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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.




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The typical fat face made in the first three decades of the nineteenth century was heavy in weight and large in size. 14 Line Pica, No. 2 as shown in Thorowgood’s New Specimen of Printing Types, late R. Thorne, 1821. Thorne is often considered the pioneer of the form. St Bride Library.


Take a serif typeface and make it bold. Then, make it bolder. And then, bolder again. Carry on until it seems that it can’t be any bolder, for where would all the weight go? Then, make it even bolder—bold to the point of becoming overblown and vulgar—so that next to a normal weight of roman, it could only seem monstrous. So bold that it would take enough ink for the inner counterforms to almost disappear and for the terminals to be exaggerated beyond anything seen before. This is the fat face and, by the second decade of the nineteenth century, they were the boldest typefaces people had ever seen. Originally designed for making words as eye-catching and bold as possible, even today they retain their impact.

The fat face is the joyful expression of an idea—to make something as bold as can be—executed with real vigour and the utmost conviction. And so, from the skeleton of the elegant modern came this bombastic form. But while the modern gently moved away from the traditions of the past, the fat face completely broke free of them. Once the fat face arrived, all the other bold designs of the nineteenth century followed: the Egyptian being a fat face with low contrast and the Italian with reverse contrast. 

Isambard is the cousin of Brunel; it takes the heaviest weight, the black, and pushes it as far as it can be pushed. In sheer weight it is heavier then anything the British foundries ever produced in a normal width, yet not beyond the realms of what a founder might have produced. Isambard does not have to fit neatly into the immediate family design of Brunel. Forms become distorted in keeping with the idea of extreme weight, so the balls are bloated to near-bursting. Shapes become simplified: the E, F, L, T, and Z all lose the curvature in their terminals and are simple triangular forms. The inner shapes are no longer completely rounded, but become flat-sided. The transformation between thick and thin is exaggerated.

By the first decade of the nineteenth century, the idea of a bold weight was an established idiom in typeface design and as soon as one foundry produced a bold, another would produce something even bolder. When the first fat face appeared is not clear. It has often been claimed that Thorne introduced the form in 1803, but the specimen of that year does not even show a bold face. Fry shows bold faces in a specimen around 1808, but they are not recognisably fat. Thorne’s last known specimen of 1810 (before the purchase by Thorowgood) shows faces that are so, but this does not conclusively prove Thorne was the innovator of the form. For example, no known Figgins specimen exists between 1801 and 1815, when he clearly shows fat faces. An examination of the types from the Caslon and Catherwood foundry and its successor, Caslon and Livermore, gives some idea of the increase in weight in fat faces from the 1810s to the 1830s. The Four-line Pica that appears in the earliest specimen must have been surpassed, for it is not shown in the specimen from the 1830s. Instead, a bolder design appears, No. 1, which one might consider to be a fat face. No. 3 does not greatly increase weight in the capitals but does so in the lowercase, which has narrower counters, though both No. 1 and No. 3 are clearly developments of the earlier design. In weight, the lowercase of Isambard is around 25% heavier, the capitals around 13% heavier. Isambard also has a greater contrast than found in these examples.

A similar pattern of development can be identified in all of the other foundries: multiple versions of the same size of display face with increasing scale in their numeric identifiers, almost always denoting an increase in weight. Maximum weight and contrast was probably achieved sometime in the 1830s, at which point the fat face could develop no further (though they continued in production, even being cast from original matrices), until the end of commercial foundries in the latter part of the twentieth century.1

The fat face can be described as the exaggeration of the modern letterform, extreme variation between thick and thin strokes with the reduction of modulation in bracketing. This often leads to very dramatic typefaces: sharp changes between weights, extreme ball terminals, and minimum counters as the space inside letters is reduced to the smallest amount it can be. The extremity of weight can often lead to distortion as the x-height is increased to accommodate weight without resorting to an expansion of width, the dot of the i and j become distorted ovals, and the ball of the f widens rather than deepens.

Italics follow the same principles, often with rounded notches on the base of the h, k, m, n, and r, and the tops of the a, g, u, w, and y. Certain forms are simplified, such as a single-storey form of the g or a tailless f. The A, M, N, V, W, and Y are usually rendered in the swash style with extreme bulbous balls; specimens often show the word VANWAYMAN. Fat faces would often be very closely fitted with virtually no sidebearings between the letters and the boundries of the type.

