Frederic Goudy designed Aries in 1925-26 as a commissioned private
press typeface and cast it in one size, approximately 16 point. Like
the William Morris Troy type, Aries is a stylized roman with blackletter
characteristics. It was partially inspired by Subiaco, a type created
in 1900 by Emery Walker for the Ashendene Press. Walker had based
his work on a type of the same name designed in 1465 by two German
monks, Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, which is often credited
as being the first roman type.
Frederic W. Goudy, who lived from 1865 to 1947, created over 100 typefaces
during his lifetime. Like most type designers, he is known principally
through his eponymously titled faces such as Goudy Modern and Goudy
Old Style. Goudy's work ranged from widely used faces made for the
Laston Monotype Company to private commissions that few people have
ever seen. Aries was not one of the "Lost Types" that perished
in a fire at Goudy's Deepdene studio in 1939 but it was "lost"
in the sense that it was not well known. P22's digital revival is
one attempt to make this face, as well as Goudy's work in general,
a bit less "lost."
Goudy created the Aries type as a private commission for Spencer Kellogg
Jr.'s Aries Press in Eden, NY but, as far as we know, used it in only
one book. This was the 1927 In Praise of My Lady by William Morris,
which Kellogg issued in an edition of 31 copies. Shortly afterward,
Kellogg abandoned his press and the Aries type became forgotten. As
it happens, Goudy was not fully satisfied with his design, so he set
about recutting many characters for his own private use. He named
the re-cut font Village Text. In 1931, the Grabhorn Press of San Francisco
admired this face and persuaded Goudy to sell them the design. They
renamed the redesigned face Franciscan.
In his book, A Half Century of Type Design and Typography (1946),
Goudy recalls his career and his 118 specific designs. He makes special
note of the Aries type since it was his first venture into the full
process of matrix engraving and type founding. Prior to 1926, Goudy's
work had been executed by tradesmen who cut and cast the type designs
of many typographic artists, including Goudy.