Font Designer – Christian Mengelt

Christian Mengelt

Interview with Christian Mengelt

How did you discover your love of font design?
That goes back about 60 years. I learned sign painting as a trade in 1954.

How many fonts have you designed up to this point?
A considerable number of different variations, including about eight typefaces.

Is font design your main work or do you do other things as well?
Font design is a focus of my work in graphic design as well as teaching.

What led you to design Mengelt Basel Antiqua?
A book project: the English re-edition of the great anatomy work “De humani corporis fabrica” by Andreas Vesalius from the 16th century.

What influenced you in the design of your font? (Templates, models …)
The study of the original prints of this anatomy volume published in 1543 by the workshop of Johannes Oporinus in Basel.

What techniques did you use to design Mengelt Basel Antiqua?
Hand sketches and scans of the original prints. I converted these with the FontLab Studio CAD software.

What was a major challenge for you while working on your script?
Finding a synthesis between the stylistic preservation of the original character of the historical font and the technical requirements of a modern text font.

A Renaissance Antiqua with a stylistic connection to the historical original‚ but with the technical and typographic characteristics of a modern text font …

Describe the impression and the character of Mengelt Basel Antiqua.
A Renaissance Antiqua with a stylistic connection to the historical original, but with the technical and typographic characteristics of a modern text font and exceptional legibility.

Are there any particular features of the font that should be highlighted?
The design harmony of the three alphabets, Latin, Greek and Cyrillic. With the corresponding accents and special characters, the print font is equipped for use in up to 89 languages.

Mengelt Basel Antiqua is best suited as a book font for comprehensive texts‚ in particular for multilingual literary and scientific works …

For what applications is the font best suited, in your opinion?
Mengelt Basel Antiqua is best suited as a book font for comprehensive texts, in particular for multilingual literary and scientific works, and also for elegant printing jobs and titles.

Exceptional legibility as a print font but also on a computer screen …
What particular or exceptional characteristics does this font have?
It is an Antiqua with a historical connection but equipped for modern printing techniques. Exceptional legibility as a print font but also on a computer screen.

Are there any other information and hints you would like to add?
The use of the script for the book project, an English edition of the great anatomy work by Andreas Vesalius “On the Fabric of the Human Body”, from the Karger publishing house, Basel.
The Know How section offers detailed background knowledge to deal with all enquiries about the use of fonts.

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