These 16 mysterious dingbats were culled from a small text called Ecce Orienti or Rites and Ceremonies of the Essenes. Published in 1894, this appears to be a ritual manual of a defunct, quasi-Masonic order. The symbols were integrated in the heavily contracted text to make it nearly unreadable to an outsider.
FLORES first appeared in 2001, inspired by this florist’s sign in Valencia, Spain. I started with the 6 given letters and made up the others. With a happy 70s deco feel, the 7-petalled flowers are negative spaces which appear as the background or paper color. Now, thanks to a discussion on Typophile, I have seen more original letters, as in “Sachet Discret” and “Fleurdon” (below) and added them to the font. I was also happy to see that Flores (with my original C and H) appeared in this CBS News segment about typography.
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.
GAMERA was inspired by the hand-lettered titles of the English-language version of certain Gamera films. The font is emphatic and primitive with a rough organic edge, rather like its giant mutated namesake.
GOOD VIBES is my digital version of the Letraset font “Good Vibrations” designed by Trevor Hatchett and released in 1973. Janet Wilson, one of my dear font correspondents, sent me a scan of an unused sheet of the Letraset original.
A fun little font with a second-hand history. The basic idea came from my recollection of a rough sketch.* The handprints are combined with a knockoff version of Morris Fuller Benton’s classic Hobo font. Besides the hands, it differs from regular Hobo in that it is much bolder and has descending lowercase letters.
Like its predecessor Calaveras, HEARTLAND is a take-off on the classic 60s flower font Daisyland*. This time I’ve substituted hearts for the original flowers. For the animation on this page, companion fonts containing just the hearts (pink) and more background hearts (maroon) were used; these are available à la carte.
HORSE SENSE is a fun font with all the letters made out of horse shoes. The shoe sizes vary, some are whole and some are cut and “welded” together, as in the original sign that inspired it. And there are many alternates for extra fun.
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.
KING XMAS is a versal, or Lombardic, alphabet inspired by a small sample in a 1930s Speedball book. The current version combines two fonts in one: solid in the uppercase positions, white-starred letters (like the words above) at the lowercase position. It pairs nicely with a bold blackletter font like Fette Fraktur.
LIBELED LADY was inspired by the hand-lettered titles of the film of the same name (1936). It’s an enjoyable romantic comedy directed by Jack Connolly and starring Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Spencer Tracy, art directed by Cedric Gibbons , William A. Horning, and Edwin B. Willis.
MADFONT was one inspired by the great MAD magazine logo, the older, un-italicized one of course. It was one of my first fonts, released back in 1998, the work of a fan who grew up reading MAD and loving its parodies and graphics.
The MARITIME FLAGS fonts are based on the international flag code. Each flag represents a letter or number. These would be flown on board a vessel, not printed. However, the monochrome font can be used to add a decorative or nautical motif.
MEAN 26 was inspired by Alphabet 26, Bradbury Thompson’s famous 1950 proposal for redesigning the alphabet. The idea was that there would be just one case, favoring the uppercase forms except for a, e, m and n, totaling 26. There would be a large and small version of each to use as capitals.
Mr Kite began with a 19th-century woodtype font variously known as Jubilee and Gothic Bold. The heavy weight at the top gives it an offbeat character. My original version of that is called Blacktop, rounded out with lowercase. For this variation, I added a distressed texture that suggests a weathered sign or a well-worn T-shirt.