Font Designer – Nicolaus Jenson

Nicolaus Jenson – born 1420 in Sommevoire, France, died 1480 in Venice, Italy – type founder, punch cutter, printer, publisher.

It is thought Jenson was punch cutter (master of the mint) for the royal mint in Tours or Paris. 1458: Carl VII sends Jenson to Mainz to learn the technique of movable metal type and bring it back to Paris. Spends time in Frankfurt am Main. From 1468 onwards: Jenson is in Venice, where he opens and runs his printing workshop which produces c. 150 books. Produces his first roman type "Cicero, Epistolae ad Brutum", which is described as perfect and unequaled. 1471: produces his Greek typeface which is used for quotations. 1473: produces his black letter typeface which he uses in books on medicine and history. 1475: founds his first book trading company, Nicolaus Jenson sociique, whose partners include the Frankfurt businessmen Peter Ugelheimer and Johann Rauchfass. 1480: the second book trading company is launched under the name Johannes de Colonia, Nicolaus Jenson et socii.
Even long after his death, Jenson’s typefaces have formed the basis for many new alphabets. William Morris based his Gold Type on Jenson’ type in 1890, Cobden-Sanderson modeled his typeface for Doves Press on Jenson’s alphabets in 1900 and Bruce Rogers emulated them with his Centaur font. 1926: Jenson’s roman is recut by Morris Fuller Benton as Cloister Old Style.

* TYPOGRAPHY – An Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Throughout History by Friedrich Friedl, Nicolaus Ott (Editor), Bernard Stein, published by Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH.

more ... Works and Samples

Fonts from the Linotype Library in the style of Nicolaus Jenson:
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