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Old 05-10-2006, 01:36 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Berling reborn in OT format

This month’s LinoLetter features a new cut of Berling, dubbed Berling Nova — Sweden’s most famous and enduring typeface, designed in the 1950s by Karl-Erik Forsberg.

I have always liked Berling, and used it eons ago for a small job, a series of pamphlets. With this version Linotype says it has revised the font slightly, making it look more like the original metal version, and has added a display roman and italic. It is an OpenType family with six fonts, $35 U.S. each.

Berling is a decent book face, could work in magazines and in ads. It is very readable and has a fresh look, partly because it is so rarely used, partly because of its open design.

I have no idea what the entire family costs because the Linotype web site is so badly designed that I cannot find it. But there is probably some discount for the entire family.

   
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Last edited by ktinkel; 05-11-2006 at 01:14 PM. Reason: add Nova to font name
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Old 05-10-2006, 01:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
I have always liked Berling, and used it eons ago for a small job, a series of pamphlets. With this version Linotype says it has revised the font slightly, making it look more like the original metal version, and has added a display roman and italic. It is an OpenType family with six fonts, $35 U.S. each.

(...)

I have no idea what the entire family costs because the Linotype web site is so badly designed that I cannot find it. But there is probably some discount for the entire family.
Six? I find only four, and no package deal: http://www.linotype.com/133/berling-family.html

Looking at the samples I don't particularly like it though.

   
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Old 05-10-2006, 02:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by iamback
Six? I find only four, and no package deal: http://www.linotype.com/133/berling-family.html
That would be the older family. Berling Nova has six members, and is slightly different.

   
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Old 05-10-2006, 03:40 PM   #4
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KT:

Berling Nova has six members, and is slightly different

Apart from being updated, the Berling Nova has not only the regular and bold (and the equivalent italics), but also a very refined display weight, in roman & italic. I wonder from what size the display is recommended: can you give us an idea of it?

   
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Old 05-10-2006, 05:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
Apart from being updated, the Berling Nova has not only the regular and bold (and the equivalent italics), but also a very refined display weight, in roman & italic. I wonder from what size the display is recommended: can you give us an idea of it?
Since I have not used the fonts, I cannot say for sure. But any size much above the teens — 14 point, 18 point, somewhere in there — is where I would look for a difference.

   
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:52 AM   #6
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KT:

But any size much above the teens — 14 point, 18 point, somewhere in there

Thanks for that: in other words, the usual range. From the few typefaces I've got that provide a separate display size, I would have judged the much more delicate display Berling Nova to have been designed with larger sizes in mind (perhaps 30 pt and upwards), but my eye doesn't judge very well!

   
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
Thanks for that: in other words, the usual range. From the few typefaces I've got that provide a separate display size, I would have judged the much more delicate display Berling Nova to have been designed with larger sizes in mind (perhaps 30 pt and upwards), but my eye doesn't judge very well!
I do not know what size “model” Linotype used for the Display size. (I assume they based the text on 12 point, which seems to be an industry standard — even though very little type is set in that size!)

For the Display they have to assume that some people will set it in gigantic sizes (seems to be all the rage in magazines lately — 250 point (or even larger) letters as drop caps or for the opening of an article). But no one can draw letters that are beautiful over such a huge range, and most users will stick to more moderate sizes, so that is probably where they work.

They would need a poster size to accommodate those huge sizes. (But I think it would be more useful to supply a tiny size for footnote references and other uses, but I guess that would be very deluxe.)

It is always interesting to set type in a font in various sizes, trying to find its “sweet spot.”

   
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Old 05-11-2006, 10:25 AM   #8
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KT:

Minion Pro Opticals has the sizes as follows:

Caption: 6–8.4 point
Regular: 8.5–13.0 point
Subhead: 13.–19.9 point
Display: 20+ point

Stone's Cycles has six sizes from 7 pt upwards. The difference between the weights is striking, but does not seem as extreme as in Berling Nova, but perhaps that's usual when there is only one 'display' weight and one 'text' weight.

   
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Old 05-11-2006, 10:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
That would be the older family. Berling Nova has six members, and is slightly different.
Well, I searched for Berling - you didn't mention "Berling Nova" - maybe it's in that whatever-it-is page you linked to but I didn't go off and read that...

Oops, They're a lot more expensive, too - and still no package deal in sight. And a major change in the numerals, particluarly the 1 - it looks like a smallcaps I now (except in the italics). Yuk. The older Berling was better, and I don't even like that much.

   
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by iamback
And a major change in the numerals, particluarly the 1 - it looks like a smallcaps I now (except in the italics). Yuk. The older Berling was better, and I don't even like that much.
Actually, oldstyle figures (aka non-lining or hanging figures, the ones that work like lowercase characters — the ones you don’t like) are the standard form in oldstyle typefaces like this one (and Garamond, et al). In the 19th century (sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages of typography), some wiseguy (or maybe it was some consensus!) decided that lining or ranging (aka caps-style) figures worked better, and as a rule fonts have shipped with those as standard through most of the intervening century and a half.

OpenType provides for both, and then some. Berling Nova has:
  • lining figures w/proportional widths
  • oldstyle figures w/proportional widths
  • small caps lining figures w/proportional widths
  • lining figures w/fixed widths (what you prefer)
  • oldstyle figures w/fixed widths
(The last two are convenient for tables as they align without effort.)

If you were to buy the regular Berling Nova font, I believe you would get the lining figures you prefer. You would have to exert yourself (and pay extra!) to get oldstyle figures.

This variety of forms, a lot of extra characters to support many different languages, and other extra stuff are what makes the fonts so large, and arguably, so expensive. (Or maybe the price reflects the hope that typographers, who do need some of these extras, will pay to get them.)

Oldstyle figures work much better than lining figures in text. The latter look like strings of caps, which is generally ugly. (Of course, one could argue — and I usually do — that figures have very little place in text. But that is seriously old-fashioned these days, even though it is still right!)

Sorry about omitting the Nova; I will go fix that in the first message so no one else gets stung.

   
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