The five PROJECT fonts were inspired by the hand-lettered titles of the film Project Moon Base (1953). Tucker brought them to my attention with a couple of very clean stills. I only knew the film from a grainy tape of when they lampooned it on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s my favorite kind of scifi: laughably dated, fake, and earnest. (Also used in Crash of Moons.)
PUB SMOOTH was inspired by the classic font Publicity Gothic, which was “based on the sturdy woodcut display faces of the late 19th century.” Remarkable for its fat, friendly letterforms and bumpy outline. Adobe sells a fine version and if that’s what you want, buy it from them, as I did.
QUEER THEORY is my attempt to make a monospaced font with a less predictable feel. I was thinking about fonts like Envision, Democratica and Rotis Semi Serif, with their hybrid letterforms and irregular application of serifs.
QUINCE is a brush script with a different attitude. The basic letterforms were inspired by Murray Hill (Emil J. Klumpp, 1956). I’ve completely redrawn the letterforms with a rough “art brush” to produce an expressive, painterly line, rather than a pen line. Could be crayon, lipstick, of graffiti. More “Bratz®” than “Barbie®”.
The REBECCA font was inspired by the distinctive and stylish handwriting of the title character of the classic film. Rebecca (1940) was based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The title character is dead and not even a portrait of her is ever seen. Her handwriting appears several times in the film and is perhaps the thing that most personalizes her. Her large initial R appears embroidered on a number of her possessions, including the pillow in flames at left. Rebecca’s signature, address book, and correspondence all appear in closeups as evidence of her existence.
REBUS FONT is a dingbat font that contains a quirky variety of images in a snazzy retro style. They’re drawn from a couple of 1960s editions of the home version of the TV game show Concentration that featured rebus puzzles that had to be revealed and then solved. The rebus is as old as Egyptian hieroglyphics; a simple picture is substituted for all or part of a word.
RED CIRCLE was inspired by the font formerly used on the Eight O’Clock brand coffees. These brands (which were sold at A&P stores) included Bokar and Red Circle. The smell of fresh ground coffee and this lettering are forever linked in my memory.
REPENT was inspired by the work of Jesse Howard (1885-1983), a folk/outsider/naive artist. I first saw his work in Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century, published as an exhibition catalog by the Museum of American Folk Art. What is striking to me about Howard’s work is the intense effort contained in his paintings-as-rants, and the overall texture of their deliberate lettering. Howard’s work can be seen in the collection of the Kansas City (MO) Art Institute.
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.
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.
Obviously, RICECAKES was designed to look like grains of rice arranged to form letters. It was my very first font design, planned for an event at Albany’s Rice Gallery, but was not completed in time. The letterforms are patterned after the classic Franklin Gothic, although I did alter the 1 (not gothic enough!)
RINGPIN was inspired by the style of body piercing. Not my own style, but interesting to observe. In designing this font, I was rather limited to geometric components, and drew each with a crisp highlight. Most letters take the lowercase form, sometimes with alternates. The letters did not want to align neatly, so they assume a variegated arrangment.
Playful, beachy ROAD JESTER was inspired by the logo of Trader Joe’s, the offbeat grocery chain. My challenge was to carry the somewhat naive, hand-lettered style throughout the alphabet, numbers and punctuation. Then after going to Bilbao and seeing all the wonderful Basque-style typography, I added an alternate A and I for extra flavor.
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 \.)
ROSELYN is one of a series of four vertical script fonts, including Scarlet Ribbons, Famous Label and Easter Parade. (As seen in the Script Font Identification Guide!) This one has sharp, pen-like edges, a lighter color, and the most elegance of the three. It’s based on an unnamed style of hand-lettering in Lettering and Alphabets by J. Albert Cavanagh, 1946, reprinted in 1955 by Dover. I’ve named my font after my mother.
ROUGH DRAFT is designed to look like unfinished lettering–it appears that the outlines need to be cleaned up and it’s not filled in completely. Despite its roughness, it has some of the elegance of a technical drawing. Suggested in part by “Layout Gothic” in Dan X. Solo’s “100 Grunge Alphabets” from Dover, and by Greg Smith.
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.
RUDLAND HAND is a calligraphic font, inspired by the work of the British artist and designer Peter Rudland. As explained in his book From Scribble to Script (John De Graff, 1956) Rudland was an advocate of this style of script–italic hand–as a way to improve one’s handwriting. So although it may seem like ornamental calligraphy, Rudland intended that ordinary people would develop this beautiful, flowing, pen lettering. You could use the font as a resource for practicing your own script or, if your handwriting is as hopeless as mine, a convenient substitute.