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Explore Fonts: Bell MT

We look at Bell MT, a serif font family created in 1788.


In 1788, Richard Austin created Bell, a serif typeface for the British Letter Foundry. Since then, this typeface went through an amazing journey. The typeface faded after its initial popularity with newspaper and magazine printers. Bell did find more favor in the United States during the 19th and the 20th centuries, and it was revived in 1931 by Monotype Corporation. Bell MT became a popular typeface, right up there along with Baskerville and Bodoni. Bell MT also made the transition from analog to digital. It gained popularity and wide acceptance when Microsoft bundled Bell MT as part of its Microsoft Office installations.

Look closely at Bell in Figure 1, below and you can see how balanced and squared this font looks in all variations.

Bell at MyFonts
Figure 1: Bell at MyFonts

Considering that Bell has been around a long time and that most users had free access to this font via Microsoft Office, it is surprising that people ended up using more of Algerian, Comic Sans, or Papyrus rather than Bell, which is such as easy to read typeface.

The fact that Bell has been around for two centuries does mean that it has a timeless quality. Yet, Bell is not an economical font as far as slide space is concerned. It takes far more space than many other fonts, and when mistakenly try to squeeze in as much text as possible on a slide, you can understand that they would stay away from Bell.

Look at Figure 2, below and you will see that Bell works well at a size of at least 20 points. Anything lower, and Bell may not be very readable. I think that’s a blessing because Bell is tailor-made for presentations where we would like to use a larger font size as the smallest-sized text.

Bell needs to be at least 20 points size
Figure 2: Bell needs to be at least 20 points size

Do you want to see more examples of using Bell? Head to the Bell page on the Fonts in Use site.

See Also: Use Safe Fonts Available on All Systems in PowerPoint

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