Liber

Liber is yet another French Oldstyle face, but not—thankfully—one based on the work of Garamond or Granjon. Instead, it is derived from the typeface in a 1574 book by Venetian printer Giordano Ziletti. Liber’s designer is Daniel Lanz of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, an engraver who has taken up type design in recent years. Lanz’s familiarity with the burin (the engraver’s chisel), more than his later calligraphic studies in Basel, is evident in his interpretation of Ziletti’s face, which is sharper, narrower, and slightly darker than either Adobe Garamond or Sabon, and yet livelier than Minion. The face is crisp, but not as much as ITC Galliard. In other words, Liber has its own personality.

But what makes Liber so successful as a text face has hindered its future as a marketable font. Prior to working on Liber, Lanz designed Diverda, a family that combines serifs and sans serifs, in 2003. Such fonts are part of a contemporary trend, and Linotype gladly took Diverda on. But the company was not interested in another French Oldstyle face. Thus, Liber languishes without the italic or semibold that Lanz has planned. He sees Liber as a font for book typography, but he also believes it can be adapted for newspaper and magazine use. The only way we’ll find out is if enough designers clamor for its completion. Let’s liberate Liber! PAUL SHAW

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