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Rocky specimen
Typeface Review


Reviewed by William Berkson on April 16, 2009

Rocky knocked me out.

When I first saw it used as a featured face for headlines over at Typophile, I was stunned that there was just nothing wrong with it. Another Typophile user wrote: “It has that perfect, classy but neutral touch, with personality at the same time.” Kent Lew pointed out that this phrase captures “the essence of Matthew Carter’s mastery.” But I confess — heresy — that I find some of Carter’s faces just a trifle stiff in their perfection. Not Rocky. It has a touch of assertiveness and drama that is entirely appropriate to a headline face. And it is beautiful to boot. I know it’s called Rocky, but it’s really the Cary Grant of typefaces: handsome, disarmingly graceful, never rude, yet dramatic, fascinating to the eye.

A detail I particularly admire is the way Carter has handled the slightly blunted “spikes” on the terminals of the c a r s f j. Every one of them is different, and their variety of weight and design results in both beautifully even color in the text and a lively dance of shapes across the page.

William Berkson is a philosopher and type designer. His new revival of Caslon will be out soon, and with luck also his book “Avot: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life”.

William Berkson is a philosopher and type designer. His revival Williams Caslon is available from Font Bureau.


  1. anne says:

    i would like to test the type.

    thank you!


  2. Typographica says:

    Hi Anne. You can get custom previews online at the Font Bureau or FontShop. Contact the Font Bureau to inquire about test fonts.

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles with Caren Litherland and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

Set in Bureau Grot by Font Bureau, Nocturno Display by Nikola Djurek, Fern (unreleased) by David Jonathan Ross, and JAF Bernini Sans by Tim Ahrens.

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