Providence, Rhode Island, 2007
Wiebking is a research-based typography design project on Jenson-style Roman type, conducted as my Degree Project senior year at RISD.
This Jenson reinterpretation takes calligraphic cues from Bruce Rogers’ Centaur and a contemporary perspective from Robert Slimbach’s sturdy Adobe Jenson Pro. After extensive historical research and drawing process explorations including calligraphy, the result is an equal-parts amalgamation of two of the most substantial Jenson types. The font is named after the prolific, yet under-recognized engraver of Centaur (and of many others), Robert Wiebking.
The font's namesake is in one Robert Wiebking, a fascinatingly obscure name in typography design, yet prolific in work and association to other prominent names in the history of type design. Even today, there exists little information about Wiebking, which, in comparison to 2007, is already considerably more. How has a seminal figure in font production and engraving technology gone under-recognized for so long? In truth, Wiebking was a very shy individual with an extreme aversion to the limelight. After reading Bruce Rogers’ 1948 book on his Centaur types, it occurred to me that the letterforms displayed in the book are not Rogers’ own drawings, but of a little-known engraver named Robert Wiebking.
The realization came that in the history of creating type, not everyone involved always receives their due praise–much like how details are lost in the translation of old type forms to new. As homage to the uncredited hands involved in type creation, and the details lost or gained in translating the many Jenson types, I chose to name the font “Wiebking.”
LA Hall, Typography design
Cyrus Highsmith, Mentor
Hans Van Dijk, Project advisor