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Mercury is a family of text and display faces for newspaper typography, the first collaboration between type designers Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones. "Mercury Display (1997) was commissioned by Robert Priest for the redesign of Esquire magazine. Originally conceived of as a revival of the work of eighteenth-century punchcutter Jean-Michel Fleischman, Mercury ultimately evolved into a thoroughly modern design. Though the final design has little in common with the style of Fleischman's baroque types, Mercury owes much to the Dutch tradition of punchcutting. Like foundry types, Mercury was designed from the inside out, with the non-printing 'counters' being drawn first. "In 1999, Tobias Frere-Jones revisited Mercury to create a vigorous family of news faces for Alexander Isley's redesigns for the New Times newspaper chain. Mercury Text was designed not only to withstand the formidable constraints of newsprint—absorbent paper and slippery ink—but the environment of the news column itself, characterized by tight leading and narrow columns. Perhaps most importantly, Mercury was designed in ‘grades,’ four progressively more robust versions which allow designers to fine-tune the appearance of their typography based on the local conditions of their pressroom. Because all four grades are built to the same set of character widths, they can be used interchangeably without affecting copyfit. "With contributions from H&FJ designer Jesse Ragan, the Mercury family has been expanded to include all the specialized characters needed for a complete newspaper: tabular figures for sports statistics, extended monetary symbols for financial listings and small caps for bylines. The font comes not only in text and display versions, but a ‘Deck’ style for intermediate sizes."

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