a common reader

Typographer Bram de Does

· 14 February 2008 |  by Janantoon
· Published in: English texts · over boeken · typografie

The Laurens Janszoon Coster Prize is a biennial prize for a person that made important contributions to some aspect of the book. Laurens Janszoon Coster was a 15th century Dutch printer. Some historians have claimed that he was the inventor of printing with movable type in stead of Gutenberg. I have a book by Jan Poortenaar on this subject, published in 1947, but I’m afraid that anti-German feelings came in the way of historical veracity.

Anyway, in 2007 the Prize was given to Dutch typographer Bram de Does. Those who love typography know that the humble workers that produce the best books never seek the spotlights. To me they are real artists, but working in the shadow. Nevertheless, their output can give real pleasure to the (sometimes unaware) reader. Apart from the bookmakers there are some typographers, few, that really create new type. The likes of Eric Gill, who made the famous Gill Sans, the Joanna and the Perpetua, Stanley Morison, creator of the also famous Times New Roman.
Bram de Does created two superb new letters, based on Bembo, namely the Trinité and the Lexikon. The sketches on the front of the book are studies for the Lexikon.
I don’t think that his letters already have a wide international distribution, but they should. Fact is that the letter was mostly used by the old Dutch printing firm Enschedé. I have several books with the Trinité, for instance the beautiful Boek over het maken van boeken (Book about the making of books), and I can assure that the letter is comfortable to the eye and just a wee bit teasing. It seems that Cambridge University Press sometimes uses the Lexikon, but as far as I know I don’t have an example.


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