From time to time I get to do some creative design work for political causes, especially in opposition to efforts to expand cybersurveillance and give the NSA access to your personal information on the internet.
This week is the drive to stop CISA, which would make Facebook, Google and even your ISP accomplices in these intrusive government efforts. It’s a cool retro campaign to fax congressmen to make them pay attention to privacy concerns, at www.stopcyberspying.com/
To go with the retro theme I put together a throwback promotion graphic as my contribution to a worthy cause. As with previous designs, for this effort I drew on the designs of Alexander Rodchenko to produce the promotional image on the right. I used as my inspiration two posters, one for the Moscow exhibit at the 1925 Paris Exposition and the other for a Russian movie, both shown below.
The design also draws on fonts from our Constructivist Fonts collection, using Eisenstein and Structura for the lettering. The project had to be done on deadline, or I would have designed a font to match the lettering in these posters exactly, which I will still probably develop later to add to the Constructivist set.
Vie Moderne is a new font based on Art Deco lettering from the 1920s. It is typical of the French Art Deco influenced fonts which were featured in association with the International Exposition of Modern and Industrial Art in Paris in 1925.
Vie Moderne includes a full character set and numbers. The upper case characters are ornamented with Art Deco motifs and the lower case set has the bare characters. It will eventually be included in a new Art Deco font collection based around designs from the 1925 Exposition. But for now, if you like Art Deco design, check out our Art Deco fonts collection.
Our new Art Deco font collection includes a remarkable selectiion of fonts from the design movements of the 1920s and 1930s, focusing on the kinds of fonts which were generally associated with the decorative arts movement which developed out of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Because we already have collections of Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau fonts from related periods, we were able to narrow the focus of this collection very specifically to concentrate exclusively on those fonts which were most typical of the Art Deco genre. Some fonts outside the collection like Semiramis and Chelsea Studio could probably also be classed as Art Deco, but because they are already in other collections they were not included here. The same is true of the Roycroft fonts which are in the Arts and Crafts package. We’ve also tried to avoid any fonts which would be typical of the German Bauhaus movement which overlaps with Art Deco in the same way that the Jugendstil movement overlaps with Art Nouveau, mainly because we may want to release a Bauhaus collection in the future.
The package includes traditional text fonts from the Art Deco period like Broadley, Advertising Gothic, Falmouth and Gargantua. It also includes two purely decorative fonts, Decoration and Art Deco Borders which are ideal for completing the overall look of an art deco project with floral and geometric motifs to accompany your text. Together they make lots of unique and complex art deco designs possible.
Many of these fonts are among our newest designs, like Broadley and Madding, some are older and have been waiting for an opportunity to be released in a collection like this, and Art Deco Borders and Magnin are new releases put out to coincide with the release of this package, though Magnin was originally designed on a commission for a vintage clothing outlet some years ago.
Art Deco fonts are interesting, because although they may vary considerably in style they all share characteristics necessary for their use in graphic design, ornamentation and industrial design. In many cases they are fonts designed to be molded in metal, etched in glass, carved from wood or embossed on leather and they have peculiarities related to the mediums in which they were intended to be used.
The package includes 12 original fonts in postscript and true type format for both MacOS and Windows. It also includes a bonus set of selected full-color art deco motifs from our collection of designs by Pedro Lemos. You can order the complete package now for just $59 and take delivery online or by mail from our ONLINE STORE.
I lacked the presence of mind to take a picture of the shirt on the spot, but when I got home I did a little research and discovered that they had indeed used Gloriana on their 2002 album “Cow, Fish, Fowl and Pig” and the associated merchandising. The Gourds music is typically Austin and not to every taste, but I certainly can’t fault their choice on fonts.
Gloriana fits in the mode of fantasy lettering like our other fonts Gaiseric, Rosalinde, Scurlock and Folkard. You can ORDER the full version of Gloiana for only $24 online and download it right away.
Byam Shaw was a great English illustrator of the Victorian period. Stylistically he inherited many of the characteristics of the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts artists of the earlier 19th century, putting him in the same category with other late-Victorian artists like Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale and William Russell Flint.
Shaws black and white illustrations are complex and have lots of detail. They are realistic while often dealing with legendary or mythical themes.
This mini-collection is our second set of Shaw illustrations. They are taken from his illustrated edition of Boccacio’s Decameron which features classic renaissance period stories of adventure and romance.
