Digital Assignment #2: Robert Besley

Robert Besley is best known as the creator of the Clarendon typeface. He became a member of the
Fann Street Foundry in 1838, which was also home of William Thorowgood, creator of Grotesque.
The Clarendon typeface is a slab-serif that was created by Besley in 1845 at the Fann Street Foundry.
It eventually became one of the most popular typefaces and was soon copied by other foundries.
It was registered under Britain’s Ornamental Designs Act and it became the first registered typeface.

The Clarendon typeface became popular in the United States, especially in the American south west often
seen on classic western signage and posters. It was also used in old circus posters in the late 1800’s.
In the 1920’s the Clarendon typeface experienced a resurgence when during the American industrial
revolution where it began to be used in the newspaper industry as a popular typeface for publication.

One of the downsides of this new printing technology was the fact that many of the type sets taking a physical beating due to the process used, which in turn caused many of the plates to become damaged.
Eventually Linotype created a version of Clarendon which could deal wit the wear and tear realities of
modern day printing methods. Due to an upsurge in advertising in the 1950’s it was eventually revised
in 1953 by Hermann Eidenbenz.


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