The designers of the first outline or open types may possibly have been influenced by Fournier le jeune's cutting of decorated and shaded letters. If we accept the definition given below as being a reasonable description of a true outline or open type then Fournier himself does not appear to have cut one.
The earliest designs in this class appear to have begun as jobbing types. William Thorowgood shows examples of what he calls open types in his specimen books of 1821, 1828 and 1832, but open as a description of those types is a misnomer: they are without exception shaded versions of jobbing faces. But on the tide-page of the specimen book issued by Thorowgood in 1834 appear three examples of jobbing types in outline or open form. Vincent Figgins showed outline faces in his specimen book issued in the previous year.
Nicolette Gray in her Nineteenth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages says: 'One hardly notices the introduction of the first outline types in 1833; for not only are they very light, but also very small . . .The outlines are delicately cut and very fine so that the faces are aethereal'.
The names of the types in this group should be sufficiently descriptive of them: the thick stems of the letters are outlined (i.e. the stems are open) and not solid as in normal type. But the typefounders and manufacturers of type composing machinery have so thoroughly bedevilled our typographical nomenclature that the terms open, outline, shaded,