Jan Tschichold and Sabon

Jan Tschichold (1902-1974) was born in Leipzig, Germany. He was a typographer, book designer, teacher, and writer. He had an artisan background from his parents and calligraphic training. This set him apart from other typographers, because most of them were trained in architecture and the fine arts.

Tschichold was first a modernist and later a classicist. He became a leading modernist designer with his 1925 magazine supplement, 1927 personal exhibition, and his most noted work Die neue Typographie. In this book he condemned all fonts except sans-serif. His classicist beliefs started around 1932. Later he even called Die neue Typographie too extreme.

Some of the typefaces Tschichold has designed are Transit (1931), Saskia (1931/1932), Zeus (1931), and Sabon (1966/1967).

Sabon is an old style serif typeface, and it is frequently described as a Garamond revival. It was released jointly by the Linotype, Monotype, and Stempel type foundries. It was designed so it would give the same reproduction on both Monotype and Linotype systems. One of its earliest use was by Bradbury Thompson for the Washburn College Bible (1973). Sabon was also used in the Book of Common Prayer (1979) by the Episcopal Church (US), and the church’s secondary liturgical texts.

Later versions of Sabon (released by Linotype), include Sabon Next, Sabon Next Display, Sabon Next Ornaments, and Sabon Infant. Sabon Next Display was designed for a 20point or above size of Sabon Next. Linotype sells both of these typefaces, but shows both available in the same range of sizes (and they look identical), which is confusing to me. If anyone has an explanation for this, please comment to this post. The images shown for Sabon Next, Sabon Next Display, and Sabon Next Ornaments are taken from the Linotype website.

Sabon Infant has single-story versions of the letters A and G and is used in children’s books but is very rare. I was unsuccessful in finding an example of this typeface. If anyone has an example, please post the image and a comment here. It will be much appreciated. The images here simply show what a single-story A and G look like, but they are not written in the Sabon Infant typeface.

My sources for this post include:

The Art Directors Club at  www.adcglobal.org

Wikipedia articles on Jan Tschichold, Sabon, and single story letters

The Linotype website at www.linotype.com


About Elena Nikolaeva

I explore, I design, I make things. Let's cuban motion together.

2 responses to “Jan Tschichold and Sabon”

  1. Amy says :

    I’ve been trying to search for information for my Typography project and I cam upon this, it is amazing and so useful

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