Inspiration: Bookman Swash

Bookman Swash

Bookman Swash

Bookman Swash

Bookman Swash

Many designers become quite monogamus when choosing the typefaces to use in their works, and I’m no different. This inspirational post is dedicated to one of my favorite typefaces, the mighty Bookman Swash. I decided to write a post featuring this typeface as I’ve had many people asking me about the type treatments on my posters, which is a mix of Bookman Regular and Bookman Swash.

This typeface quickly became one of my favorites after seeing it prevalent on a book featuring advertising in the 1970s. Bookman Swash was littered throughout the book, obviously one of the most beloved typefaces of designers in that era.

So, for all the type nerds out there, here is a bit of interesting information on this beautiful typeface brought to you by Wikipedia:

About Bookman

Bookman Old Style is a typeface derived from Old Style Antique designed by Alexander Phemister in 1858 for Miller and Richard foundry. Several American foundries copied the design, including the Bruce Type Foundry, and issued it under various names. In 1901, Bruce refitted their design, made a few other improvements, and rechristened it Bartlett Oldstyle. When Bruce was taken over by ATF shortly thereafter, they changed the name to Bookman Oldstyle.

Bookman was designed as an alternative to Caslon, with straighter serifs, making it more suitable for book and display applications. It maintains its legibility at small sizes, and can be used successfully for headlines and in advertising. In 1936, Chauncey H. Griffith of the American Linotype foundry developed a revival.

About Bookman ITC

ITC Bookman is a revival designed by Ed Benguiat in 1975, for the International Typeface Corporation. Benguiat developed a full family of four weights plus complementary cursive designs. Benguiat also drew a suite of swash and alternate characters for each of the members of the family. This version adds a large x-height and moderate stroke contrast to improve legibility.

Fonts for swash and alternate characters were eventually released in OpenType versions of the fonts, or separately as ITC Bookman Swash.

Interested in purchasing the Bookman family? Check it out on Veer.






10 responses to “Inspiration: Bookman Swash”

  1. Andrew Avatar

    Every time I see this font I automatically start singing the “Family Ties” theme song in my head. I love it :)

  2. james Avatar

    Andrew, good call. It was also used for the titlemarks of ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Newhart’.

  3. Stan Avatar

    I instantly recall the cover of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein.

    On a somewhat related note, have you seen the doc “Helvetica” by Gary Hustwit? It’s a fascinating doc on the typeface, typography, and graphic design in general. I think you’d very much enjoy it.

  4. Brent Avatar

    I always start out with Futura. I love it and it seems to go with everything.

  5. Scott Avatar

    love that font, super fun and keeps its legibility

  6. Jason Avatar

    “monogamus,” should be “monogamous” :-) Sorry for acting as grammar police. Just helping a brother out.

    That said, I admit to shameless monogamous tendencies when it comes to my designs (Avant Garde). I am always trying to move away from it, but often feel powerless to resist it. Sort of like my ex-girlfriend… only her alternate characters aren’t nearly as enjoyable. ;-)

    (love your work, James)


  7. […] Inspiration: Bookman Swash     […]

  8. Matt Rutledge Avatar

    I love Bookman Swash. It’s surprising though, because 95% of my favorite fonts are sans-serif. Yes, it was overused, but it’s got some kind of “lifestyle” cachet to it that makes me believe all sunsets are deep orange.

    By the way, does anyone know where I can get Bookman Swash? I want to use it in some of my designs.

  9. John J. Blair Avatar
    John J. Blair

    To Matt Rutledge,
    The ULTIMATE version of Bookman (Swash) is a package known as Bookmania. This font family was developed by Mark Simonson and details are available at .

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