Design of the typeface Typist

The typeface Typist originated during an extensive research on the origin and development of typewriter typestyles. The first commercially manufactured typewriter came on the market in 1878 by Remington. The typestyles on these machines were only possible in capitals, the combination of capitals and lowercase came available around the end of the nineteenth century. Apart from a few exceptions, most typestyles had a fixed letter width and a more or less unambiguous design that resembled a thread-like structure. A lot of this mechanical structure was due to the method the typestyles were produced.

Looking at type-specimens for print before the first typewriters were good enough to came on the market we can see that in 1853 (Figure 1) and in 1882 (Figure 2) Bruce’s Type Foundry already had printing type that had a structure of the typewriter typestyles. Of course printing types were proportional designed as typewriter typestyles had a fixed width (Figure 3). So it is possible that except from the method of production for typewriter typestyles, the design of printing types were copied.

In the design of the Typist, the purpose was – next to the monospace feature – to include some of the features of the early typewriter typestyles. Features such as the ball terminals and the remarkable design of the letter Q.
This new typeface laks the mechanical and cold look of the early typewriter typestyles. The Typist comes in six weights with matching italics in two versions. One that resembled the early typewriter typestyles (Typist Slab) and a version designed with coding programmers in mind (Typist Code).

Figure 1: Engravers Hair-line No. 644. Bruce’s Type Foundry, 1853. New York: George Bruce’s Son & Co.

Figure 2: Long-Primer Engravers Hair-Line. Bruce’s Type Foundry, 1882. New York: George Bruce’s Son & Co.

Figure 3: Type-test from Model nr. 59 of a Remington Type-Writer from 1879.
Courtesy of Peter V. Tytell from New York.

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