William Morris (1834-1896) was probably the most influential figure in the decorative arts and private press movements of the late 19th and early 20th century. In reaction to the increasing lack of quality that the industrial revolution brought on, Morris sought a return to the ideals of the medieval craftsman. Dissatisfied with the commercially available typefaces of the day, he undertook the design of the fonts for his books himself.
The P22 Morris font set features new versions of Morris’s famous type designs for his Kelmscott Press. The two main fonts include full international character sets for Western European languages.
P22 created MORRIS GOLDEN with a rough edge to simulate the look of printing on handmade paper. There is a more “refined” recent version of Golden, but its sterile digitization does not approach the effect that Morris achieved in his Kelmscott books. You’ll notice the handmade effect less in the smaller sizes but will find it quite decorative in the larger sizes. (Morris cut his Golden type in only one size for the Kelmscott Press, approximately equal to 14 points.)
P22’s version of MORRIS TROY is more smooth than Morris Golden and is true to the original Morris design. It is based on the Kelmscott Troy type (an 18 point font) and its smaller counterpart, the Chaucer type (a 12 point font). American Type Founders made an unauthorized version of Troy, “Satanick,” 189?, contrary to Morris’s wish that it not be made available commercially.(Legend has it that the naming of Satanick comes from William Morris telling the agent inquiring about making copies of his fonts available to go to hell) Several digital versions of Troy (and Satanick) have appeared over the years. The P22 version offers a much more accurate rendering than any previous version. Morris designed the original Troy font to be spaced very tightly; our version reflects and honors his intention.
The MORRIS ORNAMENTS are based on those Morris designed and used in his Kelmscott Press books. Characters in the positions of the letters A to Z are decorative drop cap initials. Characters in the number key positions reproduce other Morris embellishments. (See the accompanying key chart.) As with all headline fonts and complex dingbats characters, this font is best used at larger point sizes (e.g., 48, 72, 120). Use in body text or at small point sizes on-screen may not achieve desired results.
P22 is grateful to William S. Peterson, Steven O. Saxe and the Lightsey-Offutt Library who gave invaluable research assistance to this project.