|I was watching the television show Sons of Anarchy and on looking at the logo for the show I was struck by the similarity between the lettering used for the name of the titular motorcycle gang and our Posada font. Clearly their lettering derived from that same neo-gothic southwestern tradition. The main difference was that the Sons of Anarchy font has spurs on it and the outlines of the Posada font are smooth. That seemed like an obvious feature to make available to fans of the Posada font, so a little bit of work produced the new Posada Spur font, which adds spurs to the basic Posada design and also includes a useful outline version of the basic character set as a bonus.|
|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.
I’m always mining the great graphic legacy of past eras for cool resources to use as the basis for fonts, and while I more typically go to antique sources, there’s a lot of great material to be found in the relatively recent past in vintage products of popular art like the covers and artistic content of pop novels and comic books.
With Halloween approaching, my attention was focused on sources for horrific fonts and so I went wandering the web looking for lettering from classic horror comics. They were a big element of the comics market when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. As a teen I was particularly taken with the large-format black and white comics like Eerie and Creepy which defied the comic code, but there was also a lot of good material in the more crudely produced color horror comics of the 50s and 60s which were more conventional but still featured creative lettering and quality art.
My big disappointment in this quest was my inability to find good examples of interior lettering on the internet, requiring me to go rummaging in the garage for actual physical printed comics (see more on this later), but I did find excellent sources from examples of cover art and lettering, including coverbrowser.com which I previously used as a source for pulp novel covers, and some nice higher quality images at samuelsdesign.com.
With a lot of great source material to consider, what I was ultimately drawn to was the original title lettering from the first five issues of Vampirella, the most provocative and sexually charged comic from the publishers of Eerie and Creepy. Vampirella‘s concept and stories don’t always bear close examination, though they are better than the terrible movie based on them which was released in the 1990s. But Vampirella did feature some excellent art, including some of the best work of Frank Frazetta, and although I’m not so fond of the title design which was used for most of its run, the original title design was powerful and striking and would make a good basis for a font.
The Vampirella lettering is an interesting example of lettering with an outline which conforms to the countours of the letters, a style particularly popular in horror comics and psychedelic era poster design. I’ve done similar fonts like Hendrix and the effect is excellent for titles where you want characters to overlap and nest with each other. It also has characters offset at different levels relative to the baseline, something which is easy to do when hand lettering, but more challenging in a font. It’s best addressed by having multiple different versions of each character in different positions and kerned and hinted to fit with other likely characters in two-letter combinations.
Work has only just started on the Vampirella font and I’m also looking at some other vintage comic fonts, but it should be finished in time to be a special feature for Halloween.
|Mephisto is one of our more popular classic fonts. It was designed in the mid-90s and has gone through a couple of updates, but it was past due for being revisited and thoroughly revised. This new version includes more unique arcane alternate characters and improved outlines and tweaked proportions on some of the characters. It’s cleaner and better looking than earlier versions.
Mephisto is a very striking bold font with spiked ascenders and descenders and an overall look which is somewhat ominous. It has been popular for use in fantasy and horror publications and designs and inevitably in association with heavy metal bands and album designs. In addition to the basic character set it includes mystical special characters like the triskelion and eight-armed star of chaos.
Mephisto is featured in our Horror Fonts and Art collection.
Black Cow was originally developed back in 1998 as an addition to our Horror Fonts and Art collection. It has since been through several revisions with the addition of lots of alternate character forms. It’s a super quirky font with very odd wiggly characters with peculiar embellishments and an overall look which is somewhat creepy. The font includes a plain and a decorated version of each character plus third alternates of many of the characters as well. It’s great for doing titles for Halloween themed projects, which is why we’re featuring it this month. As for the title and where it came from, I’ll leave you to guess that for yourselves.
Over a period of five years, from 2002 to 2006 I contributed to the Halloween festival at my daughter’s school (St. Francis School in Austin, Texas) by designing custom t-shirts to promote the event. They weren’t the most sophisticated designs in the world, but were well suited to screen printing and hit on essential seasonal themes. They also make good use of our fonts and other design elements and might provide some inspiration for others working on Halloween design projects.
The 2002 t-shirt coincided with the release of our Ligeia and Halloweenies fonts. Ligeia is used for the lettering, while most of the design elements of the image on the shirt ended up incorporated into Halloweenies. This shirt also features Gehenna for the word “halloween” and Zothique for the date.
The 2003 t-shirt has original art, though the cat ended up in the Halloweenies font, plus it reuses Ligeia for the St. Francis logo and uses Black Cow which had just been released for the final line of text.
The 2004 t-shirt was different because it was printed in two lighter colors on a black shirt, while the others had been printed on light colored shirts with one or two colors of ink. It also branched out from being just a straight seasonal image to making a kind of lame attempt at a joke at a middle school level. The art is original, except for the one skull which is taken from our Posada art collection in the Macabre Fonts and Art collection. The fonts featured on this shirt are Malagua for the top lettering and Veronique (one of our Hammer Film title fonts) for the two lines at the bottom.
The 2005 shirt went with a kind of voodoo theme, with original art of a Guede choosing between the heads of Captain Ogu and Baron Samedi. Again it uses Ligeia for the school name, with Black Cow and Nevins Avant also featured.
Sadly, starting in 2007 the school decided to go with a blander more generic t-shirt design. I’ve always suspected that some of the more religious moms weren’t comfortable with my inclusion of themes from voodoo, paganism and witchcraft in the designs. But I’ve always seen Halloween as a fun celebration of superstition and a diversity of beliefs, so I don’t feel terribly guilty. I just need to find a new Halloween event to design t-shirts for.