Iowan Old Style
Iowan Old Style is inspired by serif typefaces from Renaissance Italy, now called the “old-style” or Venetian model of typeface design, with influence from Downer’s work as hand-painter of signs.
Compared to the historical models it is based on, Iowan has a higher x-height, meaning that the lower-case letters are taller and appear larger and wider, producing a design that is suitable for display and on-screen use. It is used as a default font on Apple’s iBooks application and is included as a system font on iOS and macOS.
Downer has described the design "more Venetian than Aldine" and influenced by lettering. It has diamond-dots (tittles) on the “i” and “j” similar to the Arts and Crafts-influenced Goudy Old Style.
Iowan began as a design for ITC, but after the company dropped plans to release it, the font was bought up by Matthew Carter of Bitstream, who digitized and released it. Bitstream later revisited the design, adding ornaments and titling capitals. The character set includes small capitals and ligatures, as well as Cyrillic characters. Stephen Coles, an expert on digital fonts, describes its design as “hardworking.”
An extended setting of a text by Oscar Wilde in Iowan Old Style, showing justified text and leading between the lines.
- Berry, John. "An American Typeface Comes of Age". dot creative. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- Butterick, Matthew. "Iowan Old Style". Typography for Lawyers. Archived from the original on January 16, 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- Hoefler, Jonathan. "John Downer at The Propagandist". Hoefler & Frere-Jones. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Johnston, Alastair. "Alastair Johnston interviews John Downer" (PDF). Alastair Johnston. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
- "Iowan Old Style". Identifont. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- Coles, Stephen. "Apple iBooks 1.5". Fonts In Use. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Berry, John. "Text on the pages of iBooks". Easily Amused. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "Recommended book text fonts". Fontshop. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Commercial release (MyFonts)
- Fonts in Use
- Font designer John Downer - Klingspor Museum article on John Downer's work
- John Downer Speedballs (Typographica)
- Sostav (Russian) - page on Downer's lettering and influences
- Type design in Iowa - Luc Devroye's page on Downer and other Iowa-based type designers