František Štorm’s Baskerville Original Pro and John Sans, its engendered grotesque, are the subject of this second look through our offerings from the recently included Storm Type Foundry. When a type designer sets out to reproduce the work of another, care must be taken to stay true to the spirit of the original. It’s in this regard most especially where the Štorm revival succeeds. John Baskerville was an English manufacturer, printer, and type designer. His types, several faces of related appearance, designed by Baskerville and cut by John Handy, his punchcutter, have seen plenty of revivals.
The Roman represents a first of its kind. The type broke away from the popular English Baroque letter cut by William Caslon, of whom Baskerville was a contemporary. The further rationalized axis and increased stroke contrast, bound by Baskerville’s generous margins and printed on his signature calendared paper served well to brighten the page. It was this effect, taken to a greater degree of severity by the romantics, Bodoni and Didot, that leaves Baskerville’s neoclassical work in a category called by some transitional. Its italic sets densely and demonstrates Baskerville’s understanding of calligraphic form.
František Štorm’s work in reviving the Baskerville letter is artistically very good, and as a type family is without peer, considering its extensive means to communicate across languages. The family is drawn in two optical sizes; 120 for display and 10 for text, has glyph support for latin, cyrillic, and greek scripts, and includes a set of ornaments. Štorm describes his completed work as “an absolutely ordinary and inconspicuous type face—a worker in the service of literature.”
John Sans has none of the history, but bears the name of its inspiration. In his work on Baskerville Original Pro, Štorm took note of the patterns and “certain constructional elements” that made the face what it is. These were put to work in a grotesque. The result is quite pleasant.
John Sans comes in two widths, regular and condensed, eight weights per width.