is a Didone
classification serif typeface designed in 1788 by Richard Austin
while working in John Bell's British Type Foundry. Bell, impressed by the clarity and contrast found in contemporary French typefaces cut by Firmin Didot
, wanted his foundry to offer a British version. Austin, a skilful punchcutter first trained as an engraver, produced a sharply serifed face, like Didot
in its contrast of thick and thin strokes, but more like Baskerville
in its use of bracketed, less rectilinear, serifs. Stanley Morison
later described the face as the first English modern typeface. In 1931, with Stanley Morison's encouragement, the Monotype Corporation
began production of a revival. Monotype's contemporary digital version was developed under the supervision of Robin Nicholas. The face should not be confused with the sans-serif typefaces Bell Gothic
and Bell Centennial
developed for AT&T, which are not related.
The 1932 Monotype revival included a wide range of Austin's character variants, including swash versions of the uppercase characters A, J, N, Q, T, V, and Y. The figures are distinct for being lining, and proportioned to set at approximately three-quarter the height of the capitals. The designer Jan Tschichold favored the typeface Bell in much of his book design, and mentioned it in his book Typographische Gestaltung.
- Blackwell, Lewis. 20th Century Type. Yale University Press: 2004. ISBN 978-0-300-10073-0.
- Jaspert, W. Pincus, W. Turner Berry and A.F. Johnson. The Encyclopædia of Type Faces. Blandford Press Lts.: 1953, 1983. ISBN 978-0-7137-1347-3.
- Lawson, Alexander S., Anatomy of a Typeface. Godine: 1990. ISBN 978-0879233334.
- Macmillan, Neil. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. ISBN 978-0-300-11151-4.