The Complete Benton Modern Series

Specimen combo2

All together at last. With the release of Benton Modern’s core text styles and new additions to Benton Modern Display, we now offer the full line of Font Bureau’s popular serif series. It is comprised of Benton Modern RE for small body copy or captions, Benton Modern for medium-sized text, and Benton Modern Display for the grandest applications.

Benton Modern RE is the typeface you are reading right now. It is specifically designed for the smallest sizes on screen and our choice for body copy on our blog. Being part of Font Bureau’s Reading Edge series, Benton Modern RE has a very large x-height and generous spacing and proportions. It features the typical design details of the Benton Modern series in a somewhat exaggerated form so they are still discernible — and above all, readable — even at a font-size of 9 pixels. David Berlow designed this interpretation of Benton Modern in 2010.

Benton Modern Display, Benton Modern, and Benton Modern RE set at the same nominal size to illustrate the difference in proportions and detailing.

Benton Modern and Benton Modern RE as rendered at 9px on Mac OSX.

Benton Modern (left) and Benton Modern RE (right) as rendered at 9px in Mac OS X, demonstrating the value of screen-specific design variations.

BM Text

The Benton Modern text styles were originally undertaken by Tobias Frere-Jones in 1997 to improve text at The Boston Globe newspaper. He later adapted the face for the Detroit Free Press by widening the proportions to match ATF’s Century Expanded, Morris Fuller Benton’s great news text type from around 1900. The italic, based on Century Schoolbook Italic, was designed by Richard Lipton and Christian Schwartz, who also added the Bold. (The four styles of Benton Modern are each available in four different grades for print. The default weight on Webtype is Grade Two, the second lightest variant. If you require graded webfonts for Benton Modern, please contact us.)

BM Display

Benton Modern Display is made for compact headlines and splendidly large display typography where it can fully express its charm. The normal and condensed widths were already available on Webtype. Newly added are the extra condensed and compressed styles, and two heavier weights of the normal width to give you even more options for distinct and flexible typography on the web. The family now covers 36 styles: six different weights, four different widths, from delicate Light to punchy Ultra Black, each with italic. Benton Modern Display was designed by Dyana Weissman and Richard Lipton in 2008.

BM widths

Whether you use the full spectrum of the series or just one family on its own, you can’t go wrong with Benton Modern. It conveys the atmosphere of traditional text faces with modern proportions and a classy twist. Geared to the needs of fine editorial design, the series covers styles for extended reading, headlines, and captions alike. If you need a sans-serif companion for Benton Modern, the Benton Sans series would be the natural match. Or you can pair it with a more contrasting sans and lead your design in different directions: open and approachable with a humanist sans like Solitaire or Aften Screen, slightly retro with a grotesque like Bureau Grot or Trio Grotesk, or contemporary clean with Scout Condensed or Helsinki.

As with every font on Webtype, all styles of the Benton Modern series can be tested free of charge for 30 days. For more details, see the respective webfont page.

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