-Historic Styles-

VALENTIN was inspired by the work of Valentin Haüy (pictured), creator of the first books for the blind. His comprehensive plan, as outlined in Essay on the Education of the Blind, included instruction in both reading raised print and writing longhand with an iron stylus to create indentations; for this dual purpose a cursive style was used. Blind people would learn print their own books and Haüy envisioned the eventual inclusion of other faces similar to conventional type. Although it may now seem a complicated design for first teaching the blind to read, it’s also a beautiful but rather eccentric… continued

THANKSGIVING was inspired by this handlettered “Buzza-type” motto (left). Grandma would have had a couple of these homilies tacked up in little frames. My partner, Al, collects them and I became interested in the lettering on this one in particular. The feel is of handlettering in imitation of print, rather than the other way around. Includes upper and lowercase, numbers, punctuation, and international characters.

The SONNET fonts were inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnets as published by Thomas Thorpe, 1609, just 400 years ago. Working from a facsimile edition, I selected the clearest examples of each character while preserving the overall texture of the original printing. A good alternative to the overused Caslon Antique. The graceful italics appear only occasionally in the Sonnets, usually to embellish a proper name. To complete the Italic and Swash Caps fonts, I studied a facsimile of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, published by Edward Blount and William & Isaac Jaggard, 1623. Complete set includes 5 fonts: Regular, with lining… continued

The three SANITARY fonts were inspired by an old (1920s? 30s?) package, pictured here. Rather a Deco text font, mostly sans with a few residual serifs. I made the Regular directly from the sample above, then rounded out the family with the bolder and wider Demi and Bold Caps. I’ve loosened the spacing somewhat and kerned accordingly. Each font includes upper and lowercase, numbers, punctuation, and international characters.

My version of ROOSEVELT began with a request by Rob Case for the font once used on Aeolian pianos and organs. I drew the letters from analog examples, regularizing and filling out the set. Subsequently another correspondent, Richard Vance, told me the history of the design (at right) and showed me more examples of the original font in action, prompting the revised version which now includes small caps and a more conventional T. (The curvy one is now located at | and \.) If you like this font, please see my Celtic Knot Monograms. According to Rollin Smith’s “The Aeolian… continued

The Retrospace font was inspired by the hand-lettered opening credits of the film Some Came Running (1958). The Long, Hot Summer (another 20th Century Fox production from 1958) has similar credits; the films do not share directors or art directors. Font includes large and small caps, numbers, punctuation, and international characters.

The 4 RÉPUBLIQUE fonts were inspired by the lettering on this style of Paris Metro sign, designed by the architect Adolphe Dervaux and first installed in 1924. This design coexists with the more famous Art Nouveau “Metropolitain” signs, designed by Hector Guimard in 1900 and made of sinuous wrought iron. The “Candelabra Dervaux” uses simpler Art Deco letterforms, cut out of red metal, and illuminated from the back. The double row of stencil-style supports resembles train tracks. For fun, I’ve included a few alternate characters in the lowercase positions and created a Solid font without the horizontal lines, and two… continued

POIGNANT is an elegant titling font that combines aspected of a Didone (“modern”) with calligraphic flourishes. Inspired by the hand-lettered titles of certain Twentieth Century Fox films such as All About Eve (1950), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), and Niagara (1953)–all art-directed by Lyle Wheeler, perhaps a clue to the original hand. And if you really like film titles too, check out this site. Each font includes caps, lower case, numbers, punctuation, and international characters.

VICARAGE, RECTORY and PARSONAGE are separate but related decorative fonts, each with a romantic, historical feel and inspired by hand-lettered film titles. Each could also be used to suggest Olde Worlde gentility, holiday festivity, or spirituality. Each font is all caps with many alternate forms for more variety and looks great as LARGE and SMALL CAPS. VICARAGE, the boldest of the three, was inspired by the trailer of the film The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), art directed by Anton Grot. RECTORY, suggestive of pen calligraphy, was inspired by the opening credits of Going My Way (1944), art… continued

NATIONAL DEBT is the all-new, 2-font version of my “Savings Bond” font, first released in 1998. It was originally created for a 1940s-style event when I couldn’t find the font I imagined. (Later I discovered the existing font I’d wanted is called Futura Display, Function Display, Gumshoe, etc.) But my version was independently created and now has a distinctive highlighted companion font. Each font includes upper and lowercase, numbers, punctuation, and international characters. Another one of Dennis’ Font Play creations.

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