In 1909, Lettergieterij Amsterdam published Kaart Antieke. The name (Card Antique) refers to the copperplate engraved invitations, announcements, menus, stationery, and calling cards of the period. The type used in this early 20th-century ‘society printing’ ranged from formal blackletters and scripts to novelty sans serifs with decorated fills and shadows. Kaart Antieke, on the other hand, represents a more sober style of small-sized formal type: not flashy and frilly, but quiet and distinguished. The typeface is so restrained, in fact, that Piet Zwart used it for his famous, yet never officially published essay about modern typography called ‘Van oude tot nieuwe typografie’. It was a visit to the Meermanno Museum in Den Haag that Florian Schick discovered the only two remaining copies of Zwart’s essay. Struck by the historical value of this booklet, Schick Toikka promptly decided to revive the typeface it was set in.
Rather than working from the metal type itself, the foundry enlarged and examined the printed image in an effort to replicate the impression of the typeface as faithfully as possible. Trio Grotesk preserves certain features unique to letterpress printing, such as the soft stoke endings and junctions caused by ink spread and pressure. It also maintains the wide stance, loose spacing, and large lowercase required of such diminutive type.
Trio Grotesk expands the single found style to three weights plus italics with Latin Extended character sets for broad language support, OpenType features including several sets of numerals, as well as arrows, ornaments and dingbats.