Sonnet_imgThe SONNET fonts were inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnets as published by Thomas Thorpe, 1609, just 400 years ago. Working from a facsimile edition, I selected the clearest examples of each character while preserving the overall texture of the original printing. A good alternative to the overused Caslon Antique.

The graceful italics appear only occasionally in the Sonnets, usually to embellish a proper name. To complete the Italic and Swash Caps fonts, I studied a facsimile of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, published by Edward Blount and William & Isaac Jaggard, 1623. Complete set includes 5 fonts: Regular, with lining figures; OsF, with authentic old-style figures; Small Caps, Italic and Swash Caps.

Each font includes caps, lowercase, numbers, punctuation, international characters, old-fashioned long s and ligatures.

English spelling and typography have changed considerably. For modern usage, I created characters that were not used at the time of the original (j, J, U, italic numbers) or did not appear within the text. I did not create swash forms for those that did not appear: F, H, I, L, O, S, U, W, X, Y, Z

For the sake of completeness, I included for optional use the long s [ ſ ] and numerous ligatures that appeared in the original text. I would use these only to force an historic look.

To simulate Elizabethan typography:

  • Use i and I instead of j and J
  • Use V instead of U
  • For both u and v, use the v form at the beginning of words, the u form within words or at the end
  • Use the usual s form only as the end of words. Use long s ( [ ſ ] in all other positions
  • Use all available ligatures, especially for ct and f- and ſ- ligatures.
  • Use only old-style figures and not the italic figures.
  • Don’t bold. For emphasis, used italics or small caps L E T T E R S P A C E D .

The Roman alphabet was in transition when the Sonnets and First Folio were set in type. The mitosis of U and V had not been completed. I and J were still one letter, the familiar hooked J being only suggested by the form of the swash cap I. And W’s were in short supply so 2 V’s were sometimes cobbled together.