Blacktop has been tweaked, expanded and reissued in celebration of National Woodtype Day on March 15. The uppercase and numbers were originally inspired by a woodtype font variously known as Gothic Bold, Jubilee, or Skidoo Caps, and completely redrawn for clean edges. The lowercase is my own invention, following the example of certain fonts (Hobo, Publicity Gothic, Broadway) in which the descenders do not go below the baseline.
CAPTAIN HOWDY was inspired by the font often seen on classic Ouija® boards. Yet another woodtype, “circus,” or “Western” font. Cleanly redrawn using my 70s-vintage wooden Ouija® board as a model. I never cared much for playing with it, I just liked the way it looks!
One of my popular early fonts is Captain Howdy, inspired by the lettering on a Ouija board, a rather jolly woodtype font with curved serifs and engraved highlights. Now there’s a whole new font, CAPTAIN HOOK, that marries the classic caps to an all-new lowercase. Because sometimes you just need lowercase.
CATTLE ANNIE is my unauthorized digital interpretation of the analog font “Les Catalanes.” According to ABZ: More alphabets and other signs by Rothenstein and Gooding, it was designed n 1952 by Enric Crous-Vidal (1908-1987) but was never produced. Other Crous-Vidal fonts include Paris, Flash, and Ilerda from Fundición Tipográfica Bauer.
CINDERELLA was inspired by a font in one of the great Dan X. Solo 100 font books. The lowercase g first caught my eye; it’s ultra-condensed which can be very useful. The font has been retired for a number of years now. I had reason to use it recently and thought it was time to dust it off and round it out.
JIM DANDY is my interpretation of a font that originated in the 1850′s as Gothic Shade from the Dickinson Type Foundry. It boldly suggests a political broadside, a circus poster, or a Western sign. Later this font would be known as Tombstone and Jim Crow as it was subsequently issued by other foundries in other formats. Jeff Levine jogged my memory with a scan of this gem from a 1970s dry-transfer catalog; thanks, Jeff.
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.
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.
OKLAHOMA was inspired by the opening titles of the classic film of the same name (1955, directed by Fred Zinnemann, art direction by Joseph C. Wright.) A fancy wood type that sings, a nice compliment to the early 1900s setting of the story. If only they’d had this font when they designed the DVD!
SAGEBRUSH is a decorative font with a Western flavor, its distinctive dots and curves and suggesting silver conchos, sheriffs’ badges, cowhides and spurs. In reality, it was inspired by the logo of the legendary NYC punk club CBGB OMFUG. When you learn that CBGB stood for “country, bluegrass, blues,” it’s easier to see what they were going for with this design, so far from punk typography.
SEAFARE is a jolly 19th-century style font. It’s bold and decorative with a hint of sea waves was inspired by the hand-lettered titles of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1949 costume drama Under Capricorn, art directed by Thomas N. Morahan. Available in solid, outline and beaded varieties which can be layered as in the image on this page.
SIDESHOW is my second Ouija® board font! (The other is Captain Howdy)
This one was adapted from an older, stencil-printed Ouija® board. The printing was fairly crude, so I kept the texture (unlike Captain Howdy which is very smooth.) What really appealed to me is how similar the stencil gaps and the spaces between the letters were, the letters seem to break into pieces.
WESTERN AVENUE is a pair of fun fonts with triangular “latin” serifs and spurs. The bouncy irregularity befits their inspiration: the unsigned 1950s album cover at left. Includes upper and lowercase, numbers, punctuation and international characters. OpenType features include stylistic alternates and discretionary ligatures for a more random, hand-lettered feel. An earlier caps-only version in this style was called Western Egg.
WOODWIND was inspired by the opening titles of the classic 1939 film Gone With The Wind, directed by Victor Fleming, production designed by William Cameron Menzies, art direction by Lyle R. Wheeler. As you can see from the frame at left, the title appears on screen very large, a word at a time, blowing from right to left.