ALHAMBRA was inspired by the look of Kufi (or Kufic) script, a style of Arabic calligraphy characterized by a square, angular construction. The letters are linked, like all Arabic script, but do not have the sweeping curves of Legende and other fonts used to simulate Arabic. A second font, Alhambra Deep, has a double-thick baseline.
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.”
CHINESE GOTHIC is an experiment, another font mashup. What would happen if you crossed an imitation 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.
CHOW FUN is, of course, a faux-Chinese, faux-stencil font. The stencil gaps give this round, wide-set alphabet a little sparkle. It is based on a sample of hand lettering identified as “Crooks’ Stencil Designed Alphabet” in “Alphabets: Ancient & Modern,” compiled by J. B. Russell and published in 1945 by Padell Book Co.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SEOUL is another pseudo-Asian font, but this time it’s modeled after Korean rather than the usual Chinese or Japanese script. The basic design is contemporary, rather than brush-like.
SEOUL CAPS recreates the uniform weight and width of the Korean letters and borrows or approximates a number of actual forms.
The companion font, SEOUL STACKING, can be used to intersperse stacked pairs of letters (as in the sample block) for a more authentically “Korean” look. To get a stacked pair, you simply type the upper letter in upper case, then the lower letter in lower case. Obviously this is for special effects and not continuous reading. The Read Me file contains instructions for using this unusual font.
SHAZI was inspired by the beautiful anthropomorphic calligraphy by the Iranian artist of the same name. The Freer Gallery in Washington, DC has a beautiful silver pen case (left) encircled by an inscription of human- and animal-headed letters, signed and dated 1210-11 A.D. Another example in the connected Sackler Gallery has similar letterfoms, but only humans.
For my adaptation, I started with my own warped version of the classic Art Nouveau font Japanet, then added the squarish faces. I’ve used only lowercase letters because they best resembled the standing figures of the original.