ACE OF CLUBS is a decorative display font with its roots in the 19th century. The unique trefoil or club-shaped terminals give it a certain jolliness, inspired by the former “lollipop” logo of the A&P supermarket chain. Starting with just 2 letters, I expanded it into a complete font with upper- and lowercase, numbers, punctuation, and the rest.
AEOLIAN is a narrow, elegant font that was inspired by the lettering on a pipe organ manufactured by the Aeolian Company. My friend Nelson got me started with scans of the various stop labels, like the one at left, found on the amazing Longwood Gardens Aeolian organ which he has worked to restore.
The ALBANITA fonts were inspired by the city of Albany, New York, my hometown for over 30 years. Albany has a distinctive look and character that has often influenced my work, and that I’ve deliberately tried to capture here, if not literally. There are no “Egg” shaped letters, no Dutch-style peaks, no bricks.
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.
My BOSTON LINE fonts were inspired by Boston Line Type, developed in the 1830s by Samuel Gridley Howe (left) for use in raised-letter printing for the blind. The odd diamond-shaped a, d, and o and generous spacing give the inkless, embossed pages a strange beauty. A variety of books were eventually printed with this distinctive type, including a beautiful Bible of in 1842. Many blind people found Roman letters difficult to read and all such systems were eventually replaced by Braille. Howe’s legacy lives on in Boston’s Perkins School for the Blind, which he founded.
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.”
COLUMBIA STAMP was suggested by my correspondent Marsha, who sent me scans and lots of encouragement. It’s based on her set of vintage rubber stamps and has a smoother edge and straighter alignment than my other stamp fonts.
COMFY has the bold but friendly look of cutout letters. Inspired by an example of “Pinselschrift” (brush lettering) by Wilhelm Dechert*. Has the feel of a handlettered version of a 20th-century geometric font like Paul Renner’s Futura* or Rudolf Koch’s Kabel.
The DOMINICAN set began with a font from Dan X. Solo’s series from Dover, name and all. Of course it’s designed to look like corroded old type. It’s a good alternative from the overused Caslon Antique. Subsequently I created companion fonts of italics and small caps.
EPICURUS was inspired by Roman manuscripts on papyrus from Herculaneum. I’ve modernized the forms of the distinctive capitals, adding the “new” letters, lowercase and non-Roman numerals. Epicurus has a clean stroke and the feel of a contemporary sans serif.
Like its predecessor, Gaumont, GAINSBOROUGH was inspired by the hand-lettered titles of an Alfred Hitchcock film. The Lady Vanishes (1938) was produced by Gaumont-British, and is identified as “A Gainsborough Picture” in the opening credits. Another quirky sans serif.
GALATHEA is my digital interpretation of a classic font of the same name. I’ve seen it in several sources (Dan X. Solo books and Alphabets & other signs by Rothenstein and Gooding), always with this name, but not in digital.
The GAUMONT fonts are based on the hand-lettered titles of the film The 39 Steps (1935), a Gaumont-British Picture, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The regular and italic both appear in the opening titles. I’ve taken a few liberties, regularizing the characters but preserving the quirkier letterforms and rounding out the font in the same spirit.
The Gilded Age is a set of ornate fonts with decorative details reminiscent of that period, the late 19th century in the US. Tricked out with “mustachio” serifs, spurs, and inlines, the Gilded Age captures the flashy ornamentation the name suggests. The set includes upper- and lowercase, with and without the engraved lines, and a large and small caps version including extra fancy large caps.
This ornamental, calligraphic font was suggested to me by Bruce Baryla, who also proposed the name GRACEFUL GHOST. Here is all the information I have about the original: Completely redrawn–not traced–for very smooth lines. Looks great reversed and, of course, BIG.
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.
McKinley is a series of fonts with the bold but graceful style of hand-painted signs, inspired by the titles of several early silent films, including The Great Train Robbery, The Kleptomaniac, and others directed by Edwin S. Porter for Edison Studios.