Commercial Classics

18 April 2019

7 – 9.30pm

Tickets: Free (but booking is essential)


For over a decade Commercial Type have been designing and releasing contemporary typefaces; from modern classics like Graphik, Druk, Publico and Guardian through to more experimental faces like Orientation and Styrene. Some of them like Lyon and Portrait have been informed and inspired by the past, but not dominated by it.

At the same time they have been searching through the vast archive that is St Bride Library, looking for hidden gems; designs long forgotten and no longer available. Studying not only old specimens, but also punches, matrices and metal type they have created a set of new faces. Rather than making modern interpretations where the designer leaves an obvious mark, they are careful reconstructions, made not for yesterday, but for today’s users.

They take the old forms, and expand them in new directions, whilst retaining the charm and beauty of the originals. These first releases draw from the beginning of the Nineteenth Century and Britain and the revolution in letterform design and include the elegant Brunel, the workhorse sans Caslon Doric, as well as a series of shaded forms, Caslon Rounded, and early sans faces from the Figgins and Thorowgood foundries.

Commercial Type partners, Paul Barnes, Christian Schwartz, designers Greg Gazdowicz and Tim Ripper will be talking about how this all came about; how they choose what to make and the processes of updating these designs. Simon Esterson and John Walters of Eye Magazine, and David Pearson, will join to discuss this new body of work.

Book online HERE

Image credits:

Punches of Four Line Pica Caslon Rounded, 1836

Caslon Rounded as shown in the Specimen of Printing Types by Henry Caslon, 1842

Caslon Rounded, recreated by Paul Barnes and Tim Ripper, 2019

Caslon Rounded, made in wood letter by the Counter Press & Commercial Classics

Caslon Rounded in use; cover designs by David Pearson