Typeface Review

Baskerville 10

Reviewed by Adam Twardoch on April 20, 2009

When it comes to the number of type designers per capita, the Netherlands can be challenged by only a few countries — but the Czech Republic is a close runner-up. One of the country’s most prolific digital typefounders is František Štorm.

Throughout all his work, František has been constantly applying a vibrant, individual style to the letterforms he draws. In some cases, his idiosyncrasies are taken to the extreme (Biblon, Serapion), making his faces expressive and inimitable. But every now and then, Štorm steps on a more refined, humble path. One such project is his Baskerville revival, done in collaboration with another Czech designer, Otakar Karlas.

What started almost ten years ago as an “analytical transcription” (as Štorm calls it) of Baskerville’s 14-point roman and italic from the early 1760s, has now become a solid yet versatile text family in three optical sizes. The newest addition to the family is Baskerville 10 [part of the subsequently released Baskerville Original family — Ed, 2014], a set of four OpenType fonts with pan-European Latin, Cyrillic and Greek alphabets. Štorm admires Baskerville’s letter for its “sober elegance and clear design” and attests to its “character of a gentleman.” While this respect for the English master is clearly visible in this adaptation, Štorm by no means slavishly followed the historical specimens. He much rather created a beautiful, lively and very practical text family for all sorts of text work. How much Baskerville is in Štorm’s Baskerville 10? A lot. How much Štorm is in it? Just enough. “When in doubt, use Baskerville. Stormtype Baskerville, of course,” says František. Good advice.

Based in Berlin, Adam Twardoch works as product and marketing manager at FontLab as well as multilingual typography and font technology consultant for MyFonts and other clients. He teaches at universities in the UK, USA, Germany, Poland, and Russia. In 2007, Adam edited the Polish edition of Robert Bringhurst’s “The Elements of Typographic Style”.

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