Capitolium (1998)
At the end of 1997, to mark the jubilee of the Roman Catholic Church in 2000, I was commissioned to design a wayfinding and information system for the city of Rome. This was another job done in collaboration with n|p|k Industrial Design of Leiden. Key to the commission was the design of a new type which would take the Roman tradition of public lettering, now more than two millennia old, into the new year and the new millennium. In order not to have to go all the way back to the ancient Romans, I took as my starting-point the work of Giovan Francesco Cresci, a calligrapher of the sixteenth century. Cresci was the first to design a lower-case alphabet to go with the capitals on Trajan’s column. Capitolium is not a revival. There are references to Cresci’s work in it, but the letter forms are entirely as I wanted them. It is a traditional design, but makes no attempt to historicise — it is a classical type for mass communication in the twenty-first century. Since April 2001 I have marketed Capitolium myself.

* Unger, G., ‘A Type Design for Rome and the Year 2000, in Typography Papers No. 3, Reading, 1998