The second style of fat face has lower contrast, with even less modulation between thick and thin strokes. The Ten-Line Pica appears first in Caslon & Livermore’s specimen of 1825, as shown in Specimen of Printing Types by Henry Caslon, 1842.

Ten-Line Pica italic. Specimen of Printing Types by Henry Caslon, 1842.

Isambard comes in two variants, a regular and No. 2. In the regular, the contrast between thick and thin is greater, with the thins being the weight of Brunel Poster and there being some modulation between thick and thin strokes. In No. 2 there is less contrast, with the thins being much heavier. The spacing remains tight for large sizes but there is almost no modulation with the transition from thick to thin strokes being abrupt. It might be speculated that the shift towards lower contrast and less modulation happened for two reasons. For one, the version with heavier serifs was easier to read in larger sizes and brought greater impact, though perhaps they were just easier to make. Secondly, one might consider that these more robust serifs and hairlines are more durable for printers—any study of playbills (where these faces were used) will show damaged types frequently. In 1808, William Caslon IV had pioneered a method of matrix manufacture which necessitated that the design was cut into a sheet of brass and then mounted on a back; to make thin hairlines would presumably have been more complicated. These matrices were called Sanspareil.


Long Primer No. 8 (10 point), a fat face at text size, cut in the fourth decade of the nineteenth century. Specimen of Printing Types by Henry Caslon, 1842.

The fat face was created for display typography in sizes from 14 point to the largest that could be cast in metal. Yet, in the spirit of innovation and inventiveness that characterizes nineteenth-century typefounding, from the late 1820s on it became customary to make fat faces in smaller and smaller sizes, even down to Nonpareil (around 6 point). At such sizes, the fat face could be used for emphasis—a bold name on a title page, for example—but also for short passages of text or poetry, as the specimens show. The skill that was needed to fit all that weight into the limited space of a display face would be just as complex in a text size, if not harder. Though the text weights appear to be as heavy as the display weights, they simply can’t be. Counters are larger, x-heights increased, balls and dots are often stretched and widened. And though the form waned in popularity in step with the display sizes, some foundries continued to cast them into the next century. 


The first condensed serif typeface appear in Specimen of Printing Types by Vincent Figgins, 1833. St Bride Library.

If the first three decades of the nineteenth century were about making bolder and bolder typefaces at ever-increasing sizes, whether it be fat faces or Egyptians, the fourth saw an explosion in the production of narrower and narrower typefaces. It is not too difficult to imagine how, by the 1830s, foundries had started to run out of steam with the fat face, having cut the style in virtually all sizes. Their energies were instead being diverted to new forms, most notably the sans and a condensed variant. Figgins appears to be the first to show the condensed form in 1832, first as all capitals and then a year later with lowercase. The other foundries all followed this lead in the years that came after.

In condensing the style, the counters remain narrow but weight is lost from the vertical strokes. This makes the form lighter, though it maintains the appearance of having a similar density on the page to the regular width. Serifs are almost always flat and the variation between thick and thin strokes is usually extreme. The round characters, such as the O, are no longer rounded ovals but increasingly pinched in their curves as the letters get narrower. The numerals are unlike those of the regular width of the fat face. For example, the bottom of the 2 and top of the 7 are no longer flat, but a wave-like form.

While the roman form became widely accepted, the condensed italic style is obscure in type.2 One example can be found, made by Alexander Wilson & Son before 1843. If almost every fat face has a matching italic, the opposite is true of the condensed form. It is also a style that seems to have been rare in contemporary lettering. Was it an unpopular form, or was it simply an undiscovered one? Condensed sans italics remain similarly unusual. Or were foundries simply deterred by the difficulty and expense of casting such a design? Whatever the reason, Isambard’s condensed italics have no direct model. Instead, they have been derived from the design precedents established within the regular widths of Isambard.

Following the introduction of the bold weight, the fat face was the second of the great innovations of the nineteenth century. The creation of balanced and convincing seriffed letters, which maximized extremes of weight and contrast was one of the great challenges facing nineteenth-century punchcutters. That they managed to achieve such success in both roman and italic styles, in multiple sizes from the largest down to the smallest text sizes, and in condensed widths bears testimony to the skill of the punchcutters and foundries producing these new and progressive designs. 

Stephenson Blake revived several sizes of fat faces that were probably cut by Thorowgood, or possibly even Thorne.
Outside of the British Isles, examples appear in greater frequency such as Mackellar, Smiths & Jordan Co. specimens in America and in Deberny et Cie specimens in France.
Written by Paul Barnes