01 May 2007

[type_design] But It Doesn't Look All That Ugly...

793 As I said in the last missive, the name of the font Akzidenz Grotesk is fun to say. It's German, of course, meaning we don't pronounce the "z" (or zed, for our Commonwealthy friends) like the Z in "Zoo", but like the "ts" in "cents". In fact, in the German syllabary, "z" isn't said "zee", it's said "tset".

To pronounce the name, you say it "Accidents Grotesque". Which, given the plainness of the font, I find hysterical. It don't look accidental, and it's not grotesque...not in my opinion, anyway.

But I started wondering why they call it "Grotesk"...and all I could find (for now) is this (via Wikipedia):
Grotesque (generally with an upper-case G) is the style of the sans serif types of the 19th century. Capital-only faces of this style were available from 1816. The name "Grotesque" was coined by William Thorowgood, the first to produce a sans-serif type with lower case, in 1832.
Well. That's cleared up then.

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