The story of Stilson begins with Postoni, the iconic headline face for The Washington Post.
Postoni is Matthew Carter’s interpretation of the Modern style exemplified by Bodoni’s types, but heavily informed by the requirements of a contemporary newspaper display face. As Carter remembers it, when Postoni was commissioned in 1997, “the decision had already been made at The Post to continue to set headlines ‘up style’ and to continue to use Bodoni. Postoni was an attempt to reduce the relative prominence of the capitals and give the face more modern proportions.”
The original is pretty sturdy for an ostensibly high-contrast style. The serifs are completely flat and unbracketed. It works best for medium display sizes, around 36 to 42 points, but holds up surprisingly well down to about 18 point.
For The Post’s 2009 redesign, Richard Lipton, Jill Pichotta, and Dyana Weissman expanded the family with more refined Display and Display Condensed styles for use in even larger headlines. (You can read about that redesign in our blog post entitled “New Faces in Washington.”)
The Display styles have a more pronounced contrast, with more delicate thin strokes and lightly cupped & bracketed serifs. They start to shine at around 72 point and maintain their elegance up into the 120+ point range.
For its release in Font Bureau’s Retail library in 2012, Postoni was renamed Stilson in honor of The Washington Post’s founder, Stilson Hutchins.
12 Styles: Regular, Italic, Bold & Bold Italic in Normal and Display sizes, plus Condensed width in Display sizes
Stilson is available as OpenType fonts with both lining and oldstyle figures, case punctuation, fractions, and stylistic alternates.