This vintage, iconic typeface of original Czech letter-founding has been faithfully revised, extended and newly rendered in 2012. More…
The majority of Vojtěch Preissig’s type faces have been, from their very creation, subject to controversial evaluations which might perhaps fill more pages than have been set in these type faces so far. The considerable technological backwardness of Czech typography between the world wars intensified the author’s creative effort even more. He had been devoting thought to his Antikva type face from 1912 onwards and dozens of hardly perceptible nuances of the same design have been preserved in his drawings. It was his only book type face, but it shows no signs of any hard struggle in creating it. Its extraordinary vividness and elegance are really surprising. It may be still indebted to the forms of Art Nouveau, which was withering away at that time, but its proportions, colour and expression inspire other Czech type designers. Preissig’s Antikva, Menhart’s Figural (and also Růžička’s Fairfield) and Týfa’s Antikva represent a clear line of development, very far away from the soft aesthetics of Tusar, Dyrynk or Brunner. The co-author of the modification for computer composition is Otakar Karlas. Without his experience the work would remain only a shadow of Preissig’s design. Our aim was to produce a large family of type faces for the setting of both books and jobbing works. The digital transcription of Preissig’s Antikva came into existence from summer till winter 1998. The direct model for this type face is the most successful, two-cicero (24 pt.) design dating from 1925. The designs of other sizes (12 pt., 14 pt., 16 pt. and then 36 pt. and 49 pt.) lack vividness and are the source of the widespread mistaken belief that Preissig’s Antikva consists of straight lines. That is, unfortunately, how even Muzika and Menhart describe it. Neither is it a Cubist type face as many of the semi-educated think today.
Special attention had to be paid to italics. It is apparent that their design is not as perfect as that of Preissig’s Antikva. In contradistinction to the original we have deleted almost all lower serifs in the lower-case letters, enlarged the angle of inclination and completely redesigned the letters a, e, g, s, k, x, ... All crotches have been lightened by marked incisions. In other words, none of the italic letters corresponds to Preissig’s model. The signs which were missing have been supplemented with regard to the overall character of the alphabet. Preissig did not deal with bold designs, but the crystal-clear logic of his “chopping-off” of the round strokes enabled us to complete the type face family without any greater doubts.
An excessively fragile type face, however, cannot be used for setting in smaller sizes; that is why we have prepared a separate family of text designs which has shortened ascenders, normal accents, slightly thickened strokes, and is, in general, optically more quiet and robust. We recommend it for sizes under 12 points. By contrast, the elegance of the basic design will be appreciated most in the sizes used for headlines and posters. Preissig’s Antikva is suitable not only for art books and festive prints, but also for poetry and shorter texts.