FB Juliana

Posted inDesign Resources
Thumbnail for Bill Blackbeard's Final Splash Panel

Sem Hartz (1912-95) was overshadowed in his lifetime by Jan van Krimpen, his colleague at printer and type foundry Joh. Enschedé en Zonen in the Netherlands. Unlike Van Krimpen, Hartz was principally an engraver of banknotes and stamps rather than a type designer, and neither of his two faces attained great popularity. Emergo, which Hartz designed while in hiding during World War II, was finished in 1949 but never released. (Its only use was by Hartz in the publications of his Tuinwijkpers press.) Juliana, his second face, was begun in 1950 but not completed by Linotype and Machinery, Ltd. in London until late 1958. Sadly, it was largely ignored in the midst of the phototype upheaval of the ’60s. The shining exception was Hans Schmoller of Penguin Books, who used it for many paperbacks.

Now, nearly four decades later, David Berlow of the Font Bureau has resurrected Juliana. His digital version is as faithful as one can get to the original in a one-size-fits-all world. He has refrained from using digital type’s flexibility as an excuse to “improve” Hartz’s design. Juliana was originally duplexed—that is, its italic and roman were designed to have the same set width, a much-reviled Procrustean approach. Hartz turned the liability into an asset, making the roman narrow and the italic upright as well as wide, achieving economy, legibility, and good letterfit. By keeping Juliana’s duplexing and alternate long descenders, Berlow has preserved its “metalness.” FB Juliana has no redesigned or extra characters, no display version, and no new weights. It consists solely of roman and italic, both with small caps and long descender variants.

Although FB Juliana looks surprisingly good at sizes up to 48 points, it is still not a face for all purposes. But it will be welcomed back by designers wanting a sharp, fresh face for extended text. And many will undoubtedly leap at the chance to match “Half-Point” Schmoller’s Penguin paperbacks.