FB Big Caslon is a significant update to Matthew Carter’s handsome headline face based on the largest sizes of William Caslon’s metal type. Released in 1994 and bundled in OS X for many years, Big Caslon is familiar to anyone with a Mac. It quickly gained favor among designers, gracing the pages of publications like Wallpaper and Boston magazines, and it even secured a place at the Museum of Modern Art in 2011. But users were limited to a single style. Now there are six: Regular, Bold, and Black weights, each with an Italic. This new variety of styles makes the family suitable for web designs that require flexibility and contrast in their headlines. That’s why Font Bureau is simultaneously releasing FB Big Caslon at Webtype along with the desktop edition.
As the name implies, use FB Big Caslon big (48px+). Most default “web-safe” fonts were designed for text sizes, so one of the more exciting advantages of webfonts is the opportunity to deploy display typefaces in all their fine detail. When most of us think display type, we think brash, quirky, or ornamental, but Big Caslon is big type of another sort: striking in a classic, graceful way.
Big Caslon presents the opportunity to dress up a design without ostentation. It can be Georgia’s more delicate counterpart for grand heads, or serve as a harmonious companion for an oldstyle serif like Poynter RE. And, of course, it can bring a sense of warmth and elegance to a sans-seriffed screen that might otherwise feel too technical or cold.
While the roman styles are fairly reserved, FB Big Caslon lets loose in its italics, where web users can access a range of decorative alternates via OpenType features.
Along with these ornamental niceties, FB Big Caslon offers a more complete typographic arsenal than we have grown to expect from most webfonts: small caps, both lining and old style figures, fractions, and a complete set of case-sensitive punctuation (so your questions and exclamations are always in alignment). Perhaps most valuably, FB Big Caslon has an Extended Latin character set supporting languages of Central and Eastern Europe. This is more than a pretty face.
The Webtype debut of FB Big Caslon, by the way, follows on the heels of Carter’s other display serif Big Moore, which has a more antique feel.
Give FB Big Caslon a try — all fonts on Webtype can be tested on your own sites at no charge for 30 days.