DESERT ROSE is sleek and stylish with letterforms composed of graceful repeating elements. Deceptively simple and elegant, DESERT ROSE was inspired by an example of hand-lettering included in Alphabets: Ancient & Modern, compiled by J. B. Russell (Padell, 1946).
Minaret is a bold display font with a rather exotic feel. Instead of mimicking foreign text, Minaret’s swirled tops suggest the rooftops of far-off lands. Or maybe it looks like whipped cream and icing! Minaret was inspired by examples of hand-lettering from 1922.
Asian Flavor is a pan-Asian pastiche. Borrowing from multiple Asian scripts—dots from the Middle East, bars from South Asia, strokes from the Far East—this font attempts to suggest Asian languages while still writing in the Latin alphabet. About as authentically “Asian” as my homemade lettuce wraps with some ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil: tasty and accessible but not really Asian. Asian Flavor was inspired by this vintage hand-lettered sign at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Chifa is a set of fonts combining the trapezoid of Inca architecture with wedge-shaped strokes. Chifa Base has the wide side at the base and Chifa Tope has the weight at the top, making them well-suited for arranging text in a circle. Chifa Combo combines both styles in a single, easy-to-use font; if you TyPe LiKe ThIs—that is, alternating caps and lowercase—the letters automatically fit together. In Peru, I saw several examples of lettering that used the trapezoid, such as this monument in Cusco seen below that also incorporates a trapezoidal aperture like those at Machu Picchu and elsewhere. “Chifa”… continued
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.
BEERWOLF is a font of transformation, a blackletter that’s in the process of becoming something more dangerous. The wedge-shaped strokes resemble flames, wolf’s teeth and ears giving this blackletter font a curious difference. The Beerwolf is a creature of German folktales like the werewolf; you have been warned!
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.” At long last, its origin has been revealed to me by Herman: “Since you ask, there is no Bruce Mikita. The type you digitized was issued by George Bruce’s Son & Co’s New-York Type-Foundry. It was patented 12 Feb 1867. It was called by them Ornamented no. 1048. When Phoenix typefounders got some mats they invented… continued
Exotic, “Egyptian” MYSTIC PROPHET is my third font inspired by Ouija boards, or, strictly speaking, talking boards. (This one is from another company, Haskelite, from the 1940s.) My friend Wink first brought it to my attention. The planchette (the divining tool) is shown here; you can find much more information at the Museum of Talking Boards. My other talking board fonts are Captain Howdy and Sideshow. Includes caps, numbers, punctuation, and international characters. Planchette image courtesy of the Museum of Talking Boards.
This font is called 12 TO THE MOON, after the movie of the same name. Not sure what you would ever do with it, but I had fun making it and working with it. The movie is one of very many black-and-white 1950s sci-fi movies that would end up on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Three times a strange message appears on the screen on the ship, like the animation on this page. Luckily, the ship’s “astrophotographer and pharmacist” (played by Michi Kobi, left) is able to translate it. The alien language translation thing is always problematic; one could fill a… continued
SHAZI was inspired by the beautiful anthropomorphic calligraphy by the Iranian artist of the same name. The Freer Gallery in Washington, DC has a beautiful silver pen case (left) encircled by an inscription of human- and animal-headed letters, signed and dated 1210-11 A.D. Another example in the connected Sackler Gallery has similar letterfoms, but only humans. For my adaptation, I started with my own warped version of the classic Art Nouveau font Japanet, then added the squarish faces. I’ve used only lowercase letters because they best resembled the standing figures of the original. The complete version of Shazi contains all… continued