About Mencken Std Font Family
An American Scotch remixed in 27 fonts
Mencken has twenty seven styles, divided into three widths, three optical sizes, romans and italics. Generally, optical size typeface families belong to a same common construction. It falls into the same category of type classification, while presenting different x-heights or contrasts. Mencken is unique because it is designed according to different axis and optical sizes. Firstly, Mencken Text is a low-contrast transitional typeface, designed on an oblique axis, asserting horizontal with featuring open counters. Its capitals follow Didots to better harmonize the rest of the family. On the other side of the spectrum, Mencken Head (and narrow variations) is designed on a vertical axis, high contrast, in a contemporary Didot style.
The Mencken is therefore a typeface answering to different sorts of uses, whose design is different according to its uses: from oblique axis in small size to vertical axis in large sizes. Vertical proportions (x-height, capitals height, etc.) were calibrated to be compatible with many Typofonderie typeface families. Lucie Lacava and I followed the idea launched by Matthew Carter few years ago for some of his typefaces intended for publications.
From Baltimore Sun’s project to Typofonderie’s Mencken
It is a bespoke typeface for American newspaper The Baltimore Sun started at the end of 2004 which marks the beginning of this project. The story started with a simple email exchange with Lucie Lacava then in charge of redesigning the American East Coast newspaper. As usual, she was looking for new typeface options in order to distinguish the redesign that she had started. At the time of its implementation, a survey of the newspaper’s readers has revealed that its previous typeface, drawn in the mid-1990s, was unsatisfactory. The Mencken was well received, some reader responses was particularly enjoyable: “It’s easier to read with the new type even though the type is designed by a French.”
Why it is called Mencken?
The name Mencken is a tribute to H. L. Mencken’s journalistic contributions to The Sun. According to the London Daily Mail, Mencken ventured beyond the typewriter into the world of typography. Because he felt Americans did not recognize irony when they read it, he proposed the creation of a special typeface to be called Ironics, with the text slanting in the opposite direction from italic types, to indicate the author’s humour. Affirming his irreverence, the Mencken typeface does not offer these typographic gadgets.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880 — 1956) was an American journalist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar of American English. Known as the “Sage of Baltimore”, he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the twentieth century. He commented widely on the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians and contemporary movements.
Creative Review Type Annual 2006
Tokyo TDC 2018
Designers: Jean François Porchez
Design Owner: Typofonderie
MyFonts debut: Sep 4, 2020