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Playfair is a transitional design. In the European Enlightenment in the late 18th century, broad nib quills were replaced by pointed steel pens as the popular writing tool of the day. Together with developments in printing technology, ink, and paper making, it became to print letterforms of high contrast and delicate hairlines that were increasingly detached from the written letterforms.
This design lends itself to this period, and while it is not a revival of any particular design, it takes influence from the designs of John Baskerville and from ‘Scotch Roman’ designs. Being a Display (large size) design in the transitional genre, functionally and stylistically it can accompany Georgia for body text.
Article Last Updated: September 21, 2018.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.