, and assigns expressly retain all right and title in and to the Font Software together with the design of the Font embodied therein, together with any trademarks used in connection therewith. Except as may be otherwise expressly permitted herein, you agree not to copy the Font Software or create derivative works based upon the design of the Font or the Font Software. You hereby agree that the design of the Font and the Font Software are the exclusive property of Commercial Type and that the unauthorized use of the design of the Font or the Font Software is an infringement of Commercial Type’s exclusive rights and causing significant monetary harm. All rights not expressly granted herein are reserved to Commercial Type. Commercial Type’s rights and remedies in the event of an infringement shall be cumulative in nature.

What this section means

This license grants you the right to use our fonts and to make a copy of the files for backup purposes, but the fonts (both the software describing the design and the design itself) belong to us. You are not allowed to give copies to your friends, family or clients, and you may not modify the fonts without written permission from us.


Except as may be otherwise expressly permitted herein, you may not alter or copy the Font Software, or the designs embodied therein in any manner whatsoever. Reformatting the Font Software into other formats for use in other operating systems is expressly prohibited. Upon payment of an additional fee and a separate written agreement Commercial Type may provide the Font Software in alternate and/or additional font formats, contact Commercial Type for a quotation. Altering or amending the embedding bits characteristics of the Font Software is expressly prohibited. The Font Software may not be used to create or distribute any electronic document in which the Font Software or any part thereof, is embedded in a manner or format that permits editing, alterations, enhancements, or modifications by the recipient of such document, unless a license that permits such use has been purchased. You may not knowingly transmit any electronic document or the Font Software to any party that intends or is likely to “hack,” edit, alter, enhance, or otherwise modify the Font Software or remove the Font Software from any document.

What this section means

You will need written permission from us before making any kind of modifications to a font which you have licensed from us, including renaming the font or converting it into a different format, in part because we aren’t able to support fonts we haven’t built and tested ourselves. Please contact us at info[at] for more information.


You may make one (1) back-up copy of Font Software for archival purposes only, and you agree to retain exclusive custody and control over any such copy. Upon termination of the Agreement, you must destroy the original and all copies of the Font Software. The unauthorized sharing, lending, renting, sale, or other unauthorized use or misuse of the back-up copy is a material breach of this Agreement and will result in the immediate termination of this License.

What this section means

You may make a copy of the font files for backup purposes, but you may not give, lend, or sell copies to your friends, family, clients or especially to strangers.


If no other option exists, you may take a digitized copy of the Font Software used for a particular document, or Font Software embedded in an electronic document that is sent to a commercial printer or service bureau for use by the printer or service bureau for preparing the document, provided that the printer or service bureau represents that it shall destroy any and all copies of the Font Software upon completion of its work. Notwithstanding, you agree that the transmission of a “print/preview” pdf document is the first and preferred method of transmitting such documents to a service bureau or printer.

What this section means

If making a PDF is not an option, you may deliver a copy of the fonts to a service bureau or printer for final output. The service bureau must destroy the fonts when they are finished with the job.


The designs embodied into the Font Software, the Font Software itself, and any trademarks associated therewith are the exclusive property of Commercial Type and their designers, where applicable, and are protected by the copyright and other intellectual property laws of the United States, by the copyright and design laws of other nations, and by other international treaties. Any copies that you are expressly permitted to make, pursuant to the Agreement, must contain the same copyright, trademark, and other proprietary notices that appear on or in the Font Software.

What this section means

This license grands you the right to use our fonts, but we retain ownership of both the font design and the font software.


With the exception of subsetting webfonts, you agree not to create, assist in and/or cause the creation of modifications or additions to the Fonts or Font Software, including but not limited to: creating additional weights; creating additional or deleting existing characters; modifying existing characters; modifying font spacing and kerning; converting fonts to an alternate digital format, modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, alter, or otherwise attempt to discover the source code of the Font Software without first obtaining written permission from Commercial Type. In the event that permission is given to you, the modifications must be used according to the terms and conditions of the License you purchased and all modifications and additions shall become and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Commercial Type. You may not sell, lend, or otherwise transmit any modifications or additions to the Font Software to any third party. You agree that any webfonts not directly provided by Commercial Type, such as webfonts that have been subset by Licensee will be supported at Commercial Type’s sole discretion.

