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.
NEUROTOXIN was inspired by the Xerox Corporation’s former X logo, designed in 1994 by Landor Associates. Each letter is modified to appear to be forming from, or dissipating into, pixels, suggesting a transition from digital to analog and back. The basic letterforms are patterned after a bold Didone-type font. Serve with a nice Bodoni or even Times Roman.
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.
PESSIMA combines elegance and corrosion. It was inspired by the opening titles of the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the 1978 version, my favorite, directed by Philip Kaufman, titles by Pacific Title). It appears to be a corroded, bold version of Optima*, Hermann Zapf’s classic “serifless roman” from 1958. In the film, the corrosion varies from letter to letter and cleverly suggests the biologic horror to come.
PHARMACY was inspired by the sign at a local (Albany, NY) drugstore. Waiting at the red light, I’d often stared at the sign, admiring its jolly and curious mix of upper and lowercase, and of course the peculiar asymmetrical capital A.
PIECES is designed to look like a partially assembled jigsaw puzzle. The letters interlock automatically as you type. Use _ | or \ instead of a space to connect your words. The basic letterforms are my “unicase” takeoff on Freeman Craw’s ubiquitous Ad Lib font (1961).
POPSTARS was inspired by the hand lettering on the cover of the classic Beatles album, Magical Mystery Tour. The B from Beatles is about actual size at left; weren’t vinyl album covers great? This pair of fonts can be used separately or layered as in the animation on this page.
Instead of making something that people want, that I could sell, I made this silly experiment: PRETZ. The idea is that each letter has been broken, cut, or chewed out of a conventional twisted pretzel shape. As I only cheated on a couple of characters ($ ¢ ¥ Œ Æ), you have to use a bit of imagination to read them all. It comes in both Salted and Unsalted varieties.
RADIO was inspired by the old logo of NPR, National Public Radio. Obviously, the line pattern suggests broadcasting. The letters are square and of a uniform width, great for short headings, drop caps, and the like.
SCREWBALL was inspired by the hand-lettered titles of the movie “What’s Up, Doc?,” Madeline Kahn’s first film. I’m offering this font for free, in Madeline’s memory, but ask that you send a contribution ($5 would be really nice) to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund or National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. THANK YOU!
SKIDZ was inspired by a sticker in which the letters where superimposed over a tire tread pattern. I’ve created my own tread pattern, subtracting letters based on Max Kaufmann’s classic font Balloon. When you type, the letters align to form an entire tire mark with white letters. The brackets and underscore can be used to create natural-shaped ends and patterned space between words.
The Regular and Jumbled versions of STAMP ACT were made from scans of cheap commercial rubber stamps. The awkward design of the letters suggests a vintage packing crate. A big font company sells something called Rubber Stamp but this, and my other rubber stamp fonts which can be found on this site, are more like real stamping. The jumbled version has randomized placement.
SUNSET is another special effects font, simulating letters sinking into water and making rippled reflections. The basic letterforms are based on an unreleased condensed version of my Bride of the Monster font. It pushes legibility but could be very effective in the right context.
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.
Alfred Hitchock’s The Birds (1963) is one of my favorite films. This font was inspired by its opening titles which were designed by James S. Pollak. Each name appears in a serifless roman font, then is broken up and reassembled by the images of birds flapping past.
The letterforms are my own variation on Optima with certain letters altered to match the film’s. The bird shapes are based on my own photos of swarming crows on Thanksgiving 2004. The result doesn’t match the individual film titles, but suggests the entire sequence of breaking letters and passing birds.
TOYNBEE IDEA was inspired by the mysterious Toynbee tiles phenomenon. Like the original tiles, these letters appears to have been cut out with a knife. You may have stepped over this strange crosswalk art and not realized the tiles have been a source of wonder for over 20 years. My photo of a weathered Philadelphia tile is at left; that’s the primary message of the tiles.
For more information including a possible explanation, you should watch the 2011 film, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles.
WILLING RACE is my adaptation of the opening credits of the TV show Will & Grace, originally designed by Number Seventeen. Like those, I’ve mixed large and small caps with roman and italic lowercase, all based on Times Roman. There are alternates of each x-height character for nearly infinite variation.
As suggested by Sara, I have added a more accurate (to the show credits) engraved “Modern” style ampersand.