The Engraver’s Square Gothic—like its rounder cousin, the engraver’s sans serif (Sweet® Sans)—has been one of the more widely used stationer’s lettering styles since about 1900. Its minimal forms, made without curves, were popularized long ago by bankers and others seeking a serious, established feel to their stationery. One might argue that the design is a possible precursor to Morris Fuller Benton’s Bank Gothic® typeface.
Sweet® Square is based on antique engraver’s lettering templates called “masterplates.” Professional stationers use a pantograph to manually transfer letters from these masterplates to a piece of copper or steel that is then etched to serve as a plate or die. This demanding technique is rare today given that most engravers now use a photographic process to make plates, where just about any font will do. But the lettering styles engravers popularized during the first half of the twentieth century remain both familiar and appealing.
Referencing various masterplates, Mark van Bronkhorst has drawn Sweet Square in nine weights. The sources offered just uppercase, small caps, and figures, yet similar, condensed examples had a lowercase, making it possible to interpret a full character set for Sweet Square. Italics were also added to give the family greater versatility.
The fonts are available as basic, “Standard” character sets, and as “Pro” character sets offering special characters, a variety of typographic features, and full support for Western and Central European languages.
Sweet Square gives new life to an uncommon class of typeface: an early twentieth-century commercial invention that brings a singular verve to modern design. Its unique style is as useful as it is novel.