Bennet’s story started a little over a year ago. The initial idea for Richard Lipton’s new family came from Moth Design’s logotype and stationery system for the North Bennet Street School in Boston. Although Lipton initially had clear ideas about the direction he wanted the type family to take, the design eventually headed somewhere completely different. As Lipton puts it, “Once the design process happens, intuition takes over; an idea starts somewhere in particular but then finds its own path.” Since he was working simultaneously on a massive update to his Meno family, several of the concepts he had for Bennet—like the cap superiors and stylistic alternates—found their way into that series, which was released in November 2016.
But Bennet continued to grow of its own accord. Since Lipton had previously established the family parameters for the Meno expansion with Text, Display, and Banner cuts, it made sense to apply those to Bennet as well. Bennet also followed Meno’s lead with regard to weights and widths for the Display and Banner variants. Its three optical sizes and many widths lend Bennet a wide, expressive range, making it an excellent choice for editorial use.
At first sight, Bennet’s features look straightforward, but upon closer examination, they reveal lots of interesting details. The triangular serifs have blunt corners to soften the face’s crisp, practical look a little. The cuts in some of the counters add a certain vigor; they make the Banner size, with its increased contrast, sparkle. An unusual characteristic of the typeface is its subtly bulging stems. Lipton insists there’s no real concept behind them, other than just playing around with the forms and trying to find a way to add some dynamic warmth to the vertical strokes by adding a bit of swell.
Lipton developed graded text styles for Bennet, offering users immensely useful and precise variations. Grades are often confused with weights, but they are actually a completely different concept. Different types of paper stock absorb ink at a different rate; the shapes of letters printed on smooth, glossy paper will remain crisp and fine, while letters printed on rough, porous paper will become darker as the ink spreads through absorption. Using grades helps achieve a consistent color on different paper stocks. For example, because of ink absorption, the lightest grade—Bennet Text One—printed on low-quality newsprint stock will have the same gray value as the darkest grade—Bennet Text Four—on superior coated paper.
Bennet is a sturdy, versatile family that can be used across all media. Broadly flexible, it can be successfully implemented as an editorial type system for publications, in advertising (from business cards to billboards), and in extensive corporate branding in print and on the web. A quote from the North Bennet Street School website perfectly encapsulates Lipton’s work: “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
Like all Lipton Letter Design fonts, Bennet is available for print, web, app, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days. To stay current on all things Lipton, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.