Other jurisdictions may provide for additional rights, and if applicable, you may reverse engineer or decompile the Font Software only to the extent that sufficient information is not available for the purpose of creating an interoperable software program (but only for such purpose and only to the extent that sufficient information is not provided by Commercial Type upon written request). All trademarks shall be used in accordance with accepted trademark practice, including identification of the trademark owner’s name. Use of the trademarks associated with the Font Software inures solely to the benefit of Commercial Type.

If you are unsure whether your use of the Font Software is specifically permitted under this Agreement, contact Commercial Type. All uses of Commercial Type Fonts require a license.

What this section means

You can subset webfonts licensed from us, but you will need written permission from us before making any other kind of modifications or additions to a font which you have licensed from us, or hiring anyone else to do so. We can only support the font files we provided, meaning that if you subset your own webfonts, we can’t support them. If you require modifications to a font, we can do the work for you quickly and at a reasonable cost. Please contact us at info[at] for more information.


Commercial Type Font Software is licensed for use by a specified number of users and for specified uses.

What this section means

This license is not limited to one geographical location; a company with multiple locations may share one font license for all employees so long as they are within the number of licensed users.


Except as may be otherwise expressly provided for herein, you expressly agree not to rent, lease, sublicense, give, lend, or further distribute the Font Software. 

What this section means

You may not give or lend copies of the font files to anyone else, unless you transfer the license to the third party (along with a copy of this EULA and all other documentation that may have been included with the fonts) and destroy all copies of the font files in your possession, including backups.


Commercial Type warrants that the Font Software will perform substantially in accordance with its documentation for ninety (90) days following delivery of the Font Software. To make a warranty claim, you must either return the Font Software to the location from which you obtained it together with a copy of your sales receipt or, if acquired on-line, contact the on-line provider with sufficient information regarding your acquisition of the Font Software to permit the confirmation of the effective date of this License. Schwartzco, Inc. and Commercial Type hereby EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS AND IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. COMMERCIAL TYPE DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE OPERATION OF THE FONT SOFTWARE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, OR THAT THE FONT SOFTWARE IS WITHOUT DEFECTS. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL COMMERCIAL TYPE BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY OTHER PARTY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE) OR OTHERWISE, FOR ANY SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, SAVINGS OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF THE FONT SOFTWARE EVEN IF NOTIFIED IN ADVANCE OF SUCH POSSIBILITY. You hereby agree that your entire, exclusive, and cumulative liability and remedy shall be limited to the purchase price of this Font Software License. Under no circumstances shall Schwartzco, Inc.’s or Commercial Type’s liability to you exceed either the refunding of the cost of the Font Software License or replacement of the Font Software either of which shall be at Commercial Type’s sole discretion.

What this section means

The fonts will perform as promised in the documentation, and we will provide technical support within a reasonable timeframe, to the best of our ability. In the event of a refund, we cannot refund more than the purchase price for the license, and all copies of the fonts in your possession must be destroyed.


OTHER LAW – CONSUMERS ONLY. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental, consequential or special damages, implied warranties, or implied warranties as they relate to sales to consumers. ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OR OTHER RIGHT CREATED BY LAW IS ONLY EFFECTIVE FOR THE NINETY (90) DAY WARRANTY PERIOD. THERE ARE NO WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND AFTER THE NINETY (90) DAY WARRANTY PERIOD. To the extent permissible by law, you agree that all implied warranties are not to be effective for more than thirty (30) days.

What this section means

This paragraph is required by law and simply means that any warranty (explicit or implied) is limited.


You expressly agree that this Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York, USA, as they apply to contracts entered into and wholly performed therein and without respect to its conflict of laws provisions or the conflict of laws provisions of any other jurisdiction. You expressly submit to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts in the State of New York, USA, agree to waive any defenses arising out of the selection of jurisdiction or venue and further agree to service of process by mail. You hereby expressly agree that the application of the United Nations Convention of Contracts for the International Sale of Goods is expressly excluded.

