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Fonts: The Problem With Fournier

Noted in my Journal.
The page offers images of pages 79 and 80 of the book A Tally of Types, by Stanley Morison (Boston: David R.Godine, 1999) showing two version of the Fournier typeface drawn under Morison’s direction for the Monotype Corporation in Britain in 1924: Fournier types 178 and 185. Also shown for comparison are a scan reproduction of a photo-litho offprint of some Monotype metal-set Fournier (Oliver Bernard’s translations of Rimbaud’s Collected Poems, Penguin, 1965), the same text typeset in digital Fournier, and the same text set in Corundum, a recent typeface by the Joshua Darden studio in Brooklyn USA.

Please scroll down to see all seven images.

For various reasons the ‘wrong’ specimen was chosen for development as ‘Fournier’, and the better font was eventually cut in only one size, named ‘Barbou’, and used by Cambridge University Press for one book and the magazine The Fleuron.

Thanks to the Darden Studio for rescuing this distinguished font for the digital realm.

On my Journal, at http://johntranter.net/2012/02/2723/, you can see a contemporary font that captures all the magic of Barbou, and that works almost perfectly with OpenType. The page shows some text from page 218 from Oliver Bernard’s excellent translation of Rimbaud’s «Collected Poems» (Penguin, 1965), typeset in New Fournier BP, a face designed by François Rappo in Lausanne, Switzerland. The face is elegant, and available in every variant you could wish for.

Alas, the brilliant font cut by François Rappo in Lausanne Switzerland and named New Fournier BP has severe issues with the Apple Mac operating system: the Mountain Lion version of the operating system reports that it fails the test for kerning tables, and declines to install it. Soon after I discovered this unfortunate fact, the font was deleted from the B+P Swiss Typefaces internet site. I hope and pray that it will be revived: its brilliance and thoroughness is heartwarming, and its general coherence with the OpenType system is excellent. Let’s hope.

A Tally of Types, 1999, page 79

A Tally of Types, 1999, page 79

 
A Tally of Types, 1999, page 80

A Tally of Types, 1999, page 80

 
Fournier 185, enlarged

Fournier 185, enlarged

 

Here are three samples of various ways of typesetting a nineteenth-century French poet, Arthur Rimbaud. The first image of a scan of page 218 from Oliver Bernard’s excellent translation of Rimbaud’s Collected Poems (Penguin, 1965). It was originally set by Clays Ltd, Bungay, St Ives, UK, in Monotype Fournier metal. The proofs were photographed and printed photo-litho; this is a scan of that text.

 
Rimbaud sample from text

Rimbaud sample, Monotype Fournier, 1965

 

The second, below, is a modern setting of the same text in digital Fournier. Note how anaemic the font appears.

Rimbaud text reset in digital Fournier

Rimbaud text reset in digital Fournier

 

The third, below, is the same text set in Corundum, a font cut by Joshua Darden in Brooklyn USA. The font has issues with InDesign, as it is not a fully OpenType font, but it works.

Rimbaud text reset in digital Corundum

Rimbaud text reset in digital Corundum

 

The last image, below, is the three texts set in (l to r) Monotype Fournier metal, digital Fournier and digital Corundum.

Rimbaud text set in (l to r) Monotype Fournier metal, digital Fournier and digital Corundum.

Rimbaud text set in (l to r) Monotype Fournier metal, digital Fournier and digital Corundum.

 

E N D        The Internet address of this page is http://johntranter.com/prose/fournier.shtml