This past weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a gorgeous typeface I’d (very prematurely) considered a touch too mannered for the staid realm of book typography, is actually a pleasure to read. That face is Hoefler & Frere-Jones‘s gorgeous and classically striking Requiem.
The context for this discovery is a thus-far fascinating and well-written novel by David Mitchell, titled Cloud Atlas. After about 20 pages or so, I noticed that, besides liking the typesetting, the typeface had a lovely capital ’Q’, with a graceful tail. I flipped to the back (not expecting much, but trying anyway) and I found an excellent colophon:
This book was set in Requiem, a typeface designed by the Hoefler Type Foundry. It is a modern typeface inspired by inscriptional capitals in Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi’s 1523 writing manual, Il modo de temperare le penne. An original lowercase, a set of figures, and an italic in the “chancery” style that Arrighi helped popularize were created to make this adaptation of a classical design into a complete font family.
So, long story short, I know lust after Requiem even more than I already did. There are too many great things about this family (Hoefler & Frere-Jones is one of the best foundries around) to get into with any fullness, so do yourself a favor and check it out. Trust me.