I’ve been using the original Whitman family with great pleasure since the middle of 2004, even employing it in a few identities, but it was always a tricky decision. Whitman is a thoroughly contemporary serif family that boldly cuts a modern line while planting its feet firmly in history, giving it a double-strength appeal that is rare in type this functional. But its limited book typography set (regular, italic, bold, small caps) made it a problematic choice for more robust, varied typesetting situations. But, happily, this was not to be a permanent roadblock.
A little while ago Kent mentioned on Typophile that the bold italic weight was kicking around Font Bureau, so I made an inquiry and was able to get my hands on a retail copy. Let me be the first to tell you that it is a perfect fit. But were you expecting anything else? At last, I can set section heads containing book titles, and pull one more typographic tool out of my kit when I’ve chosen Whitman.
The bold italic sits well amidst its family, standing with the strength of Whitman’s contemporary angled curves, while maintaining the rhythm of the italic weight. Whitman is designed to be a working text face, so its individual characters are not always each a work of beauty on their own. But their firm adherence to utility informed by art means there are no drama queens. And, frankly, the distinct look of Whitman has created some real gems of distinct letterform design. Logo designers take note: Whitman’s bold italic is filled with unique opportunities
But that’s not the best part.
Kent has been busy. Since I spoke with him at the 2006 TypeCon in Boston, where I got a chance to check out the display weights he was working on, he’s also completed a semibold and semibold italic. That puts Whitman at seven text weights and twenty one display weights. Font Bureau will be making all of these available soon (in OpenType, no less!). Now that Kent has gotten the opportunity to fill out this family, I suspect you’ll being seeing a lot more of Whitman in identities, books, magazines, newspapers, and elsewhere. And we will all be better off for it.
Visit Kent’s site for more info on Whitman.