TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Fri Dec 14 20:49:16 EST 2018







In 1948-1949, the Czech typographer Oldrich Menhart designed the typeface Manuskript. Since then, there have been a number of digitizations of the original typeface at Grafotechna, a Czech foundry.

  • Franko Luin, who runs Omnibus in Sweden, digitized it in 1988-1990 and released it in 1991. As he puts it: "Manuskript is based on the Czech designer Oldrich Menhart's drawings of old style characters and his typeface Manuscript from 1944. It is not used very often; but in 1992 I happened to see an actual book published in Czechoslovakia (in its last year of existence) using Manuscript on its title page. Otherwise the only place where you can encounter Manuskript is reference books. I think the typeface deserves a much better fate." This five-weight family was originally put up for sale by Linotype. Apostrophe provides the background: "Because Grafotechna refuses to license the rights to it to anyone. Luin digitized it during the cold war, before the doors open betwene East and West Europe, at a time no Western person would have feared legal ramifications when copying Eastern European drawings, whether they be letters or something else. In fact, in the early- to mid-eighties such practice was welcome among the Westerners, since the west was missing out on much art. If it weren't for the few "deviant" collectors and interest groups at the time, most Eastern European art would have been lost with no trace, as some argue indeed happened anyhow. At any rate, Luin did his Manuskript without permission from Grafotechna in the mid-1980s. About a year ago" [note: 2001] "(and almost 10 years after Luin's version came out) one guy at Grafotechna found out about it, and attempted to raise some fuss. Linotype caved in and stopped selling the Luin version. So now the only place to buy the digital version is from Luin himself."
  • Alex W. White from New York made Manuscript, which subsequently won an award at the TDC 2001 competition.
  • George Thompson (No Bodoni Typography) made another clone, ITC Oldrichium, which is still sold by ITC today. According to Apostrophe, "it is yet another unauthorized duper of a Menhart/Grafotechna set".

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Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html