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Centaur VAL (Valdonega Aesthetic Line) 14–16pt Size · Hot Metal Page Facsimile [p.150, Candide ou l’optimisme, Officina Bodoni, 1944]

Centaur VAL (Valdonega Aesthetic Line) 14–16pt Size · Hot Metal Page Facsimile [p.150, Candide ou l’optimisme, Officina Bodoni, 1944]

 

 

 

 

 Notes on Roger’s Centaur Typeface

Bruce Rogers did the Centaur font from designs he made by hand of Jenson’s character. He was a very unpretentious man and I believe its partly because of his character as a man that his font became one the most beautiful redesigns of a storic printing typeface. For he didn`t run into the errors that one is easily to commit emphasizing too much the intellectual idea of a character design. As Rogers was known had once said that he didn`t intent to design a new typeface but simply tried to copy in the best way he could an already perfect existing one. 

The Centaur type is far more lovely than Adobe’s Jenson – more precise in its understanding of Jenson’s calligraphically inspired letters. Certainly in the digital versions nowadays existing it is way too thin and edgy.

A good example for what can make suffer a font due to misunderstood detail treatment. Its serifs for example were never meant to end so sharply cut and also the points were the calligraphic pen would turn outlines from one into another are far too abrupt and abstract. This is in part because of the rational digitizing and in part because of the lack of understanding it well.

As you can easily convince yourself linking to internet forums of today it has never lost its fascination and inspiring energy. There are people all over the world that are willing to sacrifize their spare time to redesign its curves, to look behind its secrets and feel themselves part of its intriguing story since the day Nicolas Jenson in deep Renaissance age undertook this adventure of designing by hand the first printing type in history ever. Or neither he didn’t design it, yet struck it directly into steelpunches.

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