Matthew Carter at Center Street Studio | Typography
The Center Street Studio has published a print portfolio by the type designer Matthew Carter. The portfolio contains the 26 letters of the alphabet, all lower case, etched in to copper plates with aquatint, printed by master printer James Stroud.
The 26 letters are Carter’s own favourites from typefaces designed by him in a wide variety of styles, both historically-derived and contemporary. Some are from existing types faces, some are from type design still in work.
A 2005 New Yorker profile described Carter as ‘the most widely read man in the world’ by considering the amount of text set in his commonly used fonts. Carter’s most used fonts are the classic web fonts Verdana and Georgia and the Windows interface font Tahoma, as well as other designs including Bell Centennial, Miller and Galliard.
A: From a British ‘Modern’ type. The change in fashion from the ‘Old Style’ types of the great English originators, Caslon and Baskerville, to ‘Modern’ types inspired by the Continental innovators, Didot and Bodoni, began in about 1800 and transformed British typefounding within twenty years. The best of the British Moderns were made at the foundry of Edmund Fry who, although he thought of himself as a fashion victim and deplored the new “rude, pernicious, and most unclassical” style, made excellent types with a certain jauntiness that relieves the austerity of the Didot model. I prefer this bold weight of Modern to the full-blown style known as ‘Fat Face,’ that is associated with William Thorowgood, successor to the Fry foundry.
B: From Buster, an ultra-heavy slabserif typeface in the style known as Egyptian. These massive types date from the 18-teens and were designed to be more eye-catching in big sizes for advertisements than legible in text. Buster was never released commercially but was used to set a poster in honor of Roger Black, an old friend and esteemed publication designer, an aﬁcionado of Egyptian types.
C: In the 1970s I designed a Greek typeface named Cadmus. This was a flop in Greece—it looked too archaic. Not to be discouraged I reused some of the letters in a Latin sanserif. Soon after Cherie Cone and I started our own company in 1991, Apple adopted the sanserif to demonstrate the ability of their new Quickdraw GX technology to store the extreme weights and widths of a type family and generate the intermediate styles on the ﬂy. David Berlow and I produced the poles of weight and width. In the end GX did not get off the ground. I was left with the Regular weight of the sanserif, named Skia by Apple with whom I share the rights. The ‘c’ is from a bolder weight, designed the hard way.