What this section means

Our main office is in New York City, so this agreement is governed by the laws of New York State.


You acknowledge that you have read and understand this Agreement and that by using the software you agree to be bound by its terms and conditions. You further agree that it is the complete and exclusive statement of the agreement between Commercial Type and Licensee which supersedes any proposal or prior agreement, oral or written, and any other communications relating to the subject matter of this Agreement. No variation of the terms of this Agreement or any different terms will be enforceable in the absence of an express written amendment, or consent, including a written express waiver of the affected terms of this Agreement. If any provision of this Agreement is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, void, or unenforceable, the remaining provisions of this Agreement shall continue in full force and effect, and the invalid provision shall be replaced by Commercial Type with a provision that effects the intent of the invalid provision. Commercial Type expressly reserves the right to amend or modify its License Agreements at any time and without prior notification.

What this section means

Again, please read this document carefully, because you agree to its terms by installing the font software.


The Agreement shall automatically terminate in the event You or any authorized user breaches any term or condition set forth herein. Notwithstanding any termination of this License, Commercial Type expressly reserves all other rights and remedies under equity or law. The Agreement may only be modified in a writing signed by an authorized officer of Commercial Type.

What this section means

If any of the terms in this agreement are broken, the license is no longer valid. We will notify you in writing if the EULA changes.


You agree to be responsible for compliance with all laws, foreign and domestic relating to the control of exports or the transfer of technology. If you are purchasing this License for government use, or under a government contract, you agree to familiarize yourself with and follow any applicable rules and regulations relating to the purchase of a license to use software and the actual use thereof.

All inquiries and arrangements for returns, if any, may be sent via e-mail to info[at] The Commercial Type website is located at

©2023 Schwartzco, Inc. d/b/a Commercial Type. All Rights Reserved.

What this section means

You agree to follow the law and other applicable rules in your use of this font license.



Your license may include these Types of Uses, if purchased. See the receipt and license document delivered with the font files for details. Some of these license types may not be purchased via this website.

Please contact info[at] for details and pricing.

Creation with Distribution Licenses

  1. App License

    1. Allows for embedding in Applications or Apps using the iOS, Windows Mobile, and Android mobile operating system formats.

    2. License is per individual title, without restriction as to the type of OS.

  2. Web License

    1. Use the Font Software to style HTML and SVG documents using the CSS @font-face mechanism.

    2. Use in email permitted, with fonts served from licensee’s server.

    3. License covers a discrete number of domains, with unlimited subdomains permitted for each.

    4. License covers an aggregated total number of unique monthly visitors across all licensed domains.

    5. If the maximum number of allowed unique visitors is exceeded for three (3) consecutive months, the purchase of an additional license is required. Commercial reserves the right to inspect or monitor your usage.

    6. You shall make a reasonable attempt to prevent the use of any process that allows hot-linking, re-serving or re-directing access to and/or use of the Font Software by unlicensed parties. You agree to exercise commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that the Font Software is retained with the other assets associated with the licensed domains.

    7. For the purposes of clarity, the use of third party font hosting services is strictly prohibited and the Font Software should be stored and served from the same devices and location as the other software and assets associated with the licensed domains.

  3. ePub License

    1. For use of the font software to style text in ePubs, for use in any operating system or device in which embedded fonts are supported.

  4. Software/Video Game Embedding License

    1. For embedding the fonts in non-mobile desktop software for use in MacOS, Windows, Linux, etc.

    2. License is per individual title, without restriction as to the type of OS or Platform.

  5. Device Embedding License

    1. For embedding fonts in any type of electronic device.

    2. This License is granted only on a per device basis.

  6. Automated Document Production Server License

    1. This License permits installing the Fonts Software on a server that generates documents automatically, such as bank statements, credit card bills, investment fund prospectuses, among others. 

