Bery Tuscan.

Bery Tuscan Design Information

TYPE BY Bery Tuscan, designed by Fred Smeijers, assisted by Pierre Pané-Farré, is based on the stencil letters of Jean Gabriel Bery. Bery Tuscan is part of the Stencil Fonts Series and was released in 2012.

Jean Gabriel Bery was a Paris stencil maker whose atelier was located on the Pont Notre-Dame. His work is mainly known from the stencil set he supplied to Benjamin Franklin in 1781, now in the collections of the American Philosophical Society Museum in Philadelphia. Bery’s confident sense of design and the excellent production of his stencils rank him among the best stencil makers of any period.

Bery Tuscan derives from one of two tuscan stencil sets purchased by Franklin. Both sets, made up of capital letters only, illustrate Bery’s intelligent translation of this style of letter into stencils. Models occur in books, prints or other documents, where they were painted and illuminated, engraved, or composed as printing types. The underlying motifs were acanthus leaves and floral bursts arranged into letterforms with accented mid-lines. Stencil versions simplified these motifs into separate but fluidly integrated elements, the acanthus leaves growing outward into strokes ending in rounded, bifurcated serif-tendrils. The letters in this way merged seamlessly into the stencil idiom, though their forms were so complex that they could only be realized, as stencils, through the use of etching.

The technical challenges Bery faced do not, of course, exist for the digital typeface designer. But in adapting Bery’s tuscan to the typographic medium, Smeijers and Pané-Farré faced a few challenges of their own. One was the translation of the original slanted design into a more serviceable upright configuration. Another was the work of extrapolating new letters from just sixteen stencils – all that survive from the set made by Bery. By following the pattern and logic of Bery’s design, Smeijers and Pané-Farré have recreated a complete and credible alphabet, and invented an extraordinary number of new glyphs, too. The result is possibly the largest glyph set ever devised for a tuscan typeface.

Bery Tuscan joins Bery Roman and Bery Script to form a trio of historical revivals that capture many of the finest features of stencil letters in a long French tradition, and ornament the Stencil Fonts Series.

Bery Tuscan fonts are available in OTF CFF, TTF, WOFF, and WOFF2 formats.

The Stencil Fonts Series was launched on April 19 2012 to accompany the exhibition ‘Between Writing & Type: the Stencil Letter’ held at Catapult Gallery, Antwerp. Curated by Eric Kindel and Fred Smeijers, the exhibition showcased the history and development of the stencil letter and displayed a selection of historical and contemporary artifacts and their applications.

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