-Famous Artists-

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. JJ STENCIL 3.0 now includes upper and lowercase. I finally found an appropriate lowercase stencil and… continued

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. The complete version of each font contains two forms of each letter (plus alternates), numbers, punctuation, and international… continued

The BRIDE OF THE MONSTER fonts were first inspired by the trailer of the classic film Bride of Frankenstein (1935). The handlettered titles strongly resemble Rudolph Koch’s NEULAND, which contains only caps. (The legendary Neuland was originally handcarved in the 1920s by Koch and remains popular under a variety of names.) My first attempts at the lowercase were made using black paper cutouts. For design reference, I also looked at other Koch fonts like Koch Antigua (also called Locarno or Eve) and, especially, Kabel. My lowercase is “married” to Koch’s original creation, hence the name. This font is dedicated to… continued

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. The new OpenType version of Bensgothic allows you to access the ligatures easily. In applications that support OpenType features, enable “discretionary ligatures.” Type your text in ALL CAPS to automatically use the ligatures as available. Type in lowercase (or MiXeD cAsE) to… continued

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.” Shahn used this lettering to represent the speech of the common person, and it blended perfectly with his pen work Shahn also lived to see his work–itself… continued

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…. continued

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. Bob Trogman writes, “I worked on the Alcoa font while working for Saul Bass. The Alcoa project lasted over a year and a half. Half way through the project a presentation was made to the board in Pittsburgh and one of the board members said the logo looked too much like ALCAN’s logo and we started all over. Don Handel did the actual… continued

ZITZ is my second cartoon font, based on the hand lettering in the King Features daily strip Zits by Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott. According to Robert C. Harvey’s thoughtful Children of the Yellow Kid: The Evolution of the American Comic Strip, “Zits” is a “teenage strip…ostensibly drawn by Borgman and written by Scott…. Borgman produces the final art.” The tall, tight lettering and expressive drawing style of Borgman’s political cartoons has long appealed to me; since 1997, “Zits” has represented a daily dose of his art. The scratchy outlines of the letters reflect both the artist’s pen and the… continued

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. Includes caps, punctuation, numbers,… continued

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. Although armed with photographs, including some very good close-ups, I still wanted more detail to get the right feel. So I embroidered all the letters and numbers I needed, in imitation of the style of the original, and made the font from… continued

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