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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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Edmund Fry & Son, Six-Line (72 point) Antique (1824).

Successor is a new interpretation of the nineteenth-century English slab serif, commonly known as the Egyptian or Antique.1 Developing first from the Modern and then from the so-called “fat face,” the Egyptian was an expression of typographic weight taken to its logical conclusion. With every stroke made bold, the Egyptian gave printers a powerful new tool for creating visual impact. The robust letterforms also lent themselves to generating a whole gamut of variations in width and weight that set a precedent for display typography thereafter. Successor unites these disparate styles and expands them into a cohesive modern type family while preserving the warmth and character of their origins.

Vincent Figgins’s first specimen showing Antique faces (1817).

An English Invention

The Industrial Revolution that began in the late eighteenth century ushered in vast economic, societal, and conceptual changes that also led to unprecedented developments in type. First, the widespread introduction of advertising and cheaply printed ephemera sparked a rivalry among printers for the most eye-catching layouts and novel typeface designs. Second, the notion that tasks could be subjected to mechanized processes engendered a new conceptual attitude toward craft. This marked the birth of the idea in type design, and it led to an explosion in new type styles. If one compares the progression of the English Modern to the fat face and then on to the Egyptian, one can see an emerging concept of boldness. The fat face increased the weight of the Modern horizontally; once this was done, it became evident that this step could be repeated vertically to achieve maximum density on the same skeleton. 

The characteristic features of the Egyptian follow from this operation. The thinner strokes are optically as heavy as the thicker ones, and the serifs become boxy slabs, which are usually unbracketed.2 To accommodate additional weight in the lowercase, the x-height is fairly large. Descender length is moderate, and the ascenders typically align to cap height. The thickness of horizontal strokes creates the impression of heavy “rails” along the extrema of the line of type. To prevent the counters from closing up, strokes in the middle of letters (the bars on the A, E, a, and e, for instance) are often much lighter than at the top and bottom, as are branching joins on letters like G, h, m, n, r, u, b, d, p, q, a, and g.


As with many other type styles, the first appearance of the slab serif letterform cannot be conclusively dated. Slab serifs had been printed from wood blocks by 1810,3 and almost certainly were used before that in architectural inscriptions, shop signs, and so forth, although these can be much harder to place historically. Alan Bartram shows Egyptian lettering gracing a 1754 building in Berwick-upon-Tweed.4 The inscription was clearly added later; the question is, of course, by how much. Nicolete Gray offers an example of slab serif lettering on a tombstone as early as 1727, although the delicacy of the forms bears little in common with the solid Egyptian style of the early 1800s.5 Nonetheless, it’s clear that the robust forms would have lent themselves well to stone or wood carving, and also would have looked even more striking to contemporary eyes than they do today. It was only logical for typefounders to capitalize on this bold new trend.

The first known slab serifs cast in metal type appear in Vincent Figgins’s specimen of 1817, where they were called “Antiques”. As was typical of contemporary display faces, they were uppercase only. Around the same time, Robert Thorne was also evidently working on a set of Egyptians. However, these did not appear in print until after his death, when they were acquired by William Thorowgood and shown in his specimen of 1821. (This specimen, incidentally, was the first to call the style “Egyptian.”) Either way, the style was neither Figgins’s creation nor Thorne’s—nor a new invention at all, at that point.

This is not to say that the Egyptian style was fully resolved by the time it appeared in type. A number of early attempts show the false starts and dead ends that resulted as punchcutters experimented with different approaches. Edmund Fry & Son’s Six-Line (72 point) Antique shows what happens when little effort is made toward consistency. It almost appears as though each letter was drawn separately by a different person, and their juxtaposition is chaotic.

The Frys were not alone in struggling with the new genre. The geometric, uncontrasted O in their example was also employed by Caslon and Figgins, and appears as well in the earliest sans serifs, which emerged around the same time and whose development parallels that of the slab. It illustrates the balance punchcutters were trying to strike between aesthetics (which favors a contrasted form) and concept (which favors evenness of stroke).