    2. For creating user-generated content using the fonts, such as logos or templated documents.

  7. Embedded Content License

    1. For content using the font, distributed through content aggregators or ad networks:

      1. HTML5-based advertising.

      2. Embedded content in services such as Facebook Instant, Google AMP, Apple News, etc.

    2. License is for a discrete number of impressions.

    3. For use where the Fonts are hosted on the creator’s server, or CDN.

  8.  Merchandise License

    1. For use in creating merchandise for sale, among others, on goods such as apparel, mugs, housewares in which a logotype or other text set in the typeface is the primary design element;

    2. Promotional items given away for free are covered by the standard desktop license and do not require a merchandise license;

    3. Packaging and point of purchase promotion is covered by desktop license;

    4. Electronic devices, third party software, etc. would require an Embedding license, not a merchandise license

  9. Document-Based Editable Embedding License

    1. PDF embedding is permitted in the standard Desktop License.

    2. This License permits changing the embedding setting from Print & Preview (default) to Editable Embedding, which allows a Font to be embedded in a document which can then be viewed, printed, and edited.

  10. External Platform License (for platform user)

    1. For use of the font on third party platforms and services.

    2. Examples:

      1. Font is loaded onto for licensee to make templated presentations.

      2. Font is used on website that automates production of business cards for licensee.

    3. Fonts are hosted on the third party server, or shared CDN. No further distribution is allowed.

    4. Content may only be produced/edited by the license holder (fonts cannot be used by the third-party platform or other users of the third-party-platform not authorized by licensee).

    5. Font must be removed from third-party platform upon discontinuation of the third-party services.

  11. Distribution License

    1. Allows for distribution of desktop fonts to a third party who needs to work with the fonts on licensee’s behalf. Subcontractor will receive a desktop license that limits usage to working with the licensing client, along with the standard EULA.

    2. License covers a discrete number of third parties doing work on behalf of licensee simultaneously.

What this section means

This attachment to the EULA details the usage permitted under each license type, some of which can be purchased on this website, and some of which can only be obtained by contacting us and working with our licensing department. Please contact info[at] for assistance.




Select Licenses

Licenses Total


Your cart is empty

Caslon Doric

In the final quarter of the nineteenth century, the Caslon foundry invested heavily in the expansion of both its regular and narrow sans serifs. Starting in 1876, Caslon Doric No. 4 was cut as a regular weight, sans serif style in both upper- and lowercase. Here is a proof from the foundry in 1895 that shows the 36 point style (the foundry had started to use a point unit system for sizes by this date). St Bride Library.

The appearance and later acceptance of sans serif as a type form was one of the most significant changes in nineteenth-century typography. From a simple all-capital starting point, it grew through subsequent decades into the utilitarian letterform, suitable for multiple applications, that we both recognize and use today with little or no thought. Even though it is a letterform we readily accept across almost all our channels of communication, it took nearly sixty years for the British foundries to make the regular weight and width of this sans form so familiar to us today.

When William Caslon IV introduced his sans typeface sometime around 1816, it was met with disinterest. No contemporary usages of it seem to exist or survive. It was only in the late 1820s when Figgins (who first used the name sans serif), then later the Thorowgood foundry (who chose the name Grotesque), introduced styles that appear familiar to us. Created in large sizes, these early examples show the considerable impact a sans could bring to the page, at first as bold-weighted capitals of a normal width and then in a condensed form. The lowercase form, however, was a rarity. In Britain, sans serif was principally a display style, set in all-capitals, even when used at smaller sizes. It was never used for pages of continuous reading matter. The speed of acceptance of the sans can be gauged by the international spread of the form during the 1830s, with sans styles almost simultaneously appearing across Europe and the United States as a result of importing designs from Britain and local development.

The Doric first appeared as all-capitals, both filled and as outline at the beginning of the 1840s. The form is wider than Figgins’s first regular width style. It is a bold weight, round in design, but not geometric. Strokes end in flat horizontal terminals. The R has a straight-legged tail, and the G is without a crossbar. It is of a style that one might find on the pedestal of a Victorian statue. Caslon had already embraced the condensed sans form of the 1830s, though none of these types had gained a name, merely being described by size. The name Doric, like Ionic, references one of the classical orders of architecture. It seems unlikely, but not impossible, that Caslon would have related the name back to the Greek use of the sans letter. More probably, the choice of name reflects the fact that Doric was the simplest of the classical orders. It was only in the twentieth century that the Caslon foundry used the term sans serif, and only then to describe its condensed forms.