There are 20 illustrations and 4 decorative borders in this collection. You can see samples of all the illustrations below. Just click on an image to see a large preview.
This mini-package is just $12 and can be ordered from our ONLINE STORE
We also have another collection of Byam Shaw illustrations for Legendary Ballads.
Too many years ago to count, I was lucky enough to attend St. Albans School in Washington, DC. It’s a great school with a rich history and an association with the National Cathedral and the rich cultural heritage of the Episcopal Church and many of the traditions of the English public schools. It’s a school with a lot of character and a reputation for shaping future leaders in politics and the arts.
This year St. Albans is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and as part of that celebration they decided they wanted to spruce up the school. One of the things which drew their attention was the sad state of the hand-lettered lists of graduates on the walls of the upper school refectory. The tradition of putting the names of each graduating class on the walls began in the 1920s, and at first the quality of the calligraphy was excellent, but eventually the original calligrapher retired and his replacements were less skilled, until by the 1960s the quality of the lettering on the walls had declined to an embarrassing level and looked nothing like the early examples.
St. Albans contacted a local interior designer and wall artist named Raea Jean Leinster (Wall Transformation Designs) to find a way to improve future lettering and replace the old names which were poorly done with new lettering of higher quality. She decided that the best way to do that would be with a font and using a thermal transfer system which would create perfect letters every time. The problem was that the original lettering was in a style which was unusual and idiosyncratic, so no existing font would even come close to matching it. So she went looking for a font designer and in a bizarre example of synchronicity she stumbled onto our site and discovered the only font designer to have actually attended St. Albans and who already had a familiarity with the lettering. I began my interest in calligraphy at St. Albans and did a lot of my first lettering in my notebooks while paying very little attention in class just a few yards from the lettering on the walls of the refectory. Undoubtedly that lettering had an influence on me. Many of my first calligraphic designs fall into the same gothic black letter category like Froissart and Franconian.
This began a process which lasted for almost a year, where photographs and measurements of the best examples of the lettering were taken and sent on to me and I redrew each of the letters by hand, both on paper and in some cases in Adobe Photoshop and then traced the outlines manually in Fontographer to get a perfect match. I then spaced and kerned them and imported the characters into FontLab for final hinting and output. During the process there was ongoing input from the school and from Raea, more photographs and more measurements and I even visited the school towards the end of the process to see the new lettering in use.
Designing the font presented a lot of challenges, because the photographs were not always entirely accurate or were distorted by the shiny black background paint on which the lettering was done. In addition there were lots of variations in the designs of the the letters and finding common elements and making the overall look consistent and unified was quite a challenge. It also resulted in the final font having lots of alternate characters which were designed and then rejected as part of the primary character set, and in some cases rejected and then brought back in, reminding me why I never throw away a rejected character design. I’ve done fonts which took longer to complete, but few which were more challenging.
Despite the difficulty, the end result was very impressive, and it was ready in time for the centennial celebration. I’ll take some of the credit for the accuracy with which the font reproduces the unique gothic fraktur style of the original lettering, though Raea gets some credit as well for pushing me for total accuracy. Raea gets all the credit for the fantastic results of the process by which the letters are applied. I don’t understand exactly how it is done, but it seems similar to the way in which gold leaf was applied to manuscripts during the middle ages, except that in this case an inkjet printer is used to transfer the letters in the appropriate font onto the transfer medium. The result actually looks better in many ways than the original lettering. When I visited the school earlier this year several of the most recent graduating classes had already been done with the new font and they were going back and redoing the poorly lettered classes as well.
The new font ended up being named Glastonbury after the Glastonbury Thorn, an unusual tree planted at the front entrance of the school, which legend says grew from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea when he arrived in England. The current tree at St. Albans is a cutting from an older tree planted there many years ago which came from a cutting of the original tree in Glastonbury in England. With the thorny spurs on the font, naming it after the legendary tree seemed appropriate, plus the story of Joseph of Arimathea and his association with the holy grail fit well with my fascination with Arthurian legend.
Perhaps the best thing about the whole arrangement is that we’ve retained rights to the font and can now release it as part of our collection. A percentage of the sales of Glastonbury will be donated to St. Albans so that they can continue to improve the school and provide scholarships to DC kids who otherwise would not have an opportunity to attend a school of such quality.
