This article is about the typeface. For other uses, see Janson (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Adobe Jenson.
Category Serif
Classification Old-style
Designer(s) Chauncey H. Griffith
Foundry Linotype
Design based on Nicholas Kis' Roman of 1685

Janson is an old-style serif typeface inspired by a set of Dutch Baroque typefaces.[1] It is an even, regular design, particularly intended for body text.

Janson is based on surviving designs from Leipzig that were named for Anton Janson (1620–1687), a Leipzig-based printer and punch-cutter from the Netherlands who was believed to have created them. Research in the 1970s and early 1980s, however, concluded that the typeface was the work of Hungarian-Transylvanian priest and punchcutter, Miklós (Nicholas) Tótfalusi Kis (1650–1702) [2]

Historical background

Roman types from the Ehrhardt specimen. The larger sizes are more condensed than the smaller ones on which Ehrhardt and Janson are based.
Italic types from the Ehrhardt specimen

Miklós Kis, a Transylvanian Protestant priest and schoolteacher, became deeply interested in printing after being sent to Amsterdam to help print a Hungarian Protestant translation of the Bible.[3][4] This was a period of considerable prosperity for the Netherlands and a time when its styles of printing were very influential across Europe, making it a centre for the creation of new typefaces.[5][6][7] He developed a second career as a punchcutter, an engraver of the punches used as a master for making moulds for metal type, working on commission for printers and governments. Kis returned to Transylvania around 1689 and may have left matrices (the moulds used to cast type) in Leipzig on his way home.[8] The Ehrhardt type foundry of Leipzig released a surviving specimen sheet of them around 1720, leading to the attribution to Janson.[9][10] Kis also cut Greek and Hebrew typefaces, both for use in printing Polyglot Bibles.

Kis's surviving matrices were first acquired by Stempel, and are now held in the collection of the Druckmuseum (Museum of Printing), Darmstadt.[11][12][13] Kis's identity as the maker of the typefaces was rediscovered by comparison with type from Hungarian archive sources (including an autobiography) on which his name was identified.[14][15][16] Due to their survival, the Janson typefaces became with fine printers of the Arts and Crafts period such as Updike, who could print books from them using hand-set type cast from surviving original matrices.


A book printed by Kis in Claudiopolis (modern name Cluj-Napoca) in 1697, after his return to Transylvania.
Kis on a Hungarian stamp

A revival of the face was designed in 1937 by Chauncey H. Griffith of the Mergenthaler Linotype foundry. The revival was taken from the original matrices, held since 1919 by the Stempel Type Foundry, which were Mergenthaler's exclusive agent in Europe.

The most common digital version, Janson Text, comes from a metal version produced by Hermann Zapf in the 1950s at Stempel. This was based on Kis' original matrices.[17] Digitisations are available from Linotype, Adobe, Bitstream (adding Cyrillic glyphs), URW++ (adding an additional light and black weights) and others.

Despite its 17th-century origins, Janson is used in a wide variety of contemporary text applications. As of the magazine's 2011 redesign, Architectural Digest uses Janson for body text in all of its articles.

A separate common revival of the 'Janson' designs is Ehrhardt, created by Monotype in the 1930s.[18] Somewhat more condensed than most Janson revivals, giving it a crisp, vertical appearance, it is a popular book typeface, particularly often used in the UK.[19] Besides a number of revivals specifically of Ehrhardt (described in that article), two more by Linotype and Berthold have been sold under the name of Kis.[20][21]


  1. Middendorp, Jan (2004). Dutch type. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 9789064504600.
  2. a long, passionate kis for you.... Daidala.com. June 01 2004. John Coltz.
  3. Lawson, Alexander (1990). Anatomy of a Typeface (1st ed.). Boston: Godine. pp. 158–168. ISBN 978-0-87923-333-4.
  4. Rozsondai, Marianne (2004). "The bindings of books printed by Miklos Misztotfalusi Kis". E codicibus impressisque : opstellen over het boek in de Lage landen voor Elly Cockx-Indestege. Leuven: Peeters. pp. 149–170. ISBN 978-90-429-1423-0.
  5. Middendorp, Jan (2004). Dutch type. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 978-90-6450-460-0. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  6. "Miklós Kis" (PDF). Klingspor Museum. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  7. "Quarto". Hoefler & Frere-Jones. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  8. Morison, Stanley; Carter, Harry (1973). "Chapter 8: Ehrhardt". A Tally of Types. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 117–122. ISBN 978-0-521-09786-4. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  9. "Ehrhardt Specimen Book image". Rietveld Academie. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  10. Updike, Daniel Berkeley (1922). "Chapter 15: Types of the Netherlands, 1500-1800". Printing Types: Their History, Forms and Uses: Volume 2. Harvard University Press. p. 44. Retrieved 18 December 2015. A headline...reads "Real Dutch Types"...These fonts resemble those given by Fell to the Oxford Press, and in cut belong to the 17th century. Their provenance I do not know. Although heavy, they retain considerable vivacity of line and have great capabilities when used with taste.
  11. Mosley, James. "The materials of typefounding". Type Foundry. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  12. "Janson Text". MyFonts. Adobe/Linotype. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  13. Heiderhoff, Horst (1984). "The Rediscovery of a Type Designer: Miklos Kis". Fine Print: 25–30.
  14. Heiderhoff, Horst (1988). "The Rediscovery of a Type Designer: Miklos Kis". In Bigelow, Charles. Fine Print on Type: the best of Fine Print magazine on type and typography. San Francisco: Fine Print. pp. 74–80. ISBN 978-0-9607290-2-9.
  15. Morison, Stanley (2009). "Chapter 8: Leipzig as a Centre of Type-Founding". In McKitterick, David. Selected essays on the history of letterforms in manuscript and print (Paperback reissue, digitally printed version ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 149–170. ISBN 978-0-521-18316-1.
  16. Buday, George (1974). "Some More Notes on Nicholas Kis of the 'Janson' Types". Library: 21–35.
  17. Jaspert, Pincus, Berry, and Johnson, p. 122.
  18. "Ehrhardt". MyFonts. Monotype. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  19. Butterick, Matthew. "Equity specimen" (PDF). Practical Typography. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  20. Luin, Franko. "Kis Classico LT". Linotype. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  21. "Berthold Kis". MyFonts. Berthold. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Janson.

On other Kis/Janson revivals:

On Ehrhardt:

Ehrhardt digitisations:

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/30/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.