The BENSFOLK fonts were inspired by the work of the artist Ben Shahn. He was a political activist, a painter, and a calligrapher, among many talents. One of the lettering styles Shahn used was derived from the work of amateur sign painters. As trained artists often react to the work of so-called naive or folk artists, he found their crude beauty to be “cacophonous and utterly unacceptable. Being so it is irresistibly interesting.” Shahn used this lettering to represent the speech of the common person, and it blended perfectly with his pen work Shahn also lived to see his work–itself… continued
ZITZ is my second cartoon font, based on the hand lettering in the King Features daily strip Zits by Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott. According to Robert C. Harvey’s thoughtful Children of the Yellow Kid: The Evolution of the American Comic Strip, “Zits” is a “teenage strip…ostensibly drawn by Borgman and written by Scott…. Borgman produces the final art.” The tall, tight lettering and expressive drawing style of Borgman’s political cartoons has long appealed to me; since 1997, “Zits” has represented a daily dose of his art. The scratchy outlines of the letters reflect both the artist’s pen and the… continued
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. SKIDZ contains caps, numbers, punctuation, and international characters. But they’re a bit lost in the edge of the tread, so I’ve made a separate font, SKIDZ EXTRA, with an extra line of somewhat sharper tread pattern to… continued
SCREWBALL looks like whimsical hand-lettering. It’s unpredictable with lots of close-fitting pairs. It was inspired by the hand-lettered titles of the movie What’s Up, Doc? (1972), designed by The Golds West Inc. Version 1.5 includes an expanded character set and many alternate characters that make use of Opentype features to create a more hand-lettered look, as well as improved spacing and kerning. What’s Up, Doc? is a personal favorite, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal, and, in her first film, the late Madeline Kahn, to whose memory this font is dedicated.
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. Each font contains caps, numbers, punctuation, and international characters.
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. Each font includes caps, lower case, numbers, punctuation, and international characters.
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). This font has the letters on the white background in the uppercase positions and with the black background in the lowercase positions. TyPiNg LiKe ThIs creates an alternating effect. Due to space limitations, it does not contain the complete character set in both black and white. There’s a separate complete font in Black and… continued
Like its predecessor Calaveras, HEARTLAND is a take-off on the classic 60s flower font Daisyland*. This time I’ve substituted hearts for the original flowers. For the animation on this page, companion fonts containing just the hearts (pink) and more background hearts (maroon) were used; these are available à la carte. Includes 2 versions of each letter, plus numbers, punctuation, and international characters. *The Daisyland font appears under that name in the Dan X. Solo font books from Dover. There is a nice shareware version called FLORALIES by Keith Field and a free but bumpy adaptation (called Daisyland and uncredited) in… continued
HARLEQUIN was inspired by this poster from the 1953 film Kiss Me Kate (detail at left). It has a jolly jester’s hat feel and also resembles turned wooden spindles. Includes caps, numbers, punctuation, and international characters. As seen in use in these “personalized totes for the eco-check girl,” from Label Me Lisa.
A fun little font with a second-hand history. The basic idea came from my recollection of a rough sketch.* The handprints are combined with a knockoff version of Morris Fuller Benton’s classic Hobo font. Besides the hands, it differs from regular Hobo in that it is much bolder and has descending lowercase letters. Includes caps, lowercase, numbers, punctuation, ligatures, international characters, and several pairs of black handprints. *A proposal for a “hands on” event, the sketch came from a brainstorming session of the “Young Turks Committee” at The Arts Center of the Capital Region, which included Lisa Roche, Donna Brunig,… continued