Back in 1995 I designed a card game called Quest for the Grail and formed a publishing partnership to produce it called Stone Ring Games. I did a bunch of design work for the game, including designing a unique title font called Marmyadose. Marmyadose was a unique font, but it was too fancy to read in small print on the cards, so we replaced it with Beaumarchais in the final design.
Although an early version of Marmyadose is widely available on shareware sites, we pulled it from release because of technical issues with the font and it was never really released in a commerical version. We have now revised it and improved the outlines, added numerous refinements, improved kerning and added more alternate characters, so we can release this new a better version. It will also be included in our upcoming Arthurian Fonts and Art package.
Marmyadose takes its name from Arthurian legend, where it is the sword used by King Ryence of Gore, originally forged by the god Vulcan for Hercules. Arthur defeated Ryence in battle and took it as a prize. It’s sword associations account for the rather sharp and pointed look of the font.
You can purchase and download the full and revised version of Marmyadose today, and get it for $5 off with the coupon code BRITOMARTIS.
One of our most interesting recent releases is our Steampunk Fonts and Texture collection. It’s a new set of fonts, many of which are new or in no previous collection, plus more than 20 original high-resolution metallic textures. It’s everything you need to create unique graphics with a grungy, retrograde, victorian low-tech look characteristic of the Steampunk movement. If you aren’t familiar with steampunk literature and steampunk style, take a look at our recent overview article
It’s a world of gears and sprockets, brass and leather and rust and polished woods. It’s making a mark in fashion, industrial design and in graphic design, and if you want to bring the look to life in your designs this package has everything you need.
The font set includes a combination of art, decorative initial and display fonts with an edgy art nouveau and victorian looks and specialized features. One of the key new fonts is the Gears font which is a brand new font created specially for this package which features more than 60 different gear silhouettes based on clockwork and old machinery ready to be combined with textures to create a great retro-mechanical look. Another key new font is the Jules Verne title font, a heavy-weight title font which combines the look of wrought iron with elements of gears and clockwork. Continuing the mechanical theme are the Clockwork and Gearhead fonts which combine period lettering with gears and clockwork to create stylish decorative initials. The Draughtwork font goes to back to the drawing board to give you initials with the look of a mechanical blueprint on graph paper. Belgravia, Boetia and Blackthorn are recent font releases which are in no other package and represent a very stylized element of the Art Nouveau movement which is perfect for this theme. Linthicum is another classic period font which fits the theme very well and also fills the need for a compatible text font. Our classic Goodfellow font is included because it fits so well and was featured on the cover of the James Blaylock’s recent steampunk short story collection The Adventures of Langdon St. Ives. Finally, the collection is rounded out to 12 fonts with the mystical and arcane looking fonts Necromantic and Mephisto which fit the the element of mysticism found in much steampunk literature. Plus Mephisto would look great on the side of a clockwork submarine or airship.
If you want to download a sample font from the package, try our our Jules Verne font. In addition to the fonts the collection includes a great selection of new and original textures (shown to the graphic below the font samples to the right). There are more than 20 of them and they include samples of pure and oxidized and extremely deteriorated metals, including silver, gold, copper, bronze and iron in various states and with different sorts of finishes. Combine them with the fonts as we’ve done in the title graphic here (which uses Verne and Gears) and you get an amazing look. If you want to try a sample texture, try downloading the Heavy Rust texture.
All of this is collected together at a price of only $59. You can order the Arts & Crafts font and art package directly for delivery on CD by phone from 1-512-656-8011, or you can purchase the package online – just – CLICK HERE TO ORDER
Tilbury is based on advertising lettering from the 1930s. It has a unique and stylish look reminiscent of a swashed italic brush script.
Tilbury includes a full character set with upper and lower case, numbers and punctuation. It has fully customized kerning and spacing as well.
On a previous vacation with my family I discovered my Folkard font in use for the signage on a restaurant in Bar Harbor called “The Lazy Lobster.” This year I was pleased to note new signage with a jaunty lobster, but still featuring Folkard.
Bar Harbor is Maine’s legendary tourist town. Among the many chic restaurants, my eye was caught by the sign on a brand restaurant called the Lazy Lobster, a little bistro whose owners had decided to display their good taste by doing their sign in our Folkard font. Folkard is generally considered a fairy tale font and that’s where it sees most of its use – as in Disney’s Faeries games and books and also World of Warcraft – but clearly lobsters like it too.