Oldrich Menhart - Linotype Font Designer Gallery

Font Designer – Oldrich Menhart

Czech designer Oldrich Menhart (1897–1962) devoted his life to making letters. He was a calligrapher, lettering artist, and typeface designer with over twenty faces to his credit. The Monotype typeface, Menhart™, was the second of his designs.

Menhart began work on the design in the early 1930s and turned over his final artwork to the Monotype Drawing Office in 1934. The first size cut was 14 Didot (Didot points are the traditional European system of type measure, and are roughly equivalent to the point system commonly used by today’s digital fonts). The 14D font was followed by 18D and 24D, indicating that the design was considered most suitable for display work. However, a 10D size was later cut from the same master drawings at the request of a Monotype customer.

Menhart’s design was light and open, with an even color and a slight “squareness” to its round shapes. Because the Czech alphabet has 15 accented letters, Menhart included these diacritics as an integral part of his design, not as an afterthought. As a result, accented copy set in Menhart has a cohesive quality rarely seen in other typefaces.

Monotype’s new digital release of Menhart is the first revival since the hot metal fonts were cut. Menhart Display is based on the original Monotype drawings, while a slightly heavier, re-spaced version has been created for text sizes. Both versions offer the full capabilities of the OpenType format, such as the automatic insertion of old style figures, ligatures and small caps. In addition to English, the extended character set supports most Central European and many Eastern European languages.

One of Menhart’s lifelong goals was to share the richness of his Czech culture by drawing typefaces that uniquely served Czechoslovakia literature. In his words: “I believe that a Czech style of type comes above all from the spirit in which it was designed, which gives it its ‘signature,’ and not so much from decorative composition, and even less from the geographic location of its creation.” The typeface Menhart is a tribute to his values. Now, Menhart Pro and Menhart Display Pro capture the unique personality of this timeless design while greatly extending its range of use.
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