Potsdam was one of our earliest font releases, first produced in 1992 based on samples of 19th century decorative German type. It was one of our first fonts designed for MacIntosh computer users and follows the naming convention for Mac fonts of that era, being named after a city. The characters are decorative and embellished with ornate spirals.
In the original release there were problems with the outlines being rough and somewhat jagged, a problem which had never really been addressed until this new and substantially improved version. All the outlines on all the characters have now been smoothed and regularized and the result is a much crisper and attractive rendering of the font. We’ve also added additional international language characters to make Potsdam more versatile.
Our gothic font collection is a compilation of our most interesting fonts based on gothic type and late medieval calligraphy. It covers the range from the historical styles in which gothic printing had its inspiration to the ornate heights of complex gothic fonts from 19th century Germany. This includes fonts in the style sometimes called ‘Old English’, as well as what calligraphers sometimes call ‘Black Letter’. If you like your fonts dark, angular and complex, this is your dream collection.
The collection has recently been updated to a third new edition, with more new fonts, bringing the total to 20 gothic lettering fonts and four gothic initials fonts. Recently added fonts include Serenissima, Gelderland, Montressor, Alcuin, Monumental, Goldwork, Waldeck, Yngling and Roncesvalles. The selection is all gothic, but quite varied. Fonts like Theodoric and Cadeaulx are an excellent combination of style and readability, while others like Ghost Gothic, Rheingold and Tyrfing offer more decorative ornamentation.
The complete Gothic collection is $99, but for a limited time if you use the coupon code OSTRO on checkout you can get $20 off the price for a total of just $79. It comes with both TrueType and Postscript fonts for either the MacOS or Windows. You can order it online. Just CLICK HERE to order it online and get it delivered by email or on CD. Or if you have an earlier release, please contact us about a discounted update of the package.
|Our new Barnabas font is the result of our Dark Shadows font design project. It’s an original font inspired by the original titles for the Dark Shadows television show, but updated for a more contemporary audience with the upcoming release of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie in mind. It combines gothic capital letters with Latin small caps reminiscent of the original titles, but distressed and roughened to create a darker and more degenerate effect.
The name of the font was picked by voters on this page who preferred Barnabas (the first name of main character Barnabas Collins) to several alternatives. The sample graphic features a picture of the Corey Mansion which is the model for Collinwood in the TV series. It’s also the first new font to include the OpenType version as one of the standard formats at no additional charge, which will be our practice from here out. You can try the DEMO version of Barnabas for free with a limited character set. Or you can ORDER the full version for only $24 online and download it right away.
In developing an updated font for Dark Shadows one interesting challenge is that there are only two upper case characters to use as a starting point. What is immediately apparent about them is that they fit into the category of “Old English” style fonts, a popular term for a particular style of black letter font developed for the publishing industry in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the days of metal type everyone had a black letter font and although no two were exactly the same, they all shared certain characteristics and were often remarkably similar.
While it was obviously quite difficult to identify the specific Old English font which was used for the D and the S in the original Dark Shadows titles (shown to the left), some research presented many similar fonts of the right period and general appearance, starting with our own classic font Collins Old English, which coincidentally shares the same name as the family the TV series was based around.
While Collins Old English was a good first point of reference, it differs in several particulars from the font in the original titles, particularly in having a somewhat lighter overall weight and having double spurs on the characters instead of single spurs. It also has an overall narrower look than the original titles and also flourishes on the ends of some of the swashes. Those flourishes are very typical of Old English fonts, and are an element which might be desirable to incorporate in a reimagined Dark Shadows font because they make the font look more gothic and more antique than the very plain style of the original titles.
The next step was to do some research and look at some Old English font alternatives in our extensive library of old books on type and lettering. In this my eye was drawn to two examples of metal type from the early 20th century (shown to the left of this paragraph and to the right of the next) and also to one example of a hand lettered Old English style by German-American sign painter and calligrapher Hermann Esser (the last sample).
Of these, Pendleton Old English (above and left) was probably closest stylistically to the original titles, but was much lighter in overall weight, sort of like Collins Old English, while Shaw Old English (right) and Esser Old English (below and left) were closest in weight, but not great matches in every particular of their style and features.
All three of the fonts featured some flourishes, but by this point I had determined that the best approach was to take the titles farther and make them more ornate and fanciful than the originals, so that wasn’t a problem. In overall shape, weight and features Shaw Old English seemed like the best choice for a starting point, with Esser Old English as a secondary point of reference.
One of the determining factors in this was that Shaw Old English included the same kind of ball-style caps on some of the flourishes as the original S, something which none of the other fonts had. Several questions remained, of course. Should the D have double spurs like Esser Old English or the single spurs of the original and of Shaw Old English. Should it retain the longer upper stroke of Shaw and Esser or a shorter top stroke like the original. And should the interior of the D have two vertical lines or just one like the original. In most of these decisions I leaned towards Shaw Old English, with some notable modifications. You can guess what they are until the next installment.
The Dark Shadows font project is back on track…
When I first heard that there was a new Dark Shadows movie in development I was pretty excited, especially since it was a Tim Burton project and he has used fonts I designed in some of his past films. I started tossing ideas around for a design for a special font for the movie – not at their request, but purely on spec. Then it looked like the movie was going to take forever to get into production, backed up behind other projects, so I set the project aside for a while. Well the latest on IMDB is that they’ve more or less finished casting and may start shooting soon, with an eye on a release date in May of next year.
That means the Dark Shadows font project is back on the front burner, at least for my amusement, though who knows where it might go. I’ve already done the initial research for the font, drawing on five years watching the show devoutly as a kid, and using video clips as a reference for the kinds of designs which were used for the titles of various incarnations of the show
The starting point for the project is the original title font from the first four years of the series which is visible in the first image to the right. The second image shows the title from the poster for the theatrical movie House of Dark Shadows. The third image shows the title from the 1991 primetime series which is an updated variant of the original title style. All of these title designs will to some degree inform the final design, especially the initial D and S characters from the original.
My first inclination is to follow the idea of the original titles where the initial letters are in a gothic style and the other letters are in more of a text style, possibly drawn from the style of the House of Dark Shadows movie titles. It also occurs to me that because a part of the story is set in the 1790s drawing on colonial typeface design makes a lot of sense, so it seems logical to move towards more of a woodcut look for both the initial capitals and the main text letters. I’m also thinking about borrowing some ideas from the original lettering in the titles of Burton’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow to give the font a rougher and more edgy look. And before you even ask, I do hate the titles from the last season of the original series and don’t plan to incorporate them in the design. The idea would be to pull all of these inspirations together into an original font which draws on the tradition while being original and new at the same time. It should be a font which people look at and immediately think of Dark Shadows but if anything even more of an embodiment of the gothic atmosphere of the series.
So now the project ought to move forward more quickly. Look for preliminary drawings of the font in the next installment.