I recently disovered the existence of this design stackexchange, reviving my hope to maybe resolve a font identification problem that I had a long while back, but that I was never able to solve (or actually, get the internet to solve, because I myself do not really know a lot about fonts..) (So yes, BTW, I did try, I would think, pretty much all font identification sites online, at least at the time.)
The font in question is the one featured in the image below, which is a little assembly of screenshots taken, as the book is partly online on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Donald-Norman/dp/1452654123). I recommend the book, by the way 🙂
I find the font, and in particular its italics, to be quite beautiful—if a bit strange. I highlighted some of my key delights of its italics in the image:
- how unnaturally large the capitals look in comparison to the lowercase letters, because the latter are so horizontally compressed into one another;
- specifically how rigidly parallel/straight the capital M is, which seems to contradict typographic principles, but which I actually quite love;
- the ff/fi ligatures;
- not a delight, but maybe a clue as to its origin: the horrible kerning in “don’t”.
Does anybody have a clue which font this might be? And why it is so peculiar, or maybe just why I might think it is peculiar?
I think the book is mostly set in Palatino:
From the book:
A recent version of Palatino:
(The book is available in facsimile online at archive.org).
Since the book was published in 1988, that’s probably too early for digital setting, but too late for letterpress… Perhaps a version of Palatino (phototypesetting) had an inline old-school true italic (narrower than Roman characters).
It doesn’t help that Palatino was one of the more copied fonts of the 20th century.
It’s difficult to find a similar italic on the web. Maybe it just fell out of fashion and didn’t feature so much when fonts were digitized…