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The inspiration for Brylski came from a variety of old-fashioned typefaces like Aldine Expanded, Wm. But Brylski isn’t a strict revival of that design, instead adapting concepts from several historic themes for its own new design.

As part of the Hamilton Legacy Project, where does it fit into the history of type?

Most 20th-century typography that referenced the 19th century did so by using old typefaces in new ways.

P22 Type Foundry and The Hamilton Wood Type Museum have announced the newest addition to the Hamilton Wood Type Legacy Project: Brylski by Nick Sherman, named for retired wood type cutter Norb Brylski and designed to be cut as wood type at the museum in Two Rivers, WI.

It incorporates several themes that were common in 19th-century type design, including bifurcated Tuscan serifs with angled mansard-style sides, heavy weight placement at the top and bottom of letters (traditionally referred to as French or Italian/Italienne, regardless of any actual relation to those countries), and an extended overall width.

The center section will teach how to center a block, or a block on point or circular pattern.

Lightly printed centering marks act as guides to the middle section of block setting.

A perfect example of this is with the recent work from the Pyte Foundry, which takes already-weird themes from 19th-century type design and turns the weirdness up to 11, with refreshingly original results.

There are also designers like David Jonathan Ross who find inspiration from 19th-century ideas, like reversed stress, and apply them to new typefaces in a range of intensity from subtle to very obvious.

The effect appears similar in Brylski, but the logic is more about adding weight at the top and bottom of glyphs than it is about total weight reversal: If you mask off the top and bottom 20% of Brylski, the shapes in between just look like a wide slab-serif typeface with fairly even stroke weight (see illustration below).

In this sense, Brylski has just as much in common with “French” typefaces like French Clarendon or French Antique—though the “French” term is equally problematic. 121, and most notably a design I first saw in a book of circus alphabets compiled by the late, great Dan X. Solo referred to the design as Midway Ornate but couldn’t recall the original name or source when I asked him, and I still have yet to find any more information on its history.

The bottom section will teach how to stagger, overlap, or invert rows of edge to edge work.

The directions are printed and included along with the kit.

Brylski adopts this approach, with adjustments to minimize uneven overall texture.

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