The first appearance of the ‘Doric’ sans in all-capital form in Specimen of Printing Types by Henry Caslon, 1842.

Later appearances of Doric No. 1 (it would continue to be cast until the foundry closed) show the recut G with crossbar. Specimens of Printing Types, H. W. Caslon & Co., 1895.

Later appearances of Doric No. 1 (it would continue to be cast until the foundry closed) show the recut G with crossbar. Specimens of Printing Types, H. W. Caslon & Co., 1895.

The first appearance of the ‘Doric’ sans in all-capital form in Specimen of Printing Types by Henry Caslon, 1842.

Later appearances of Doric No. 1 (it would continue to be cast until the foundry closed) show the recut G with crossbar. Specimens of Printing Types, H. W. Caslon & Co., 1895.

Later appearances of Doric No. 1 (it would continue to be cast until the foundry closed) show the recut G with crossbar. Specimens of Printing Types, H. W. Caslon & Co., 1895.

The first appearance of the ‘Doric’ sans in all-capital form in Specimen of Printing Types by Henry Caslon, 1842.

Meanwhile, the next major innovation in the sans design was introduced in Germany: sans forms at text sizes with a fully formed upper- and lowercase in the 1850s. The first homegrown examples in Britain seem to have been cut by one of Thorowgood’s successors, Reed & Fox, during the early 1870s. This light and relatively delicate weight would eventually become part of the expanded Stephenson Blake family of Grotesques, which was in turn the basis for Font Bureau’s digital series of Bureau Grotesques from the late 1980s. A number of these early sans types with lowercases, such as those issued by Scottish typefounder James Marr, may have been imported; but these new types were, on the whole, original designs or (in the case of Caslon’s Doric) expansions of existing all-capital families.

The Doric name clearly gained some currency for printers and the foundry for it was used again in the early 1850s, when Caslon reworked an all-capital design they had bought at auction of Bower Brothers foundry of Sheffield, as Doric No. 2.1 Lighter in weight and often narrower in width than the first Doric, it has a inconsistency in quality between sizes. Its naming as Doric seems to suggest that the foundry saw the commonalities and commercial possibilities, rather than the differences between these designs.

Doric No. 4. Specimens of Printing Types, H. W. Caslon, 1895.

 In 1876, Caslon began a new series of designs, which we will recognise as the style of the late nineteenth century British sans as exemplified in multiple variants from the major foundries. Doric No. 32 and No. 4 are the same design, No. 3 simply being the all-capital version. The weight is what we would classify as regular, the R has a curved tail, the G has a crossbar, the terminals of strokes taper in weight and are angled. The Q has the distinctly British tail with an internal loop, such as one would expect in a serif. Overall the letters are pleasing, well balanced, yet characterful.

Caslon introduced the lowercase form to what became Doric No. 4 in late 1878 (records date the design to 1876), an extension encouraged, Caslon noted, by customer demand. (One wonders why it was only at this point that customers asked for this form, and not earlier. Why had Thorowgood’s lowercase in the 1830s not encouraged printers to similarly want more lowercase sans serif types?) The Caslon lowercase is defined by the hook-like shapes of several characters that noticeably come back in on themselves: the tails of the f, j, r, t, and y are distinctive (later Caslon would experiment with an f and j with straight tails). Forms vary across the nine sizes in which this type was cut (the result of the work of a number of different individuals), though overall there is a consistency across the whole design. Caslon also added a series of strange swash-like capital forms to both Doric No. 3 and No. 4: A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, L, M, N, P, and R. Given the plainness of the type overall, these decorative-like swirls and rounded terminals are a curious addition. In fact, they did not last; these details disappeared from specimens by the end of the nineteenth century, though the Doric system of typefaces remained in Caslon specimen books until the end of the foundry. It is principally Doric No. 4 that serves as a model for the updated Caslon Doric regular width, balancing the qualities of charm and character with an underlying utility. From this design it is possible to extrapolate to lighter and bolder weights.