The novel style was not without controversy, perhaps exacerbated by the sort of missteps evident in the Fry specimen. T. C. Hansard’s Typographia describes Egyptians as “typographical monstrosities.”6 Daniel Berkeley Updike cites a contemporary joke book lampooning popular bafflement at letters in which “the thin strokes were exactly the same size as the thick ones.”7 By the mid-1820s, however, its popularity had reached critical mass. Nearly all the English foundries were offering Antiques in multiple sizes and styles by this point. And as ephemera from the era attest, printers eagerly adopted these new types, which offered an unprecedented degree of boldness.

The Figgins, Caslon, and Thorowgood specimens from 1821 all include italics in capitals only. In 1825, Caslon introduced an italic lowercase. This followed convention in preserving the cursive tails and the ball terminals of the Modern and fat face italic. The tails improve the spacing of lighter-weight faces, but prevent a heavy italic Egyptian from matching the density of its related upright. Several typefounders (such as Thorowgood) addressed this problem by rounding the tails, or, in the innovative approach of Hugh Hughes, by truncating the ends. However, it seems that no one was prepared to do away with these strokes entirely.

Title page with Egyptians in multiple sizes down to approximately 6 point. Undated; likely 1820s. Courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

Figgins Brevier (8 point) Antique No. 2, 1840s.

Figgins Nonpareil (6 point) Antique, 1832.

Title page with Egyptians in multiple sizes down to approximately 6 point. Undated; likely 1820s. Courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

Figgins Brevier (8 point) Antique No. 2, 1840s.

Figgins Nonpareil (6 point) Antique, 1832.

Title page with Egyptians in multiple sizes down to approximately 6 point. Undated; likely 1820s. Courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

From their earliest appearance, Egyptians were cut at small sizes. Figgins’s 1817 specimen contains a Two-Line Nonpareil (12 point) Antique, and by 1821 he offered sizes all the way down to Diamond (4 ½ point). These were in capitals only, but by the mid-1820s his and other foundries were offering upper- and lowercase Egyptian fonts at text sizes. The fact that even these small sizes were still quite bold suggests that they were not being used for extended text typesetting, but rather for specialist tasks like small print on handbills and book title pages.

Once printers realized that the sturdiness of Egyptian forms held up as well or better than Moderns at small sizes on low-quality ink and paper, lighter weights suitable for extended text were developed. At that point, bolder Egyptians of matching size were then employed for emphasis within text.

The Figgins foundry was also the scene of much innovation in the Egyptian’s weight range. In the 1830s, several foundries began to offer Egyptians of the same size in different cuts, named simply Numbers 1, 2, 3, and so forth. Often this referred to stylistic variants such as different lowercase terminals. However, Figgins also showed different degrees of boldness. This was explored in earnest more toward the middle of the century with the Two-Line Double Pica (48 point) Antique of 1847, which Nicolete Gray considers the first light Egyptian.8 This date places it in context with the arrival of light sans serifs, and suggests a parallel development with lighter Egyptians for text. Figgins also pioneered the ultra-thin “Skeleton” Antique, in which the letter was truly reduced to a monoline. 

Narrow Antiques began to appear in the 1830s, more or less simultaneously with condensed fat faces and sans serifs. Thorowgood’s specimen of 1832 contained the first example of a narrow Egyptian we know of in type.9 Later in the decade, foundries had begun to offer them in a wide range of sizes from 12 points to the colossal 360 points. These narrower letters can be divided into two styles: the compact (or elongated/compressed), where the O and other round letters are oval on the outside with a flat counter; and the condensed, where the round letters take on almost totally flat sides inside and out.

Although the condensed Egyptian was quickly adopted by printers for fitting more words into a line, wide styles came only later, and judging from print records, they found comparatively little use. Nicolete Gray claims the expanded Egyptian first appears in Figgins’s 1847 specimen;10 by the 1850s, Figgins was showing expanded Antiques in an entire range of weights, some with lowercase as well as capitals. Robert Besley of the Fann Street Foundry released an expanded Antique, in capitals and figures only, in a wide range of sizes in the 1850s. By the 1870s, Miller & Richard had cut several expanded slab serifs in both upper- and lowercase, and also added a thinner weight. As with the condensed widths, there seem to be no surviving italics for extended Egyptians during this time period—perhaps it was simply not worth the trouble for faces that were so rarely used.

