Jenson Typeface: A Renaissance Classic

Jenson typeface

Introduction: The Jenson Typeface

Welcome to our exploration of the iconic Jenson typeface, a classic that continues to shape modern typography. Created in the 15th century by French pioneer Nicholas Jenson, this serif typeface has left an indelible mark on the world of design. Known for its balanced letterforms and robust serifs, Jenson is a timeless example of elegance and superior readability. In today’s post, we’ll delve into its unique features, its enduring legacy, and why it remains a favorite among designers and typographers alike. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a curious enthusiast, join us as we unravel the fascinating story of the Jenson typeface.

History of Jenson

Nicolas Jenson

Jenson has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the 15th century. It was created by Nicolas Jenson, a French engraver, pioneer, printer, and type designer. Jenson’s work in typography began after he was sent to Mainz by King Charles VII of France to learn the art of metal movable type. He eventually settled in Venice, Italy, where he created the Jenson typeface around 1470. Known for its wide, regular shapes and clear, legible letters, the Jenson typeface was widely used in books and other printed materials.

The typeface Jenson created is considered one of the best examples of an old style serif typeface, which is characterized by little contrast between thick and thin lines and bracketed serifs. It’s particularly noted for its balance, elegance, and readability, qualities that have allowed it to stand the test of time.

Characteristics of Jenson

Oh shit, it's Jenson! Anatomy of Jenson typeface.

Let’s move on to the distinctive features of the Jenson typeface that set it apart in the realm of typography. The balanced letterforms embody an aesthetic harmony, making it pleasing to the eye and easy to read. The robust serifs, characteristic of this typeface, contribute to its visual weight, creating a sense of stability and reliability. Moreover, the open counters – spaces within letters like ‘p’ and ‘o’ – enhance readability, particularly in smaller text sizes. These innovative features, revolutionary for their time, have contributed to Jenson’s enduring popularity among designers and typographers worldwide.

Jenson in Use

Jenson typeface, 1475, Laertius

Beyond its distinctive features, the Jenson typeface has left an enduring legacy in the world of typography. Its influence on modern serif fonts is undeniable, with many contemporary designs borrowing elements from Jenson’s revolutionary aesthetics and legibility standards. But Jenson is more than just a typeface; it’s a lasting legacy, a testament to the craftsmanship of Nicholas Jenson. This enduring legacy continues to inspire designers, making Jenson a timeless classic in the world of typography.


In conclusion, the Jenson typeface’s enduring legacy, from its creation by Nicolas Jenson to its modern influence, is undeniable. We’ve explored its unique blend of aesthetics and legibility that make it a timeless classic in the world of typography. This journey into the story of the Jenson typeface is just one of many fascinating tales in the vast realm of typography. Stay tuned for more such intriguing stories and be sure to join us as we continue to delve deeper into the captivating world of fonts and typefaces.

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