Old Style, also known as Gerald type, first appeared in the 15th century just before the Modern typeface. It carries some of the features of Old English, also known as Blackletter which was used in the Gutenberg Bible as one of the first printed books in Europe. The Old Style fonts were developed by some Renaissance typographers and were based on the hand lettering of scribes. The very first italic letters were actually produced with this font. The Old Style typefaces can be characterized by the moderate contrast between the thick and thin strokes and serifs on this typeface are always angled and usually tapered.
Old Style typefaces are considered to be the best fonts for body texts which is why they are most commonly used in books and magazines. The simple design of these fonts makes it easy for the majority of people to read which is also why Old Style is widely used on the web as well. However, although it was once considered to be very practical in books, Old style slowly became less popular over recent years. With evolving trends, it soon became out of fashion as it was no longer ‘trendy’.
Nowadays, with technological improvements, Old style can be considered too heavy especially if it is used on a digital platform. Transitional style comparatively is a more toned-down version. Transitional typefaces were originally developed by John Baskerville. After successfully designing what he considered to be the perfect letterform, he then went on and advanced the state of printing technology in order to print his typeface. Nowadays, the Baskerville font is very popular and has strongly influenced type design.
- Lawson, Alexander S. Anatomy of a Typeface. David R. Godine Publisher, 1990.