The appearance of a regular weight sans serif with a lowercase did not immediately lead to any further expansion of the Doric family; no italic to match, nor a bolder weight. It would be fifteen years before Doric No. 5 and Doric Italic No. 1 were cut. In this interim period, the foundry had come under the control of T W Smith, whose sons took on the Caslon name, the last of the Caslon family having died. Perhaps in such a time of business upheaval, priorities had been elsewhere, though a rapid expansion in the range of sans was implemented in the 1890s.

The next series of faces that bear the Doric name show how the foundry viewed the name: it’s a kind of sans serif (a normal width) letter rather than being a specific style. If Doric No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 share any of the same qualities and might be seen as sequential updates to the form, the next designs only share the name.


Doric No. 5, which was cut starting in 1893, is a well-considered, bold, square-like design, quite unlike No. 4. It has more in common with the style of a typeface, such as the much later Eurostile, and appears in multiple sizes (it was around this time that Caslon began casting typefaces in the modern point system we know now).

Doric Italic No. 1 almost has the appearance of an italic companion to No. 5 and the two were released in the same period, though the two designs do not appear to have been marketed as such. On closer inspection, however, it is in fact a copy of a German face, Fette Kursiv-Grotesk, from J. John Söhne’s foundry. Whether it was an officially licensed face, or simply a pirated face is not clear. However, it demonstrates how foundries were happy to take the shortcut of using others’ faces, whether by legal or illegal means.

In 1897, the first bold regular width sans with an accompanying lowercase appears: Doric No. 6 (and its all-capital variant No. 7). On initial inspection, one might think that it is the bold companion to Doric No. 4 and therefore informative to how our modern Doric would look. But looking closer, several characters take on differing models: the single-storey g, the Q with its non-looping tail, the lowercase a without a tail. Though much of it does appear to have been cut in the foundry, both by hand and by machine, it owes a debt to an American source. In July 1892, the foundry purchased 12 sizes of Gothic No. 2 from The Central Type Foundry of St. Louis.3 Certain details such as the r with its downward, looping tail have been changed to the British model, but others are simply copied, as mentioned above. Overall, the family gives an appearance of being rushed and unsure of itself; the lowercase seems too light and too small compared to the capitals, the descenders too deep.

Caslon’s Doric No. 8, extended and bold in style, was cut in 1906 by Kirkwood (the records say it was cut in Germany). The lowercase is curious in its rounded form, the shapes not being symmetrical on the vertical axis, so the lowercase e is narrower at its top than its bottom. But the shapes of the a, r, and f with their hooks and the g are all similar to those we find in Doric No. 4. This was the last design that appears to have been cut by hand.

As the nineteenth century ended, production of type was speeded up with the invention of the pantographic punchcutting machine by Benton in the 1880s, and which Caslon began to employ in 1898, according to the records that remain. This would allow greater speed at producing new designs, but also greater consistency between both letters and sizes. Caslon’s Doric No. 10 (No. 9 seems to have been abandoned) was entirely machine cut in 1909. In style, it is similar to No. 5 (which disappears from the specimens) and has the advantage of being more uniform over the size range, though it may be argued that it is blander. So while No. 5 exists from 8 to 28 point, No. 10 goes from 6 to 72 point.

The last Doric, No. 12, was cut after the First World War. It is almost a regular or medium weight of No. 8, but loses the unusual bottom-heavy shapes and has a reduced x-height that looks too small. However, you can see certain letters that recall the style found in Doric No. 4: the hook tail of the r, the protruding ear of the double-storey g, the kink in the tail of the R. Cut between 1921–25, it perhaps reflects the increasingly tough financial circumstances that Caslon found itself in. Monotype released a version of Caslon Old Style in 1915, and one wonders if this dramatically altered the fortunes of the foundry as the demand for one of Caslon’s main text faces was curtailed.

Wider and Thinner

One of the earliest light sans typefaces, Pearl Skeleton. A Specimen of Printing Types by W. Thorowgood and Company, 1837.

Doric Expanded from the 1850s. Specimens of Printing Types, H. W. Caslon, 1895.

