It has taken a lot of hours of development, but we finally have our promised Walter Crane Initials font. Or should I say FOUR fonts, because in the process of developing the font it turned out that we ended up with more than we bargained for. One reason that there are four fonts is that there was so much material to work with, drawing mainly from Crane’s decorations for Reynard the Fox. The other reason is that the initials turned out to require such complex outlines that we couldn’t put more than 26 characters in a single font file so we had to break them up. We also ended up with both a set of 52 initials and also two more fonts of just the original ornaments used for the initials, plus some additional ornaments which didn’t fit the format.
The basis of the characters is a set of detailed woodcut animal images taken from the characters in the classic French fairytale of Reynard the Fox, including foxes, bears, badgers, lions, stags, snakes and birds. Some of the images are even scenes with multiple animals. These are included in their original form in the ornaments fonts, but in the initials they have been combined with the letters from our Crane Gothic font as reversed text which stands out nicely but also integrates well with the background images.
All four of the fonts come together in a consolidated package at a special price, plus the package also includes several decorative border images from the book as a bonus. All of this together is just $29, an extraordinary price for such an unusual set of fonts. You can order the package from our ONLINE STORE. You can also download and try out the DEMO FONT with a limited character set drawn from all the different fonts.
In the mid-19th century Owen Jones undertook to catalog historic design and decoration in phenomenal detail and with exacting thoroughness in a series of beautifully illustrated books. The most famous of these is his Grammar of Ornament, which provides an overview of design and ornament from ancient times to the Renaissance. His next most notable work on historic design is his collection of Illuminated Initials from Early Manuscripts, a magnificent work on historic calligraphy and illumination which we are now making available in digital form, prepared with the same kind of care and attention to detail as our digital edition of the Grammar of Ornament.
The collection consists of all the original illustrations in the Jones book, including hundreds of initials and decorative calligraphic letters. It includes a large selection of ornate initials from different historic periods, plus several complete historic calligraphic alphabets and a selection of decorative borders and embellishments. The designs are extraordinarily detailed with brilliant colors and include examples of illumination from the early medieval period through the gothic period of the high middle ages, including outstanding Celtic, Gothic and Frankish styles.
You can see some samples of individual initials of several different styles here, or click on the sample page to the right to download a PDF with reduced-size versions of all the pages from the original book. The PDF can give you a good idea of the content of the collection, but not the quality of the images in the full package, which are in high resolution and large size with vivid colors and painstaking digital clean-up and color adjustment. These are great examples of the highly detailed, full-color initials which look great, but just can’t normally be turned into fonts. With a few exceptions, as the package also includes a bonus – two original fonts based on alphabets from the collection, Alcuin and Leodegar.
The complete Illuminated Initials from Early Manuscripts collection is available for purchase online and can be downloaded or delivered on CD for just $69 from our ONLINE STORE.
|Leodegar is based on samples of 7th century Frankish hand lettering. The characters draw on the minuscule calligraphic tradition, but are a bit more decorative and somewhat whimsical. They occupy an appealing position somewhere between calligraphy and decorative initials, perfect for titles which need a dark age look or for low-impact initials in an antique looking document. The name of the font comes from one of the many Merovingian Frankish kinds of the period. The upper case characters follow the original outline-style of the lettering and the lowercase is a solid style compatible with the uppercase but more suitable for text. You can try the DEMO version of Leodegar for free with a limited character set. Or you can ORDER the full version for only $24 online and download it right away.|
|Serenissima takes its name from a nickname for the city of Venice which means “The Serene One.” It’s a particularly inappropriate name considering what a huge and absolutely unserene effort went into the creation of this digital version of the lovely sample of 16th century lettering which it is based on. Serenissima may be the most demanding design I’ve worked on in years. The complex outlines and fine divisions between sections of the capital letters required unusual exactitude, so much that many of the character outlines had to be redrawn multiple times and then extensively tweaked and fine tuned to get them to look just right. It was an awful lot of work, but I think the results are worth it. The upper case characters are complex and unique and the lowercase is elegant and provides excellent balance for the overall look of the font.You can try the DEMO version of Serenissima for free with a limited character set. Or you can ORDER the full version for only $24 online and download it right away.|
|We’re working on a number of projects based on designs by legendary 19th century codicologist Owen Jones, who is most famous for his Grammar of Ornament. One of those projects is his book One Thousand and One Initial Letters from 1864. We have a lovely copy which was originally in the library of a Catholic monastery in England, which adds a touch of romance and history. The project involves preserving the color lettering and borders in high resolution digital format and also creating selected fonts based on those alphabets which have the necessary characteristics for adaptation as fonts.
The first of these is Alcuin, which is based on a set of 13th century illuminated initials. The letters in Alcuin are typical of early illuminated manuscripts with Irish-influenced uncial lettering, but with the addition of unusual abstract decorations which make each letter unique but are not overly complex, making them perfect for adaptation to font format. Alcuin includes a full upper case of decorated characters, a lower case of the plain characters and several extra variant versions of some of the characters.
It’s been quite a while since we did an initials font, so here is Woburn, a lovely set of floriate initials based on an early woodblock design which uses late gothic characters and adds nice, clean floral embellishments. Woburn is big and decorative, but the characters are very clear and clean.
As a bonus we’ve added a full lowercase character set in a compatible style. It also works well in combination with our classic Cymbeline font. Woburn will be included as one of the new fonts in the next release of our Decorative Initials collection.