The 2 ALÚMINO fonts were inspired by font designed for Alcoa, the aluminum company. Sleek, clean, modern, light and flexible. I’ve also made a narrower version with the same stroke weight, although it appears somewhat darker overall.
AUTEUR was inspired by the work of Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), the French writer, filmmaker, and artist. At left, he can be seen handwriting the opening titles of his fantastic film Beauty and the Beast (1946) on a blackboard. He also made many drawings and paintings, often including a variation of this expressive, whimsical script.
In researching this font, I looked at hundreds of pages of his drawings and letters. There was a range of clarity and character-formation; I’ve patterned this after his more deliberate lettering rather than that of his correspondence; the latter was useful for numbers and other characters. I redrew each character with the rough texture of pen, brush, or even chalk lines.
The BENSFOLK fonts were inspired by the work of the artist Ben Shahn. He was a political activist, a painter, and a calligrapher, among many talents.
One of the lettering styles Shahn used was derived from the work of amateur sign painters. As trained artists often react to the work of so-called naive or folk artists, he found their crude beauty to be “cacophonous and utterly unacceptable. Being so it is irresistibly interesting.”
BENSGOTHIC was inspired by the work of the artist Ben Shahn. (See also Bensfolk)
This style–which Shahn applied to psalms, Christmas cards, posters, and many other item—suggests inscriptional capitals like those of Byzantine mosaics, the Bayeux tapestry, or medieval manuscripts. He made great use of fanciful ligatures, which are included in the font for a totally hand-lettered feel.
BIRDWHISTLE is a handwriting font with an artistic flair. Inspired by notes from the artist Willie Marlowe, Birdwhistle is like its namesake: pretty, playful, distinctive and a little unpredictable. Birdwhistle mixes upper- and lowercase in a creative way, and includes alternate characters for an even more spontaneous look.
BLUELAKEHAWK is a collaboration with my friend, Jason Martinez, an artist and teacher. Jason is inspired by his love of Southwest Pueblo pottery patterns and tribal art. He is a registered member of the Taos Pueblo and takes inspiration from his heritage. I started with 8 letters from Jason and developed the rest.
So Voltaire wrote this book called Candide. The beautiful 1928 edition was illustrated by the artist Rockwell Kent. Beside full page drawings and decorative drop caps, there were eleven tiny dingbats used, instead of indenting, to separate paragraphs.
DENNEY ONE and DENNEY TWO are based on the handlettering found on a number of greeting cards produced by the Barker Greeting Card Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, circa 1969-1974. I had guessed these were the work of Paul Coker, but I have learned this style was originated by Alan Denney.
Denney One is more whimsical. The letterforms were autotraced to preserve the bumpy feel of hand lettering, and then refined. Denney Two is more dynamic. Its letterforms were drawn by point and curve.
JJ STENCIL was inspired by the work of the great American Pop artist Jasper Johns. Perhaps best known for his flag and target series, Johns has also used the “found” look of stencils in many drawings and paintings, including “0-9″ at left.
My fonts were not made directly from Johns’ work, but from scans of my own similar stencil scratchings. There are four complete fonts, each with a different treatment of the letters. The fonts are designed to be mixed or layered or both.
KING HAROLD was inspired by the embroidered lettering on the famous Bayeux Tapestry.
The Tapestry was made c.1073-83 and records King Harold’s adventures and loss at the Battle of Hastings to William the Conqueror, with a special appearance by Halley’s Comet. It measures 230 feet long (69 meters) and is one of the great examples of Romanesque art.
KOCH QUADRAT is based on the work of the great type designer Rudolf Koch (1876-1934). Among his many remarkable and long-lived font designs are Kabel (also called Cable, Geometric 231, and Boulder), Koch Antiqua (Eve, Locarno, and Lilith), Neuland (100 other names and variants, including my Bride), Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch, and many others. Koch was a calligrapher, a pious man, a teacher, and a war veteran. Koch Quadrat is derived from his demonstration of constructing each Roman capital. Using simple geometric elements, Koch developed a set of seven diagrams (appearing in the center of the animation on this page) combining similar letters within a square (Quadrat). These would make fine initials and combine easily with Kabel, Koch Antiqua and others.
KOCH RIVOLI is my digital version of Rudolf Koch’s original.
Although now known as Rivoli, in other references it is called simply “Zierbuchstaben” (decorative book initials), intended as a companion font to Koch Antiqua, which is also known as Locarno, Eve, and Lilith. Try it with one of those (or Bernhard Modern) if you need a number or a bit of punctuation.
POPSTREET is a pair of fonts inspired by the work of Keith Haring (1958-1990) an artist whose work referenced both Pop and street art. Haring first became known for his graffiti-style drawings done in the subway, but was also respected for his gallery work and public art, his accessible, affordable design, and his social activism.
REPENT was inspired by the work of Jesse Howard (1885-1983), a folk/outsider/naive artist. I first saw his work in Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century, published as an exhibition catalog by the Museum of American Folk Art. What is striking to me about Howard’s work is the intense effort contained in his paintings-as-rants, and the overall texture of their deliberate lettering. Howard’s work can be seen in the collection of the Kansas City (MO) Art Institute.
SYNCOPATED SCRIPT was loosely inspired by the work of the painter Stuart Davis. His jazzy canvases bridge Cubism and Pop Art, often featuring words, written in this style and others. Davis’s work always seems fresh and inventive to me.
After looking at all the reproductions of Davis’s paintings I could find, I used some of his writings and my own intuition to fill out the alphabet. I’ve tried to maintain both the erratic, jumpy quality and the continuous linking. The originals were painted; these feel as if they were cut out of paper.
TAPEWORM was inspired by the work of the great L.A. artist Ed Ruscha. His characteristic work includes drawings and paintings of words: a single word, found language, and the like. This is one of the styles he’s used, which he has referred to as “Boy Scout utility modern.” It’s precise but awkward and looks like the letters an obsessive amateur sign painter would make with masking tape, of uniform weight but curious formation. If you like Ruscha, treat yourself to a copy of his book, “They Called Her Styrene,” or check out his page on artsy.com.
The Wm Blake fonts were inspired by the work of the great English poet and artist. William Blake (1757-1827) wrote, illustrated, lettered, printed, and hand-colored his “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience”, inventing a new form of printmaking along the way, all very inspirational to me as a printmaker and font designer. These fonts maintain the romantic charm of Blake’s original hand lettering—quite different from typeset—in both roman and italic forms as he used.