About this font family
“More is better” may have been the motto of Richard Austin of Austin and Son’s Imperial Letter-Foundry on Worship Street at Finsbury Square in London when he designed and cut his Antique typeface. The year it was created is uncertain, but it is known to have appeared in a specimen book produced in 1827.
At first glance, the upper case letters of Austin Antique look very much like Figgins Antique. But, upon examination, one will note that the Austin face is much darker. In general, the letters designed and cut by Richard Austin have fatter strokes, larger serifs and smaller counters -- more metal and less daylight. More…
The premise was that the darker the letter, the more attention an ad using the typeface would receive. In old pictures of London and Paris one may see walls crowded with posters and “bills” -- competing for the attention of the passerby. Morris and Updike aside, the early nineteenth century marked the beginning of a commercial as well as industrial revolution. Patterns of commerce were changing. With new methods of marketing came the need for new typefaces to support the new methods. Foundries found the display types were very profitable and competed most energetically and creatively for the trade. There was a lot of trial-and-error. Some ideas faded away. Others, like the Antiques or Egyptians, were refined and developed. From them came the Clarendons that were to prove both popular and long lasting -- because they worked. Their job was to sell goods, not please the aesthetic sensibilities of the critics. They did their job well.
Austin Antique has a full Western European character set, plus the following ligatures: ct, st, fi, fl, ff, ffi and ffl. Tabular numbers. Surprisingly readable.