The World of Steampunk
Steampunk is an increasingly popular literary genre which explores science fiction themes from the perspective of the Victorian era and based on technology extrapolated from the science and engineering capabilities of the 18th and 19th centuries. It has its earliest roots in the speculative writing of Mary Shelley, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle. It emerged as a distinct modern literary movement in the 1980s with the work of writers who were influenced by Michael Moorcock, Philip K. Dick and the New Wave science fiction of the late 1960s and 1970s, which turned into the cyberpunk genre by the 1980s. Cyberpunk in turn begat steampunk which appealed to many of the same writers and attracted its own following by the end of the decade.
The first clearly identifiable steampunk novel is James P. Blaylock’s Homunculus, published in 1986 (the current edition features our Norumbega font on the cover), though some elements of the genre are foreshadowed in his novel The Digging Leviathan which was published two years earlier. The genre became more clearly defined with the publication of The Difference Engine by cyberpunk masters William Gibson and Bruce Sterling in 1991. From that point more authors were attracted to the themes they explored and the genre began to expand, attract a following and become influential. As the genre developed, common themes began to emerge, including some emphasis on the impact of science and industry on the environment, the blurry line between science and magic and the dehumanizing role of technology. Much steampunk writing has a strong element of luddism in it and an interest in alternative technologies which fell by the wayside in the modern era like airships and complex clockwork devices.
The movement has spawned a Steampunk comic book, a Steampunk Magazine, several anthologies of short fiction and a large number of novels of various levels of quality, aimed at both adults and younger readers. The imprint of steampunk can be found on other novels — especially fantasy novels — which are not strictly of the genre, like Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass and its sequels. Greg Keyes Age of Unreason series is also heavily influenced by steampunk, taking a similar style into a slightly earlier era to have fun with the science of the enlightenment. There are even a few movies which have had their style and themes shaped by the Steampunk movement like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and the animated feature Steamboy. Not surprisingly there is also a Steampunk roleplaying game based on the GURPS game system. Steampunk has become a popular and even pervasive genre with an influence which goes far beyond its literary origins. It’s gone so far that there are even steampunk conventions.
Perhaps most interesting is that Steampunk has inspired a powerful design movement. It may currently be somewhat underground and avant garde, but the Steampunk influence is becoming widespread. There is Steampunk art and clothing and graphic design. You can find a good overview of Steampunk design at the WebUrbanist blog. Outsapop Trashion has an excellent article on Steampunk themed fashion design and you can find incredible photos of some very creative clothing designs on the Steampunk Fashion Flickr group. For some reason all steampunk fashion must be accessorized with goggles. On Etsy.com you can find all manner of Steampunk themed jewelry, props and fashion accessories for sale at some very reasonable prices. You can find lots of good articles on steampunk design at Steampunk Workshop which has some coverage of Dave Veloz’ unique steampunk Mac Mini redesign. And don’t miss the most bizarre item of all, a Steampunk style computer which also brews beer. Steampunk design is all gears and levers and brass, but it has a unique look which is both antique and futuristic at the same time and is very appealing.
Now, you may wonder why I’m going on daftly about this strange and intriguing literary and design movement. Ponder the implications and if you check back in over the next couple of days the significance of all of this will become very clear.
January 7, 2009 | Filed Under Articles
New Font: BigBlok
A great many years ago when working in game publishing I had a real fascination with doing titles in a strong, super-bold font called Bolt Bold. The truth is I rather overused it. In doing some research I find it on more than a dozen different game books I wrote in the early 80s, all quite collectable and out of print today.
Cavegirl is inspired by the genre of prehistoric epic films, the most memorable of which is One Million Years BC, starring the voluptuous Raquel Welch clad only in a legendary fur bikini. The style of the font is typical of the lettering used in the posters and titles for these movies, with a rough and primiti[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Lyceum has the stylized shape and look of a font designed for the program at a lecture hall, hence the name. It is super bold but remains highly readable at fairly small sized, though the contrasts are dramatic. It features only an uppercase characters set because the st[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Iphegenia was one of our early designs, a creative advertising script font with a modern, hand-drawn look but regular character forms and a nice even line to it. It has high readability despite its decorative look and works well in combination with a variety of other fo[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Quicksilver was designed as one of the original featured fonts included in our Psychedelic Fonts Package. It was developed into a full font from a sample of lettering from Quicksilver Messenger Service's live album Summer of '68 and posters for shows associated with it [...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO 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. [...]
Phaeton is one of our earliest Art Nouveau designs, a lovely example of period title lettering based on French samples. This new release has some significant improvements to the outlines and additional characters added to the basic set. You can find Phaeton in our Art Nouveau Collection or order it individua[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Roghwork is a unique font which combines a decoarative upper case character set with a simple set of lowercase characters. Designed primarily for use in titles and posters, the uppercase characters are based on samples of hand-drawn master designs for a set of roman-st[...]
