Project Messages

  • Simon Pascal Klein

    Brief hiatus

    Posted by Simon Pascal Klein on Mar 26th | 0 comments | 0 attachments


    Just wanted to note I’m going to step into a brief hiatus in regard to this project: I’ve got uni assessment coming out of my ears and a BarCamp to organise. I should be back by mid-April, hopefully kickin’. (:

    My plans are then to start entering some of the to-do glyphs into the issue tracker and start tackling the most important ones myself. If you’d like to make any edits, leave notes here or whatnot please do—my absence shouldn’t affect that.


    Thursday Mar 26

  • Raph Levien

    Greetings from Raph

    Posted by Raph Levien on Mar 1st | 2 comments | 0 attachments

    This looks like a very interesting project, and I wanted to stop by and say hello, even though I'm very short on time right now (I'm trying to finish my thesis). I'm sitting on quite a bit of Baskerville material I've accumulated over the years.

    First, I have some scans that will probably be of interest. The ATF Baskerville first appeared in the 1923 ATF book, not the 1934 as suggested on the main page. That scan is prominently available at

    I also scanned the relevant page of the 1941 book:

    Further, there's a nice sample of the 12pt from the 1923 book:

    Second, I'd like to warmly encourage people to borrow glyphs that I've drawn. In particular, many of the accessories from Century Catalogue are likely to be compatible, or nearly so, with the design goals of this font. There might be some adjustment necessary for the weight and contrast, and possibly to clean up rounded corners to fit the sharp corners of this font so far, but hopefully they can be helpful. My release of Century Catalogue is under OFL, but if the licensing strategy of this font continues to be dual OFL/GPLv3, I'd be happy to relicense; in practice, I think the difference is nearly negligible. The FontForge files are available at:

    In addition, I did a very careful tracing of the lowercase of the 18pt ATF italic. A PDF showing is here, and I'd also be happy to share the full FontForge source files and Spiro plate files if desired:

    Right now, because of lack of time, I'm offering these in "pull" mode, meaning that somebody needs to take my source files and adapt them into the font. I do have git and FontForge, so if the project goes well and I find myself with a little more time, I can imagine cloning my own git repository and so on, but not now. One challenge, of course, is that I strongly prefer to work in Spiro, and FontForge does not currently save those properly in UFO's.

    I also have some more scans and other materials I should be able to dig out.

    Best of luck on this project, and I have great hopes for a good font to emerge. I'd like to support it however I can, given the constraints on my time right now.

    Sunday Mar 01

  • Rob Mientjes

    Weight of uppercase versus lowercase

    Posted by Rob Mientjes on Feb 26th | 4 comments | 0 attachments

    So far, the uppercase set is of an entirely different weight than the lowercase set. I feel that the current uppercase seems like a good start for a bold weight, and that the lowercase is our focal point for the book weight (or regular or whatever). The work that is in it right now is fantastic, but inconsistent when set in small type. It feels off balance, which is a shame. Support my idea? Think I'm completely and horribly wrong? Let me know.


    Thursday Feb 26

  • nitrofurano

    What about using Fontforge as editing tool by default, in this project?

    Posted by nitrofurano on Feb 23rd | 6 comments | 0 attachments

    Since Open-Baskervile is an open font project, and Fontforge is an open-source tool as well, what about using it defaultly on this typeface development?

    I could start recalling NotCourier typeface, from , were done all from Fontforge (except the Nimbus Mono gliphs where from it were based), and maybe Open-Baskerville should follow similar tools and methods.

    And otherwise, Fontforge, as all other open-source tools as well, needs help from users for their development improvement and bug fixes, and Open-Baskervile can be a very interesting resource for being used as case study of how fine is Fontforge for developing Open-Baskerville, and how/where Fontforge must be improved, fixed, being more usable, etc. And this can be a brilliant opportunity.

    Well, this is my idea, which i'd appreciate a lot all comments about! =)

    Monday Feb 23

  • nitrofurano

    where to upload the Fontforge .sfd files?

    Posted by nitrofurano on Feb 17th | 5 comments | 3 attachments

    I started to join the .glif files (only the .zip file provided from - but git didn't work) into a .sfd Fontforge file - where must be it uploaded? was that nice uploading to as text? (since .sfd is a text file)

    And how were or must be the development and research process of this digital typeface, like how and where were those .glif files created?

    anyway i had difficulties to import some .glif files into Fontforge, such as O_acute.glif - they seems to have offset values of accented character references, but i set them by 'eye' - which i don't know how appropriated it is...

    in the file i'm attaching (trying in the first time here at lighthouseapp) - i don't know what must be writen as credits - please help me fixing it...

    Tuesday Feb 17

  • Simon Pascal Klein

    Licensing and Greek Baskerville

    Posted by Simon Pascal Klein on Feb 6th | 2 comments | 0 attachments

    So as noted on the Open Baskerville page, there is a toss up between the GNU GPL v3 and SIL OFL. We could dual-license if it came down to it, but that sounds like extra complexity and doesn’t deal with the problem faced by the OFL whereby it doesn’t require accessible source versions of published fonts to be made available. Dave explained this better:

    A problem with the OFL is that it doesn't require source code for published versions to be available.