Caslon’s original Doric is a wider form than the sans of Figgins or Blake & Stephenson, but we would not necessarily recognise it as a wide design. Wide or expanded typefaces (the fat face appears to be the first to be stretched) seems a logical development after condensing forms, but as they take up more space than save and reduce the size a headline can be, they never gained the same popularity. Appearing first in the fourth decade, they gained some popularity in the 1840s and 1850s.

Certainly Doric No. 8 and No. 12 are wide, but these are not the first wide sans faces that the foundry produced. Doric Expanded appeared in the 1860s, which was used as a titling font. This light, all-capital style probably followed a letterform cut by engravers for visiting cards and announcements; its thinness is typical of the engraver rather than the typefounder. Thorowgood, for example, shows a regular width hairline style of sans in 1838, cut as we would expect at a small size. Founders at this time did not see this form as the model for a large range of sizes. The modern Doric imagines the forms of Doric No. 4 as being extrapolated into such light weights, but also in being stretched into wider than expected forms.


Caslon introduced the condensed sans in the 1830s following the example of the other foundries. Its usefulness is demonstrated with the setting of long titles of plays. But the typefaces remain simply titled ‘Condensed’, with Caslon only introducing the name Sans in the twentieth century. Chrononhotonthologos was the title of an eighteenth-century play, Aldiborontiphoscofornio being a character. Specimen of Printing Types by Henry Caslon, 1842.

Though Doric was the name Caslon adopted for their system of normal and wide sans serifs, condensed sans forms were called simply Condensed. Egyptians and moderns in a condensed form, on the other hand, were called ‘compressed’. This naming would continue into the twentieth century, even after the foundry began a process of expanding its range of sans styles from the 1870s onwards.

The first condensed sans from Caslon appeared in the early 1830s. It was a bold weight, though not extrabold, all-capital form. The letterforms are typical of the style, flat-sided on both the exterior and the inner counters. To confuse matters, the foundry then introduced additional styles and sizes as Condensed No. 1 and a lighter (and somewhat narrower) Condensed No. 2 in the 1840s (we might consider it a semibold or medium today). With No. 3 and No. 4 we find truly light forms.

Condensed Sans-Serif No. 8 cut by Emile Bertaut, C. Chitson and J. Rochaix, 1894 onwards. Proofs and smoke proofs shown in the Caslon Scrapbook, March 1894. St Bride Library.

Condensed Sans-Serif No. 14 machine cut around 1912; the sans to the left is the original Caslon condensed sans. As shown in the Caslon Scrapbook. St Bride Library.

Condensed Sans-Serif No. 6 cut by George Hammond in proof. The comment about the lowercase t reads “the turn-up of the lcase t might be narrower with advantage. It should be heavy here and cut in here”. St Bride Library.

Condensed Sans-Serif No. 8 cut by Emile Bertaut, C. Chitson and J. Rochaix, 1894 onwards. Proofs and smoke proofs shown in the Caslon Scrapbook, March 1894. St Bride Library.

Condensed Sans-Serif No. 14 machine cut around 1912; the sans to the left is the original Caslon condensed sans. As shown in the Caslon Scrapbook. St Bride Library.

Condensed Sans-Serif No. 6 cut by George Hammond in proof. The comment about the lowercase t reads “the turn-up of the lcase t might be narrower with advantage. It should be heavy here and cut in here”. St Bride Library.

Condensed Sans-Serif No. 8 cut by Emile Bertaut, C. Chitson and J. Rochaix, 1894 onwards. Proofs and smoke proofs shown in the Caslon Scrapbook, March 1894. St Bride Library.

It is only with No. 6 and No. 8 in the series,4 cut in the last decade of the nineteenth century, that we see the first condensed sans with a lowercase from Caslon. Condensed No. 6, begun in 1895, is regular in weight with a relatively small x-height. It is noticeably condensed, vertically elongated with flat sides, and sharply angled horizontal terminals. The g is single-storey with a deep descender. The terminals of characters such as the S and s hook back in on themselves, with the tail of the t hooking upwards. The Q has an unexpected style of tail, a diagonal line that dissects the circle, joining a horizontal wave-like form. A condensed bold style, Condensed No. 8 was begun a year earlier in 1894. This has a larger x-height with shortened descenders but is similarly compact. The y is unusual with its parallel strokes and a tail that hooks under itself. In style, the condensed makes different design decisions than the regular Doric width; it would make perfect sense in a condensed for the letters to be flat-sided and certain characters, like the g, to be single-storeyed. Condensed No. 6 and No. 8 are the most important influences on the condensed weights of the modern Doric.