I don't know what came over me one Halloween, but I couldn't get the idea of dancing skeletons out of my head. The classic dance of death, but a bit more expressive, with the skeletons working together to form the letters of a font. This resulted in the design for the Bonyeard font, where each letter is made [...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Grand Concours is based on lettering designed for a poster for the equestrian competition which was held at the Paris Hippodrome starting in the 1920s. The Grand Concours itself started in the 1860s, and is basically the French answer to an American rodeo. The font is unusual [...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Startling Stories was a pulp-era science fiction magazine known for its lurid covers by Earle K. Bergey and its eye-catching title designs. It was a companion to Thrilling Wonder Stories and Fantastic Stories. The magazine was very successful in the immediate pos[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Squiffy is a fun font. It has a background in arts and crafts style font design, but rather than the regular, architectural character forms and arrangements, the characters are wild and irregular and highly varied. There are two distinct versions of every character, with[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Script fonts can be a real challenge to design, especially when they are designed to have interconnecting characters which require exacting kerning and character positioning. When we first developed Orphiel we did a lot of kerning work on it, but despite a g[...]
Butterfield is based on letting from a poster for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. It can be found as part of Psychedelic Fonts Collection package. It has a unique look particularly characteristic of the 60s and especially suited to use on posters. It has a full set of numbers and punctuation, plus custom small [...]
Merguez is a hand lettered font in the tradition of Speedball freehand calligraphy, but with some unusual flourishes. It makes an excellent alternative to boring informal hand lettering fonts like Comic Sans. It includes a full upper and lower case character set, plus numbers and punctuation. We picked the n[...]
Pyle Gothic is based on lettering designed by Howard Pyle, from his Adventures of Robin Hood and King Arthur and His Knights. It combines elements of calligraphy and a simulation of primitive printing techniques.The original characters were carved into wood blocks from which the black and white illustrations wit[...]
It's time for politics, with primaries coming up early next year for the presidential elections. That means that candidates and protesters and marching activists all need posters and we have the fonts to make them look good and draw the eye. Whether you're standing outside a milk subsidies townhall or marching for fe[more]
William Morris was one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts Movement and closely involved with the Pre-Raphaelite artists of the mid-19th century. His ideal of integrating art, literature and graphic design inspired a generation of artists like Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Millais and Waterhouse. Morris was an artist, po[more]
decorative Initials font consists of characters which combine basic letter forms with artistic embellishment, often in the form of floral or geometric patterns used as a background or intertwined with the letter. Decorative Initials have their origins in medieval manuscript decoration where complex and colorful chara[more]
We have seen many efforts to bring customizable fonts to the web, from primitive rasterized characters in the early days to Macromedia/Adobe's SWF fonts and Google's Webfonts, which are probably the most successful mass market implementations. The goal has always been to take your fonts and make them appear the way you[more]
Too often when looking at antique books we concentrate on the contents and ignore the covers, but some book covers are artworks in their own right and cannot be ignored, this is even more true with eBooks which are more and more causing content to be divorced from packaging. In the early 20th century, before the adv[more]
I was browsing through the new release section in my local bookstore, enjoying the nostalgia of the printed book, when my eye was caught by an historical novel called "The Siege Winter." More specifically the cover design drew my attention, because it used one of our earliest fonts, Cymbeline. More particularly I was s[more]
As part of Great Britain's participation in the 1906 World's Fair in Chicago, legendary Arts and Crafts artist Walter Crane was comissioned to produce a special commemorative book in a limited edition. The result was Columbia's Courtship, an epic poem about American history, written and hand lettered by Walter Crane wi[more]
Margaret Armstrong was an artist of the early 20th century particularly known for her detailed Art Nouveau decorated book bindings, but she also did outstanding floral illustration as found in her book Western Wild Flowers, or in floral ornamented borders in books like Love Finds a Way by Paul Leicester Ford. The fl[more]
- The Colonial Fonts Collection
- KM1 modern furniture georgetown|: What's up everyone, it's my first visit at this web site, and paragraph is really fruitful in support of me, keep up posting such content. My…
- outlook.com support team: This guide offers an alternative option to immediately get all your Outlook Notes into OneNote through the me@ service.
- Futuristic Fonts - Updated and Expanded
- back pain between shoulder blades: Use of KT tape back helps to relieve the pain and provide the support to back increasing the circulation and thus results in the…
- Walter Crane's The Baby's Opera
- Walter Crane’s Pan Pipes | TypeSmith Fonts and Design: […] work. We started with our collection of Crane’s The Baby’s Aesop and followed with The Baby’s Opera, and now we’re going to an…
- Walter Crane: The Baby's Own Aesop
- Walter Crane’s Pan Pipes | TypeSmith Fonts and Design: […] incorporate his unique aesthetic into their work. We started with our collection of Crane’s The Baby’s Aesop and followed with The Baby’s Opera,…
- W. Heath Robinson Chaucer Illos
- W. Heath Robinson’s Illustrations for the Odyssey | TypeSmith Fonts and Design: […] you want to see more Robinson art, check out his illustrations for Chaucer. Click on any previews below to see a screen resolution…
- Captain Kidd Font Featured in NBC's Grimm
- Researching into colour & font selection | danielledesigns: […] there titles they have the font which I really liked and it’s known as Captain Kidd as found here in which I was instantly drawn…
- The Colonial Fonts Collection