Successor: a new historical Egyptian

The story of the Egyptian face is one of incremental development across multiple decades, foundries, and punchcutters. Although today it is common to offer a unified design in weights, widths, and italics, not one single typefounder offered all of these variants of the Egyptian together, and some were never developed. In attempting to fill the empty slots in the matrix, Successor is as anachronistic and speculative as it is faithful. It is a hypothesis about what those missing styles might have looked like, and how they might have appeared if they had been drawn by the same person. 

Table of width and weight variations of the display Egyptian. Entries show the first appearance of styles in particular parts of the width and weight range that were cut in nineteenth-century England. Only a portion of theoretically possible styles were cut, including only one example of an italic that is not normal width.

Like its forerunners, Successor was designed beginning from the heaviest weights in the normal width at display sizes. The primary models here were Figgins’s largest sizes. In these Egyptians, there is an overall authority, refinement, evenness of tone, and crispness that set a high-water mark for the style. Figgins’s lowercase is also particularly successful in its choice of flat terminals, which reduce visual noise and help harmonize with the uppercase.

While Caslon’s Romans vary in quality, the foundry’s italics (particularly the 2-line English Antique Italic of 1825 shown above) provided the primary model for Successor’s. In contrast to the rounded model of Thorowgood, the sharpness of Caslon’s italics fit well with the Successor romans.   

The Egyptian, like the fat face, is not only a genre; it’s also an idea about transforming the weight on the skeleton of a letter. Nicolete Gray considered this powerful idea “the most brilliant typographical invention of the [nineteenth] century, and perhaps the most complete and concise expression of the dominant culture of its brief period.”11 Not unlike our own time, this was a period of sweeping change, formidable in its challenges but thrilling in its possibilities. New styles like the Egyptian initially posed obstacles to typefounders, but quickly sparked exuberant innovation that continued unabated for decades. The gusto with which typefounders invented new variations on the Egyptian is manifest in the vitality and appealing imperfections of their letterforms. Successor applies a modern structure to these sources with a resolve not to erase this personality and humanity. It captures the compelling type forms that were the direct product of an unfolding new worldview, ones that are as relevant to designers today as they were two centuries ago.

Typefounders confusingly used the names Egyptian and Antique for both slab serif and sans serif types. In Britain, “Egyptian” was the name of the first sans (Caslon’s Egyptian of 1816); slab serifs were called “Antique” by all foundries except Thorowgood. This convention was also used in the United States. In France and Germany, the naming was reversed: sans serifs were called “Antique” and slab serifs were called “Egyptienne.” It seems both faces with low stroke contrast were lumped together for their “exotic” qualities; other names for the sans, such as Grotesque, Gothic, and Doric, indicate that these types seemed primitive or atavistic to contemporary eyes. The term slab serif is a larger category of which the Egyptian is a subtype. Since not all slab serifs are Egyptians, this article favors the latter term for specificity. 

In other words, the serifs lack a smooth interior curve where the serif intersects the stem.

James Mosley, “The Nymph and the Grot, an update,” Typefoundry (blog), January 6, 2007.

Alan Bartram, Lettering on Architecture (New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1975), 49.

Nicolete Gray, Slab Serif Type Design in England 1815–1845 (London: Journal of the Printing Historical Society, No. 15 [1980–1981]), 2.

Thomas Curson Hansard, Typographia: An Historical Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the Art of Printing (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1825), 618:

“To the razor-edged fine lines and ceriphs of type just observed upon, a reverse has succeeded, called ‘Antique’ or ‘Egyptian,’ the property of which is, that the stokes which form the letters are all of one uniform thickness!—After this, who would have thought that further extravagance could have been conceived? […] Oh! sacred shades of Moxon and Van Dijke, of Baskerville and Bodoni! what would ye have said of the typographic monstrosities here exhibited, which Fashion in our age has produced?”

Daniel Berkeley Updike, Printing Types (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1966), 195.

Nicolete Gray, Slab Serif Type Design in England 1815–1845 (London: Journal of the Printing Historical Society, No. 15 [1980–1981]), 11.

A revival of this face by Paul Barnes and Greg Gazdowicz was released by Commercial Type in 2019 as Thorowgood Egyptian.

Nicolete Gray, Nineteenth Century Ornamented Typefaces (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), 195.

Nicolete Gray, Nineteenth Century Ornamented Typefaces, 23.

Written by Tim Ripper