Martinis at the Campbell. Hats against the weather. Pens pressed and released. Ink, trembling in its meniscus, drying into a sheet. Sharp ideas and sharp retorts. Wire dispatches.
Yep, this is Benton Modern Display, from the Font Bureau and the hands of Dyana Weissman and Richard Lipton. Sleek contours and super-high contrast ought to satisfy art directors looking for a face that’s bright and modern, just retro enough, that speaks secret rumors (with a spicy soupçon of snark) in its italics and sober (even if it’s just for a blogpost) truths in its romans.
A recut and extension-to-the-max of Morris Fuller Benton’s designs for news and magazines, these display cuts seem to demand the best of a press and plates to produce its thinnest thins and sharp serifs. As with so many moderns, BMD owes much to the flexible dip pens (chyah, ask your great-grandmah) so common to its era of invention. Its well-toned musculature moves from thick to thin easily and gracefully with economy and energy. The moderate pace of its transitions from thick to thin are ably controlled to avoid the sparkliness we associate with moderns with the fast and abrupt transitions of, say, Bodoni. A special favorite in this range of nimble fonts is the brilliant R, with its foxy cravat snug to its neck.
With Light, Regular, Semibold, Bold, in normal, condensed, extra condensed, compressed widths, and Black, Ultra in normal widths, Benton Modern Display covers a vast ranges of potential needs.
Make it dry. Very dry. But two olives, please!