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
BENSGOTHIC was inspired by the work of the artist Ben Shahn. (See also Bensfolk) This style–which Shahn applied to psalms, Christmas cards, posters, and many other item—suggests inscriptional capitals like those of Byzantine mosaics, the Bayeux tapestry, or medieval manuscripts. He made great use of fanciful ligatures, which are included in the font for a totally hand-lettered feel. The new OpenType version of Bensgothic allows you to access the ligatures easily. In applications that support OpenType features, enable “discretionary ligatures.” Type your text in ALL CAPS to automatically use the ligatures as available. Type in lowercase (or MiXeD cAsE) to… continued
AEOLIAN is a narrow, elegant font that was inspired by the lettering on a pipe organ manufactured by the Aeolian Company. My friend Nelson got me started with scans of the various stop labels, like the one at left, found on the amazing Longwood Gardens Aeolian organ which he has worked to restore. I invented missing letters and numbers, then created two additional weights, Demi and Bold. Always grateful for posts like this: “Thanks for digitizing Aeolean for posterity. The original tradename was Façade, and it was introduced by the Boston Type Foundry in 1881. John F. Cumming cut certain… 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.
KING XMAS is a versal, or Lombardic, alphabet inspired by a small sample in a 1930s Speedball book. The current version combines two fonts in one: solid in the uppercase positions, white-starred letters (like the words above) at the lowercase position. It pairs nicely with a bold blackletter font like Fette Fraktur. Now with Arabic numbers in v2.5.
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.
The Dominican fonts are designed to look like old letterpress printing. Originally inspired by a font from Dan X. Solo’s books, I expanded the series to also include Italic and Small Caps. Version 3.0 now contains lining figures with the old-style figures still available as stylistic alternatives. All 3 fonts have been expanded and refined, making these a fine alternative to the overused Caslon Antique.
BACKHAND BRUSH is my re-creation of a classic 19th-century style of hand lettering, also known as a “marking” alphabet. Like some Victoriana and Art Nouveau fonts, it was revived in the psychedelic era. My font is completely redrawn from an antique guide to hand lettering. I have regularized it somewhat (maintaining a constant 18-degree slant) but also tried to keep a slightly random brush feel. Version 1.5 has an expanded character set and improved spacing and kerning.
STELLA DALLAS was inspired by the hand-lettered titles of the film of the same name (1937, directed by King Vidor, art directed by Richard Day). The dramatic wedge shapes and some letterforms are reminiscent of calligraphic fonts like Koch Antigua. Working from the film, I’ve regularized and rounded out the font, including small caps weighted to harmonize with the large caps. The set includes 3 fonts: Regular, Outline and Fill. Each font includes large and small caps, numbers, punctuation, and international characters. .
My BOSTON LINE fonts were inspired by Boston Line Type, developed in the 1830s by Samuel Gridley Howe (left) for use in raised-letter printing for the blind. The odd diamond-shaped a, d, and o and generous spacing give the inkless, embossed pages a strange beauty. A variety of books were eventually printed with this distinctive type, including a beautiful Bible of in 1842. Many blind people found Roman letters difficult to read and all such systems were eventually replaced by Braille. Howe’s legacy lives on in Boston’s Perkins School for the Blind, which he founded. The compatible PHILADELPHIA LINE fonts… continued