Bookman Old Style “4”

I need to use Bookman old style for a business card for a client. I’m not actually using a letterpress for this, I’m doing it digitally, but I noticed that the “4” in every font set I see online is completely different from the rest of the font set. It looks like myriad. Does anyone know why or how something like this happens? Does anyone know where to get a good full set of this font? I’m pretty sure every site I’ve seen that offers the font, whether for free or for money has this mistake.

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I think you are seeing one of the characteristics of the oldstyle fonts. If you take a look at Garamond, you will see the “4” character also exhibits none of the characteristics which would cause you to think “oldstyle”, but that’s the way it was designed. The numeral “0” as well in Garamond is almost a perfect circle when the ranging numerals are selected. It lacks the thick and thin angled emphasis of the letter “o”.

I would hasten to add that it has bothered me some through the years, too.

John Henry

I had a client one time who insisted I use a small ‘o’ in place of the zero in Garamond. Had to do it through an entire brochure and business card system. A real pain!

Is this any help?

image: bookman.jpg


It’s helpful in that it confirms that I am not crazy, and that the OS version DEFINITELY has a myriad pro “4.” I suppose I will just use ITC Bookman LT. That strange 4 is just terrible…

As stated by John Henry, that is a conventional, ranging /4/ glyph. It is not a substitution from Myriad, even in metal.

Here’s a scan of a Lanston Monotype specimen for Bookman Old Style:

The ‘4’ in it is very much like the one that Nicholas dislikes. This can be seen more clearly, perhaps, in the specimen in McGrew (at 36 pt). A quick look at the 1923 ATF catalog shows the same thing. The 4 may indeed be jarring, but it would seem not to be an error.

David M.

Jhenry briefly touched upon the “zero” glyph in Garamond being fairly strange looking. This is something that appears in several of Goudy’s designs. When asked why those zeros were monoline with litlle or no character he simply responded that he intended for them to look like nothing (zero=nothing). Cute in a philosophical sense, but they are visually bothersome to those of us that are sensative to the fact that they simply do not follow the style of the rest of the font.

When I get near my reference books I’ll give you some specific Goudy fonts to look at.