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Goudy Bookletter 1911

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Version 2010.07.04 (as of 4 July 2010). Now includes TrueType.

This font is based on Kennerley Old Style, which was designed by Frederic Goudy in 1911 for a collection of H G Wells stories, The Door in the Wall and Other Stories, which was published by Mitchell Kennerley.
© 2008 - 2021 chemoelectric
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tooleh's avatar
This is absolutely wonderful. Is it available in bold or italic?
chemoelectric's avatar
P22's commercial version does: [link]
The italic wouldn't mix well with mine, though the bold might.

Originally I wanted to do the italic, but I got bored. :) It is unlikely I would make the italic now, though I might do a whole new (and less irregular) Kennerley series based on specimen books. I have some of the work done for the open caps.

I have never yet completed a boldface; in my own life I tend to find searching for a different solution than boldface more rewarding than making a boldface. :) Or I break down and use someone else's font, when making a user icon or something like that.
beebarb's avatar
I find this font a clearly readable design :)
beebarb's avatar
You're most welcome :D
Nadesiko's avatar
What a delight! I was handling an old Roycrofter book ([link] oh god so hot) the other day set in Kennerly and was instantly seduced. This font is a wonderful interpretation for digital use and I'm so glad to have found you :D Now if only I could actually get my hands on a full drawer of Kennerly *siigh*
chemoelectric's avatar
:) Thanks for liking it.

I’ve had the font features on Smashing Magazine three times, I think, so I finally decided that people really liked it. :) Also the League of Movable Type was using it for their logo long before I became a member.

Kennerley IMO is especially pleasing if one experiences the manner in which the letters fit together. This is something that the old Monotype catalogs described as the letters seeming to ‘lock’ to each other, but in digital type it comes to this: there is very little need for kerning. See how the letters kind of spread their shoulders out and occupy the space provided to them. :)

I have done some work on a new version done from my own high-res scans of foundry specimens on coated paper, but I don’t think people will like it as much (except the open caps), and so I will give it a different name. But I’m not a very productive designer, anyway, so who knows what will happen? :)

BTW Goudy designed Forum capitals to go with Kennerley and there is an existing free version here: [link]
nymphont's avatar
Ooooh HG Wells always had the best fonts. Ever. Thanks for sharing this.
chemoelectric's avatar
No problem, I make ’em for sharing.

Is that true about Wells and typefaces?
nymphont's avatar
Yes, he must have been into typography, because he used wonderful serifs such as Goudy for the text in his books, but his book covers are sans-serif art! Seriously, if you were to google image search his books you would surely see them. Lovely use of color & typefaces. Geometric sans-serifs was what he usually used on cover designs, and they were really quite lovely to look at. Some of my favorites.
chemoelectric's avatar
The first-edition covers linked to from his Wikipedia page seem mostly hand-lettered in various styles.
nymphont's avatar
You know what, it is hard to find them but here are a few (My sister is a "book enthusiasts" and collects books so that is how I knew of these)

But yes, the sans were not as common but there seemed to be a period where many covers used a sans font. either way many of his old/first edition era works are lovely, with nice typefaces and printers ornaments.

Here are some: [link] [link] [link]
chemoelectric's avatar
Well, the second one looks like Avant Garde Gothic, and so probably was printed in the 1970s, and couldn't have been printed any earlier. The first one looks hand-lettered to me; the subtitle is lettered how I learned to do it in drafting class about 25 years ago. (Ugh!)

The Penguin cover looks like Gill Sans, which makes sense for a British publisher. I would be curious in what year the book was designed, to have an idea of whether it was before or after Jan Tschichold helped Penguin redesign their books. :)

I collect old books a bit, but for the typefaces so I can scan them. :) Type specimens, too.
nymphont's avatar
[link]


Well I'm not the book enthusiast, my sister is lol, which is where I became familiar with these covers. I am the sapling-type-enthusiast, and I see I had my book details wrong:nerd:, but one thing is for sure, those are still lovely sans designs on some of HG Wells works, be they modern re-prints or first editions I do regret speaking of something I really wasn't that certain of, now I know :D
chemoelectric's avatar
I have been reading a lot about about book printing the last couple of years, but I recognize 1970s style from having been there. :) In fact it was reading science fiction as a teenager that I first got interested (in a latent way) with typefaces, because a lot of the SF books I borrowed from the library were printed in Electra, and said so.

I do have a whole lot of old books, bookcases full of them, but I collected most of them in the ’90s for reasons other than an interest in printing. It was more of a reading things to find oneself. :)

(Eric Gill of Gill Sans fame was a real weirdo BTW. Google will turn up information about him, but also I’ve read his 'Essay on Typography' and it's the writing of a weirdo. :) )
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Cinnamoncandy's avatar
Hello! :wave:

You have been featured in my journal [link] and in this news article [link]
reddartfrog's avatar
dtw42's avatar
dtw42's avatar
Letterspacing blackletter, right? Baaa!
Very nice work done on this font.
chemoelectric's avatar
Another Goudy Text spacer: [link]
chemoelectric's avatar
Goudy Text, in fact! :)

Thanks for the compliment. :)
utawoutau's avatar
Chu vi parolas Esperanton?
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