International Printing Museum

Goudy Bold

Wood Type - Goudy Bold | International Printing Museumby Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for March is called Goudy Bold. It was designed in metal in 1916 by Morris Fuller Benton of the American Type Foundry (ATF). It was named for Frederic Goudy who had designed Goudy Old Style for the ATF just a year earlier, and Benton was tasked by ATF to design the bold version. Goudy had sold that design to them for $1500 and it became the basis for ATF’s “Goudy Family” of typefaces. Unfortunately, he did not profit further from their success.

Frederic Goudy was born in 1865. He spent many years of his early life as a bookkeeper while he taught himself printing and type design. In 1895 he opened Camelot Press in Chicago. By the time he designed Goudy Bold for ATF he had designed 24 other typefaces. Goudy would go on to do well over 100 well-regarded typefaces in his career.

Goudy Bold became a popular display type with its visual strength and easy readability. By the 1920s it was included in wood-type catalogs. Our sample “ICE” is a 10 line Goudy Bold Condensed wood-type from an unidentified manufacturer. By the late 1960s Goudy Bold was the favorite typeface of the alcoholic beverage industry. This continues today but to a lesser degree. Two current samples from the liquor industry are shown below. Hollywood has also made good use of Goudy Bold in titles of such films as The Blues Brothers, Blade Runner, Batman, and Trading Places (shown below).