Type designer Bram de Does, one of the greatest in the field

Bram_de_Does_150Bram de Does was a very extraordinary Dutch typographer and type designer who draws two quality fonts in his professional life.

The first font was in fact due to a transition in the technology of typesetting in which the an older serif font made for relief printing (drawn in the late twenties) could not be adapted anymore for the newer planographic printing without losing its character. The historic printing process existed of pressing inked letters (of lead) on to paper so that the printed forms were slightly bolder and rougher than the original design. In the contemporary printing process the original design is exactly the same in print, just as sharp and precise.
So the printing and foundry company for which De Does was working (Joh. Enschedé) asked him to draw a new font in the same tradition for the new photosetting machine that the company bought end seventies.
De Does went for his ideas far back to the first roman type cut around 1470 (by Jenson). The characters were less rationalized than the fonts of the Renaissance.


He managed to design his new font with a certain amount of elegance, although it has a very classical and organized and traditional look. In a text the font is very good readable, closer or from a reasonable distance.


The name is Trinité, originated from the fact that it is designed in three versions with different lengths of ascenders and descenders.

On closer look is visible that all the letters, digits and symbols are quit complicated, with much individual differences, with rather distinct serifs but full of subtle curves. It took De Does three year to complete the font in 1982. From then on the font was very well received, frequently used for literary work. The font is often characterized as historic original and systematic disorganized.


The font was digitized in 1992 and published as a Postscript font. It took De Does many years to think about another font to design. He felt that he had put all his ideas and all his craftsmanship in the Trinité. He was a man of great perfectionism, which prevented him to just try something else.
Almost ten years after the Trinité he found himself in the situation that the publisher of the Van Dale dictionary was asking him about an extra version of the Trinité suitable for a small and economic size. He suggested then that he could make a new font for that purpose. So in 1992 he delivered the Lexicon.


A firm roman serif, less outspoken, but therefore excellent for everyday printing, for instance for a newspaper (Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad used the Lexicon from 2001 until 2013). A great success in small print, with high legibility.


The characters were still drawn by hand, with ink on paper in the definite versions, and afterwards digitized.


The fonts of De Does are in the catalogue of the TEFF (The Enschedé Font Foundry).
Bram de Does died 28 december 2015, 81 years old.