TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Fri May 24 12:13:07 EDT 2024







Westminster is the ultimate cybernetic font from the early seventies. It was created by Leo Maggs (1973, Berthold) as a photo type. Eraman Inc made a Westminster typeface in 1993. Zach Wahlen wrote in his 2008 thesis: The origins of Westminster are somewhat unclear, but it emerged at least as early as 1971. It is also the most pervasive and common of the MICR fonts because it has been distributed freely with Windows operating systems since Windows 98. [..] Simon Daniels of Microsoft believes it is possible that Robert Norton (head of Microsoft Typography during the mid-1990s) originally designed Westminster himself, and the little available evidence does support this possibility. The font description mentions Photoscript, a phototypesetting company Norton founded in 1970; the unnamed designer is identified as British, as was Norton; and the choice to focus the font's description on the story of a willful designer who is ultimately vindicated seems consistent with Norton's sense of humor and habit of self-deprecation.

I think Simon Daniels and Zach Whalen are both wrong, as this interview of Leo Maggs demonstrates: There is one space age one called One Up, a ghastly 60s thing, and the guy who designed that, Leo Maggs, talks about how he wished he hadn't designed it. "Way back in the swinging 60s," he says, "when my youthful soul was consumed with enthusiasm, if not naked ambition, I was surprised and delighted to have my first typeface, Westminster, accepted by Robert Norton. I produced several further designs, most of which were properly strangled at birth. One Up unfortunately survived... Looking at it now I feel much as I imagine a mature film star must feel when, 30 years after the event, she comes across photographs of herself as a struggling starlet revealing all for the readers of popular girly magazines, and I wish I hadn't done it." Quite incredible, since I had the Leo Maggs info on my site long before Whalen's thesis---sigh, why am I even bothering?

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file name: Leo Maggs Westminster 1973

file name: Leo Maggs Westminster

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