-Faux Foreign-

Minaret is a bold display font with a rather exotic feel. Instead of mimicking foreign text, Minaret’s swirled tops suggest the rooftops of far-off lands. Or maybe it looks like whipped cream and icing! Minaret was inspired by examples of hand-lettering from 1922.

Asian Flavor is a pan-Asian pastiche. Borrowing from multiple Asian scripts—dots from the Middle East, bars from South Asia, strokes from the Far East—this font attempts to suggest Asian languages while still writing in the Latin alphabet. About as authentically “Asian” as my homemade lettuce wraps with some ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil: tasty and accessible but not really Asian. Asian Flavor was inspired by this vintage hand-lettered sign at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Mikado Monograms is a set of 3 fonts you can use to create custom monograms in a distinctive and graceful style. The curvy calligraphic letterforms and decorative borders suggest both Art Nouveau and the Far East. The impulse for Western artists to find inspiration in Eastern art and design goes back to the earliest contacts, continuing through Van Gogh and the present day. Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta provides the font name and reflects the sensibility: born of fascination, a freeform appropriation with little resemblance to the original culture. These letterforms are derived from an earlier font revival of mine, Boomerang.

Chifa is a set of fonts combining the trapezoid of Inca architecture with wedge-shaped strokes. Chifa Base has the wide side at the base and Chifa Tope has the weight at the top, making them well-suited for arranging text in a circle. Chifa Combo combines both styles in a single, easy-to-use font; if you TyPe LiKe ThIs—that is, alternating caps and lowercase—the letters automatically fit together. In Peru, I saw several examples of lettering that used the trapezoid, such as this monument in Cusco seen below that also incorporates a trapezoidal aperture like those at Machu Picchu and elsewhere. “Chifa”… continued

RUBAIYAT is based on this wonderful hand-lettered fruit-crate label with an exotic “Eastern” feel. I redrew the 7 letters, then invented the missing ones and other characters. I also created a set of six fonts–Engraved, Inline, Solid, Thin, Outline, and Shadow–that can be used together or separately.

CHINESE GOTHIC is an experiment, another font mashup. What would happen if you crossed a pseudo “Chinese” font with a blackletter? Although they have very different origins, they have a comparable form; both are calligraphic, fragmented, and high contrast. I used Monotype Old English as a guide and drew and arranged three-point “brushstokes” in the manner of Wonton and many other such fonts. Check out this citation on a German fraktur site. The full font includes caps, lowercase, numbers, punctuation, and international characters.

BRUCE MIKITA is my digital version of an analog font of the same name. It has a rustic, hand-crafted feel and suggests East Asian calligraphy. The highlight is a distinctive feature; I’ve also made an un-highlighted version, which Dan X. Solo identifies as “Lantern.” At long last, its origin has been revealed to me by Herman: “Since you ask, there is no Bruce Mikita. The type you digitized was issued by George Bruce’s Son & Co’s New-York Type-Foundry. It was patented 12 Feb 1867. It was called by them Ornamented no. 1048. When Phoenix typefounders got some mats they invented… continued

PAD THAI is my attempt at a Roman alphabet font that simulates the look of Thai script. The Thai alphabet is syllabic with 44 consonants. Most of the characters include a small loop, there is only once case, diacritic marks are used to indicate vowels and tones, and spaces are not used between words. These characteristics create a striking texture that I have tried to suggest with this font. It includes the full Roman alphabet and many alternates, numbers, punctuation, and international characters. More: When using the Pad Thai font, use lots of åcçèñt márks even if you don’t need… continued

Exotic, “Egyptian” MYSTIC PROPHET is my third font inspired by Ouija boards, or, strictly speaking, talking boards. (This one is from another company, Haskelite, from the 1940s.) My friend Wink first brought it to my attention. The planchette (the divining tool) is shown here; you can find much more information at the Museum of Talking Boards. My other talking board fonts are Captain Howdy and Sideshow. Includes caps, numbers, punctuation, and international characters. Planchette image courtesy of the Museum of Talking Boards.        

FONT SHUI was inspired by a style of hand-lettering illustrated in “Alphabets: Ancient & Modern,” compiled by J. B. Russell (Padell, 1946). It was referred to as “Modern Oriental Alphabet” there and no designer was named. The font blends the appearance of the most ancient Chinese characters with a sleek Art Deco style. Coincidentally, after completing Font Shui, I found the book cover at left. The design is by Aleksandr Rodchenko for the eponymous The Chinese Girl Sume-Cheng, from 1929. The Cyrillic letters easily adapt to the same style! Includes caps, numbers, punctuation, and international characters.

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