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.
Morris Fuller Benton (ATF’s skillful in-house designer) designed Goudy Handtooled, the shaded version that has just a hairline of white through Goudy Bold’s strokes.
The Goudy faces, especially the bolder weights, have long been popular for display and advertising design. They continue to pop up all over the world, and still look reassuring to our modern eyes.