|I recently wrote a brief article on pulp novel book cover art and lettering as a source of inspiration. Inevitably this led me to actually work on developing some fonts based on the lettering styles featured on the covers of some of these genre classics from the 1950s and 1960s. The archive of covers I tracked down had lots of good source material, but I decided to make my first project the title lettering from a series of novels by John D. MacDonald published by Fawcett Books. They all featured titles in a fairly similar style, though with some subtle variations, and I decided to use as my primary sources the examples featured on three novels: The Girl the Gold Watch and Everything, Area of Suspicion and On the Run.|
One of the characteristics of the titles was that they used multiple variations of the same basic letter forms to create unusual variations in character placement and to allow nesting of certain characters in special relationships with other characters. Simulating this effect required the creation of three complete sets of characters, representing three possible positions and forms for each letter. A few letters even have a fourth variation. For the user this means that hitting the any letter key in combination with shift or option will produce different versions of the letter. As you can see by comparing the image of the original book cover to the sample graphic of the font, the end result is a pretty good match for the overall style, if not identical in every particular. The variations from the specific character forms on the cover of Area of Suspicion come because in some cases I opted to use better formed or more interesting versions of those characters from the cover lettering on one of the other novels in the series. The font ended up being named Suspicion and it captures the kind of paranoid out of control feel of the cover lettering pretty well.