The Century Family.

Century is a family of typefaces derived from the original Century Roman designed in 1894 by Linn Boyd Benton. Despite originating in the 19th century, use of the typeface for periodicals, textbooks, and literature remains strong.

According to Paul Shaw, “The rugged simplicity of the Century family of types has made it an enduring favourite of American typographers for almost one hundred years. Beginning as foundry type, Century has withstood a series of technical transformations into Linotype, Monotype, Ludlow, phototype, transfer type, digital type, and Xerox-like ‘toner type’.”

One of Century’s main strengths is its exceptional legibility. The open forms of the letters allow for quick recognition. It is so legible - it’s required by the U.S. Supreme Court that all briefs presented be typeset in the Century family. Here’s an excerpt from Rule 33, “Document Preparation”:

The text of every booklet-format document, including any appendix thereto, shall be typeset in Century family (e.g., Century Expanded, New Century Schoolbook, or Century Schoolbook) 12-point type with 2-point or more leading between lines. Quotations in excess of 50 words shall be indented. The typeface of footnotes shall be 10-point or larger with 2-point or more leading between lines. The text of the document must appear on both sides of the page.


ATF - American specimen book of type styles..., 1912.
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