Over the course of fifty years, the charismatic and enterprising Frederic W. Goudy designed more than one hundred typefaces; he was the American master of type design in the first half of the twentieth century. More…
Goudy Old Style, designed for American Type Founders in 1915–1916, is the best known of his designs, and forms the basis for a large family of variants. Goudy said he was initially inspired by the cap lettering on a Renaissance painting, but most of the flavor of this design reflects Goudy’s own individualistic style. Recognizable Goudy-isms include the upward pointing ear of the g, the diamond-shaped dots over the i and j, and the roundish upward swelling of the horizontal strokes at the base of the E and L. The italic was completed by Goudy in 1918, and is notable for its minimal slope.
Goudy Catalogue was drawn not by Goudy, but by Morris Fuller Benton (ATF’s skillful in-house designer) in 1919–1921 and was meant to be a medium weight of Goudy Old Style.
The Goudy faces continue to pop up all over the world, and still look reassuring to our modern eyes.