Hoefler Text, I’m In Love

Regarding my previous post here, I suppose most of you can see that I’m quite a font-geek. Yes, I am. I was serious when I wrote that I could scan words and sentences more than once only to adore the beauty of the font style and design.

I hope I didn’t just scare you off.

Because I’m gonna write more.

In the post that I linked above, I mentioned that my current favorites are Georgia, Plantagenet Cherokee and Rockwell.

But what I didn’t tell you is that I’ve been hunting for one particular font, actually.

I stumbled across this font when I was reading the English version of Tolkien’s The Hobbit back in high school (and it was around… 2004 or 2005, I suppose), and what really captured me is (don’t laugh!) the design of the numbers of that particular font. I thought it was Times New Roman at first, but then I realize it looks a lot like Garamond, but I knew it’s not really Garamond. So what is it? I knew for sure I couldn’t find it in my Microsoft Word.

The pretty beautiful numbers

Then one day, I came across a website where you could download fonts for free (I forgot the site’s address, though, sorry), so I was extremely curious about that font and I did some hunting and browsing for that particular font.

But I was out of luck.

So finally, the search of the font was long forgotten.

Too bad, fate didn’t allow me to forget my obsession of this font since fate made me cross path with that font when I was reading the Indonesian version of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s Buru Quartet. The font used in the latest edition of the quartet was the exact same font, although the size is much larger than the one printed in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I know the font by heart by then and if I couldn’t own the font, then at least let me adore and appreciate its beauty, I thought to myself. So perhaps you could imagine me staring at Toer’s book, looking like I was reading intently, but what I actually did was starring at each letter one by one to admire them all.

Sorry, did I freak you out? Please don’t.

Not yet, at least, because it wasn’t my last encounter with that font as I was currently reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters. Oh yes, the font came back to haunt me once again. This time, it’s worse since the font was printed particularly with the same size as the one in The Hobbit. Small fonts, with small spaces next to each other. Beautiful. Very very adorable.

Now this is the best part.

Recently I’ve been using an old iBook G4, and found out that I couldn’t really create an .xls document since the only document-editor software that I had here was TextEdit. Simple but not so fancy, I say.

So I googled. And found out that I should’ve had an iWork application. Or I could always switch to Microsoft Office for Mac, but, hey, if we could try a new one, why not give it a try, eh?

So finally after hours and hours upgrading this and that (remember this is an old, old, old laptop), I finally able to install iWork ’09.

Then I got very much excited.

But that’s not the best part yet.

So after I got my hand on iWork ’09, I started to try this and that, and finally settle myself editing and typing stories that I currently writing. Now, since this Pages application allows me to change fonts (something that I don’t think I could do with TextEdit, but if you’re a pro Mac user, perhaps you guys could tell me more?) I started to try out the fonts.

I keep forgetting that I’m not using Microsoft Windows any longer.

Turns out Apple got many, many different fonts in this Pages app. So I browse and try each one of them. (Yes, I guess I’m particularly geek in this kind of thing.)

And then I saw this font ‘Big Caslon’ and I thought to myself, “WOW. This is my font!”” because it actually resembles the one that I’ve been looking for so much.

Until I realize the capital letter “W” is different.

The 'W' I've been looking for.

Freaky, huh? I sure notice that kind of details. Especially because the capital “W” letter was the reason I thought that font resembles Garamond.

So, turns out it’s not the one that I’ve been looking for. But it’s probably the closest one I could get to my dream-font.

And then I realize there’s another font that resembles my dream-font very much. This one is called ‘Hoefler Text.’

So I clicked that font type and see what it looks like.

And I noticed the capital ‘W’ letter.

“Holy heck, that’s THE FONT!” I screamed to myself.

Turns out, when I was browsing for an image of that particular font to be put in here today, I found this explanation on Wikipedia that Hoefler Text is “a contemporary serif Antiqua font that was designed for Apple Computer to demonstrate advanced type technologies.”

How nice, Apple. Nice job. Thanks for being so stupidly exclusive. Sure this explains why I couldn’t find this font anywhere, especially anywhere in Microsoft Word. Jeez!

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Published by

Laksmi

An MA student at Waseda University, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyo, Japan. An avid reader. A language geek as well. And a book hoarder.

6 thoughts on “Hoefler Text, I’m In Love”

  1. The only thing I don’t like about Hoefler Text is the numeral 0. It looks so fat, especially when used in the title or a subtitle.

    1. This goes back to the, now archaic, idea that the design of a zero should literally look like nothing. That’s why it can look so out of place in today’s age. The glyph is often as perfectly circular as possible and the stroke is significantly thinner than the rest of the numerals.

      I believe (though someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong) Caslon came up with the idea in his first cuts of faces.

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