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The Bauer Typefoundry first released the Beton family of types in 1936. Created by the German type designer Heinrich Jost, the present digital version of the Beton family consists of six slab serif typefaces. First developed during the early 1800s, by the 1930s slab serif faces had become one of many stock styles of type developed by foundries all over the world. Because of their distance from pen-drawn forms and their industrial appearance, they were seen as modern" typefaces (their serifs kept them from being too modern). Faces like Beton were interesting contemporary competitors with more thoroughly modern experiments like Basic Commercial and Futura.
The first slab serif typefaces, like Adrian Frutiger's revival Egyptienne F were outgrowths of didone style text faces (e.g., Walbaum). As newspapers and advertising grew in importance in the western world (especially in "Wild West" America), type founders and printers began to create bigger, bolder typefaces, which would set large headlines apart from text, and each other. Through display tactics, businesses and industry could begin to visually differentiate their products from one another. This craze eventually led to the development of monster sized wood type, among other things.
By the 20th Century, the typographic establishment had begun to tame, categorize, and codify 19th Century type styles. It was in the wake of this environment that Jost developed Beton. Jost, one of Bauer's in-house designers, was also the creator of the prolific Bauer Bodoni, which is widely regarded as one of the best Bodoni revivals ever cast.
The Beton family is a type "family" in a pre-1950s sense of the word. Although six styles of type are available, only four of them fit in logical progression with each other (Beton Light, Beton Demi Bold, Beton Bold, and Beton Extra Bold). The other two members of the family, Beton Bold Condensed and Beton Bold Compressed, are more like distant cousins. They function better as single headlines to text set in Beton Light or Beton Demi Bold, or as companions to totally separate typefaces.
Beton Light and Beton Demi Bold are well suited for setting book text, and other running text applications that require sizes under 12 point. Beton Bold and Beton Bold Condensed may be used for shorter lengths of texts at 12 point or above, as well as for headlines. Beton Extra Bold> and Beton Bold Compressed are best left to headlines and display purposes alone, although they could make a mean logo in the right hands.
Beton is very similar to another 1930s German slab serif family, Memphis."
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