Parkinson Electra® font family
Designed by Jim Parkinson in 2010
William A. Dwiggins
Parkinson Electra: impressive serif with individual personalityElectra® was originally designed in the early 1930s by William Addison Dwiggins using the serif fonts of the 15th and 16th centuries as models. This unique serif font has been systematically remodelled by Jim Parkinson to make it more suitable for the demands of modern day printing.
And more than 75 years later, while Parkinson utilised original drafts and early Electra sample fonts for his modification, his objective was not to create a simple clone of the typeface. Particularly helpful was the insight he had gained during the early 1990s, when he remodelled Electra for use by a newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle.
Of the features he has retained, that which is most reminiscent of a newspaper font is the markedly reduced set width of Parkinson Electra® when compared with that of the original Electra. Parkinson Electra is also very slightly more robust than its precursor while its curves have been somewhat softened. This has resulted in a reduced contrast stroke width which, together with the faint hint of a groove in the remodelled serifs, further offsets the rigour of the classic Antiqua form and enhances the dynamic character of the new font. But Parkinson has only occasionally modified the actual forms of the letters, being very restrained when doing so. For example, the drop of the “a” and the “c” is plainly rounder, while the arch of lowercase “f” is slightly shorter.
All font weights have real Italic versions in which the letters are a little narrower but much more energetic, with gradually decreasing lines. Letters such as the lowercase “a”, “e” and “k” have a different form in their Italic versions, while the “f” gets a descender. One eye-catching aspect is the unusual design of the “&” symbol.
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