Rock posters of the 60s have a particular, identifiable look to them – united by the wild and freeflowing design ethos, even if many different artists did the actual designs. The lettering on these posters has made more of a mark on the popular imagination than any other relatively recent lettering style, to the point where people have a particular vision in their minds of what looks like the 60s or the Psychedelic era.
Poster lettering in the 60s was heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau movement of the late 19th century, but the most imaginative poster designers took those basic ideas of full, somewhat fabulous lettering to an entirely new level. While you can see the influence of Mucha and other Art Nouveau poster artists in the work of designers like Wes Wilson and David Singer, there’s something more in their poster designs – what might be called the ‘free spirit’ of the 60s.
By the 1970s the free form hand lettering of classic 60s posters began to give way to some standardized fonts and a lot of this unique character was lost in the drab pragmatism of the disco era and then the ransom note xeroxes of the punk movement.
We’ve been working on fonts which capture the spirit of the Psychedelic era for several years and have finally reached the point where we have a large enough collection to be truly representative of the period. This collection includes fonts based on specific samples from classic posters and fonts based on general styles which were popular in the 60s and used by many artists.
Some of these fonts have been previously released as single fonts, but the collection also includes 5 fonts specifically designed for this collection, 3 of which are entirely new releases, plus variant versions of several of the fonts like the custom outlines of Hendrix and Bad Acid.
Pantagruel is the linchpin of the collection. It is the quintessential bridge between Art Nouveau and 60s era design. It is based on an Art Nouveau style which was enormously influential in the 60s and often duplicated directly by 60s artists like Greg Irons and Randy Tuten.
Harbinger and Sprite are also examples of styles commonly used by many poster artists of the period who drew on Art Nouveau designs for inspiration. Earthpig and Bad Acid are based on original poster lettering characteristic of the outrageously spurred and flourished designs favored by many artists of the 60s. They are core designs just begging for augmentation with rays, overlaps, outlines and extrusions.
Butterfield is classic block lettering characteristic of the world of designers like Wes Wilson. Quicksilver and Illuminata were developed from small samples of unique lettering and are most influenced by the designs of David Singer. Taken as a whole these fonts make an excellent representative sampling of the lettering of the 60s.
One of the characteristics of poster design in the Psychedelic era is that the lettering was often manipulated and distorted from its base forms. Fonts by their nature work most practically when they have a simple, horizontal base and characters have regular size and positioning. To achieve the full psychedelic effect you may need to take the base fonts and modify the pure letter forms, as we have done in the header for this page. Photoshop offers some excellent tools for doing this. We’ve found that the wave filter and the distort and perspective tools work particularly well to produce bent and disproportional type.
We’ve just released a new version of the Psychedelic Fonts package with three new fonts. The package includes all of the fonts in a single package for Windows or Macintosh, including both TrueType and Postscript fonts. The total price is only $59 for all the fonts. You can order the package online for immediate download or delivery by mail. Just – CLICK HERE TO ORDER.