TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Thu Dec 13 16:46:09 EST 2018






Joseph Blumenthal

New York printer and book designer (1897-1990), who designed Emerson for his own Spiral Press. In 1931, he traveled to Germany to have Louis Hoell cut the punches, which were then cast by the Bauer foundry for hand composition. First known as Spiral and exclusive to the Press, the typeface was renamed Emerson when Monotype released it commercially, with a companion italic, for machine composition in 1935. Reynold Stone wrote that it avoided the rigidity of a modern face and preserved some of the virtues of the classic Renaissance types. Signature, cited its "open counters, absence of fine lines and sturdy, though not heavy serifs." Monotype deemed it among the twenty classic faces.

Jerry Kelly writes about his contributions in David Pankow's edited book, American Proprietary Typefaces. Mac McGrew: Emerson and Emerson Italic---a completely different style, unrelated to the one above---were designed by Joseph Blumenthal, New York printer and book designer. The original version was hand-cut by Louis Hoell in Germany, and the typeface was cast by the Bauer Foundry in 1930. It was called Spiral for the press at which this distinguished typographer produced many notable books, and was renamed Emerson when the Monotype Corporation of London recut it in 1935. It is a modernized oldstyle letter, adapted for photogravure reproduction, but retaining a reasonably light face, fairly condensed. Wikipedia on Emerson: The typeface's first appearance was in a special, private-press edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay Nature, and so the Monotype version became known as Emerson. Emerson can be recognised for its distinctive foot serifs on the lowercase a, d and u, and its wide capitals (especially the M). The typeface shares characteristics with the classic renaissance types, and its soft, blunt appearance was designed to suit photogravure reproduction.

For a digital revival of Spiral / Emerson, see Spiral (2014) by AR Types / Ari Rafaeli, or Emerson by Nonpareil Type.

Joseph Blumenthal
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file name: Ari Rafaeli Spiral 2014 after Joseph Blumenthal Louis Hoell 1930

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file name: Joseph Blumenthal Spiral Type

file name: Joseph Blumenthal Emerson 1935b

file name: Joseph Blumenthal Emerson 1935

file name: Joseph Blumenthal Pic

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