Caslon’s approach to sans serifs epitomizes the approach of many typefounders of the nineteenth century. Little attempt was made to join styles together to create harmonious families; rather, the completion of a broad range of sizes in metal type was the priority. Founders had yet to discover the economic and design benefits of creating large coordinated families with distinct names. The introduction of the regular width sans serif with upper- and lowercase some 20 years after its introduction by German founders suggests a conservative approach to the style and its slow adoption by printers.

Caslon Doric through the ages. Left: Doric No. 1 (first appearance c. 1840), No. 2 (cut at Bower and Bacon before 1851), No. 3 (c. 1876), No. 4 (c. 1876; No. 3 and No. 4 are the same design, with the addition of lowercase in No. 4), No. 5 (c. 1895), and No. 6. (1896, based in part on Gothic No. 2 of the Central Type Foundry, St. Louis). Right: Doric No. 7 (1896 No. 6 and No. 7 are the same design, No. 7 being the titling capitals version), No. 8 (1906), No. 10 (1909), and No. 12 (1921). The italics are Doric Italic No. 1 (c. 1893, a copy of J. John Söhne’s Fette Kursiv-Grotesk) and No. 2 (after 1895 before 1900).

Caslon Sans though the ages. Left: Sans Serif No.1 (after 1833, before 1836), Sans Serif No. 2 (before 1842), Sans Serif No. 3 (before 1861), Sans Serif No. 4 (before 1861), Sans Serif No. 5 (before 1886), Sans Serif No. 6 (1895), Sans Serif No. 7 (1893). Right: Sans Serif No. 8 (1894), Sans Serif No. 10 (1894), Sans Serif No. 12 (which was renumbered from No. 9, 1899), and Sans Serif No. 14 (1912), Fourteen-Line Pica Condensed (1830s), Condensed Italic (before 1870).

Caslon maintained its curious practice of labelling typefaces of the same style as variously Doric or sans serif into the twentieth century. It also did not adopt any of the newer humanist styles unlike other foundries, such as Stephenson Blake (Granby, 1930) and Monotype (Gill Sans, 1928), though they did market and import the geometric Elegant from the Stempel foundry. Whilst similar sans serifs, such as the German Schelter & Giesecke Grotesk or Bauer’s Venus, gained popularity amongst the continental modernists in the interwar years, no such movement existed in Britain that would champion Caslon’s Doric (or those designs of Miller & Richard or Stephenson Blake). And so, Caslon Doric dropped out of existence as the foundry collapsed in the 1930s, more than 120 years after Caslon IV first showed a sans type. In the years after the Second World War, the new wave of designers in Britain would also reject the British sans, whether it be Gill or the nineteenth-century forms, preferring the continental models, first of Monotype’s Grotesque 215 (a design similar to Venus) and latterly, the neo-grotesques of Helvetica and Univers.

With the revived Caslon Doric, we attempted to bring several disparate styles together and to make a system that makes sense to contemporary designers, while also trying to retain some of the diversity and warmth of the originals. Like many of the range of faces in Commercial Classics, much is imagined, yet feels authentic to what existed already.


Auction sales of foundries were not uncommon in the nineteenth century and many foundries increased stock by either purchasing wholesale or parts of another founders stocks. Matrices would obviously be the most useful usually as they could be cast from, but punches were popular and could be reworked to update designs.
The first appearance of the name Doric No. 3 is in specimens of the 1860 for one size, Pearl, but this appears to be a smaller size of Doric No. 2 on the same body.
The scrapbook notes that type of 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24, 30, 36, 42, and 48 point were purchased. What is not clear is if this was agreed between the foundries.
Being started in 1894, Condensed No. 10 predates No. 6 but appears to be a series of purchased designs originally entitled Mid-Gothic. The name and design suggests it was imported from the United States.
Written by Paul Barnes