Created as a text partner to Albertus in 1937, and cut by Monotype in 1938, Pegasus never achieved the fame of its display counterpart. As a result it faded into obscurity, disappearing almost entirely when type moved from metal to film.
In 1980 Matthew Carter designed characters for Pegasus, in partnership with the then 75-year-old Berthold Wolpe, to be used as part of a retrospective at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, however Monotype’s Wolpe Collection marks the first time Pegasus has been released as a full digital revival.
Design historian Paul Shaw notes that while it may look similar to Albertus, a closer inspection reveals subtle differences, presumably incorporated by Wolpe to make Pegasus work well at small sizes. It’s also charmingly unconventional – with its “weird shapes” precisely the thing that encouraged Toshi Omagari to recreate it.
“It is full of eccentricities,” also comments Shaw. “The design is not slickly homogenized like most of today's kit-of-parts fonts are.”
“As befits a typeface designed by a metalsmith, it is sculptural with the spirit of incunabular type.”
Details that set Wolpe Pegasus apart from other text faces includes a satisfyingly thick middle bar on the E, which contrasts the bar across the H which is more slender, and a zero with a striking one-sided added contrast.
Sadly, because of its lack of popularity when first released, examples of Pegasus in use are few and far between – yet those we have clearly show its potential. It appeared on a 1970 Faber & Faber edition of Ted Hughes’ Crow, and also on the cover of a retrospective book published by the V&A as part of its exhibition.
The Wolpe Exhibition at The Type Archive, London, is open to the public until Monday 4 December and is free to visit. For opening times and more information click here.
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