onaldson Pro is Patrick Griffin’s take on Ronaldson Old Style, the Alexander Kay design widely viewed as the New World’s first original text face, published in 1884 by the MacKellar, Smiths and Jordan Company in Philadelphia. The metal face enjoyed tremendous popularity for more than five decades leading up to the Second World War.
The metal Ronaldson Old Style was a single roman weight cut in different sizes. A sloped version was made in the early 1890s, but it was deemed mostly unworthy and subsequently saw very little use. Printers and publishers reluctantly used accompanying italics from other old style faces, with varying results. In the phototypesetting era, Ronaldson Old Style was a point of inspiration for a few typefaces — most notably Ed Benguiat’s ITC Tiffany, a very popular display design built around Ronaldson Old Style’s “beaks” and its more decorative touches. But a proper film type retooling was never made, and the first American original text face slipped through the cracks when things rolled over into the digital age.
The work on this digital version started in the spring of 2006. Help with research, history and source material was generously provided by Stephen Saxe, Philippe Chaurize, and even one of Alexander Kay’s descendants. In 2008, the digital Ronaldson was released in three styles: a roman, a matching italic, and a bold. Accompanying small caps for the roman and the bold were issued as separate fonts.
In 2021, Ronaldson was paid a revisit based on plenty of user feedback. The fonts were redrawn and expanded into four weights with matching italics, with small caps, seven types of figures, stylistic alternates, and ligatures built into the entire range. It is now Ronaldson Pro, and judging by the face’s popularity over the past 15 years, we’re sure it will make quite a few people delighted to have it. For those who love to take total control of their typography, we’re also including a variable version (Ronaldson Pro VF and Ronaldson Pro VF Italic) with the complete package.
For information on the features available in all Ronaldson Pro fonts, as well as text setting samples, please consult this PDF.
From $30 USD