    This means that someone can take an OFL font, run it though a proprietary tool and publish their improved version without source code, making it very hard for others to further build on that work. This is by design, because the OFL is written for font publishers who don't want to deal with the 'complexity' 'burden' of supplying source code, or type designers who don't really know about or care for software/culture freedom and how copyleft works. For them, the GPL is too much; too long to bother reading, supply source code is too much of a burden, and so on. That's fine, and the OFL is really great at persuading them to make their fonts free software.

    But for a project like Open Baskerville, where it is developed from the very start with the intention of being free software, developed communally, and perhaps by default with free software, the situation is quite different. The terms of the GPL are already known about and acceptable, and in fact may be seen as a plus, as it protects against a lack of sources, and GPLv3 even protects from proprietary tool lock-in because it requires source code in an open, documented format. This doesn't lock people out from using proprietary tools like FontLab or Superpolator for fonts that they want to redistribute, but it requires them to use an open format like UFO for the sources.

    I hope that as fonts developed primarily in UFO format through a version control system become more widespread, instead of a individual making a font totally on their own and chucking the final TTF/VFBs over the wall with some non-copyleft free software license, then this will become less of a problem.

    Something we might want to consider however is that the Greek Font Society has made available a good range of Greek glyphs based on a Baskerville revival of Greek by Sophia Kalaitzidou and George D. Matthiopoulos that was used in a 1763 printing of the New Testament for Oxford University. The site features OTF, TTF, and a PDF specimen (which is worth a look at), but this is the kicker: the work is released under the SIL OFL. Would it be worth considering contacting with the possibility of getting access to UFO files or perhaps even a relicense of the work?

    Ultimately I’d like Open Baskerville to be as accessible as possible. It’s license terms should allow it to be packaged with free and proprietary software alike, shared and edited provided all edits are made available in open ‘source’ files. There is a FAQ file provided with the GFS Baskerville downloads on the OFL that is worth going through. I don’t know where to best find such a thing for the GPLv3.

    What do you guys think?

    Friday Feb 06

  • Simon Pascal Klein

    Excerpts from “An Atlas of Typeforms”

    Posted by Simon Pascal Klein on Feb 5th | 0 comments | 0 attachments

    A friend pointed out to me that in her copy of An Atlas of Typeforms (Sutton, J. 1988, An Atlas of Typeforms, New Edition, Wordsworth Editions, Ware, Hertfordshire, UK) there were a few extra notes on the Baskervilles. I’ve copied it out below purely for research purposes:

    [Page 59]

    The designer who made the first original contribution to type design in England, John Baskerville, had little commercial success in his lifetime though versions of his types are among the most popular book faces today. He was a Birmingham japanner, a letter cutter and a writing master, and in his roman of 1754 three disciplines produced magnificently controlled, generously proportioned letterforms. It is an original design of great distinction, which echoes the architecture of the Augustan Age in its serenity and masculinity; it holds a central position in the transitional group of typefaces.

    Baskerville made a number of important innovations in ink and papermaking and printing. Passing wove paper through hot copper cylinders produced a smooth white surface that showed off the black type magnificently. He also developed a new open typographic style with wide margins and leading between the lines. This gave the page an austere brilliance. Instead of illustration, the letters decorate the pages. But while Baskerville was not commercially successful in England, his work was admired and imitated here and abroad.

    [Page 62]

    Baskerville’s types have been as important a source for modern designs as have those of Garamond, and are the major source of mid-Transitional types. The Monotype version of 1923 is a regularised version of the 1757 Virgil Great Primer fount, and in 1931 Linotype brought out a fairly true recutting of he Deberny & Peignot version which was actually cast from matrices made from Baskerville's punches. Fry's Baskerville is much later in feeling than the original, and has more in common with Bell or Scotch Roman than with Baskerville. This ‘improved’ version was cut by Isaac Moore for Dr Fry in 1769, and reproduced by Stephenson Blake in 1913. The 30pt and larger sizes were engraved and cut by them; an italic exists, but is not supplied by the founder. Georian (1925, G.W. Jones) is primarily based on a design by Alexander Wilson of about 1790, perhaps also for Dr Fry. Fontana (1936, under the direction of Dr Giovanni Mardersteig) was designed for William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd for their exclusive use and was closely copied from a fount of Alexander Wilson of about 1760. The height of the capitals has been slightly reduced, but it is otherwise fairly accurate. In 1961 it was made generally available.

    Thursday Feb 05

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Open Baskerville is an open source project to create a digital revival of the famous ‘Baskerville’ typefaces. To be more exact, Open Baskerville is based upon Fry’s Baskerville, a Baskerville derivative created by Isaac Moore, a punchcutter who worked for John Baskerville. work. The font is to be licensed under either the SIL OFL or the GNU GPL v3.

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