Vintage Fonts in The Artist
After seeing it win all sorts of Oscars I had to sneak out for a matinee of The Artist yesterday. I had already been advised that it was worth checking out for its use of vintage fonts, including some of ours, and it seemed like I shouldn’t put it off any longer.
While the film was certainly enjoyable both as an unusual creative undertaking and as pure entertainment, and the performances from familiar and unfamiliar actors were very good, the use of period fonts in the film was problematic. Yes, it did feature some of our fonts and some fonts quite similar to others in our collection. It was nice to see Moravia and Amphitryon being used on posters for fictional movies starring Georg Valentin. But the irony of the inclusion of these two of our fonts was that they were largely inappropriate, especially Moravia. Both fonts fall into a category of late Art Nouveau fonts which are based on European hand lettering which would be very unlikely to have been seen on any product coming out of Hollywood, so they were sort of out of place, though not entirely out of period. Some of the other fictional poster designs were quite well done and included very appropriate font choices.
Perhaps more troubling was the way in which the largely silent film’s title cards were designed. They used a font similar to, but less interesting than our own title card font, Valentin (shown to the left). What a bizarre coincidence that the main character in the film should have the same last name as our silent film title card font, which pre-dated him by several years. Quite inexplicable. That aside, the design of the title cards was atrocious.
While they used an appropriate looking font, apparently someone in the production design department assumed that “vintage” means that proper spacing and kerning had not been invented yet. The text on the title cards was poorly justified and characters were often jammed together within a word while the words were generally spaced too far apart, plus there were obvious design flaws in the font, including consistently faulty spacing around some of the characters, most notably the “?” which was offset by a full em-space on each side whenever it was used. Because of my peculiar interests I may have been the only audience member to find this irritating, but someone should have told the designer that in fact fonts were properly spaced and kerned in the 1920s and that justifying the alignment of short lines of text was generally not done because of the spacing irregularities which it created then and still does today.
Seeing the use of vintage fonts in The Artist gave me an idea, so we’re going to be gathering together a special selection of our fonts from the silent movie era which have the appropriate art deco look for things like title cards, lobby cards and posters, and we will be releasing them in a package as our Silent Movie Fonts Collection sometime soon.
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.
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Sanhedrin is a decorative futuristic font, which features two distinct sets of different characters and a number of additional special characters. It draws some characters from the Greek alphabet and also has some unusual art nouveau character forms and a strange biblic[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Doge is a new font based on samples of late-renaissance period lettering from Venice, preserved and reproduced by early 20th century calligrapher and designer J. M. Bergling. It has some similarity to some of our other fonts based on lettering from the same period[...]
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 Slava is based on lettering by legendary Art Nouveau master Alphons Mucha from his later post-Parisian period when he returned to Prague and did a lot of design work in support of the slavic nationalist movement. The letter forms still have many of the characteristics of[...]
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[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Edifice is a decorative titling font based on samples of lettering by J. M. Bergling. It has an architectural, constructed look to it. Very well suited to sign and poster design. It's stylish but still readable and clear. Edifice includes a full uppercase charac[...]
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. [...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Our original Folkard font has achieved near legendary status as one of the most interesting calligraphic title fonts of the contemporary era. It has been enormously popular and appeared on movie titles, book covers, t-shirts and games. However it is not the only [...]
Vasilisa is based on Russian folk art lettering from the pre-revolutionary period. It is included in our original Russian Fonts and Art package. It is very readable in English but also includes elements of Cyrillic lettering. It is evocative of rural Russian life and fits well with the hand crafted peasant wood[...]
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 [...]
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 Custom Preview Mannering is a new font design derived from some samples of an uppercase letter set by Samuel Welo, with additional lowercase characters and numbers added to it in the same style. It is a sans serif font with calligraphic lines and distinctive embellished horizontal cro[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview We've featured some articles on the designs of pulp novel covers from the mid-20th century, including s look at the fonts used in those designs. We've also released fonts based on those designs, like suspicion. These old book cover designs are a great resource for [...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Yancey is a new font based on a hand-lettered design by Samuel Welo in the late 1920s. It is very much in the tradition of Art Deco designs of that period and designed for decorative titles of poster design uses. Yancey includes two versions of the character set,[...]
When I was a kid I wasn't allowed to buy comic books, so when I began to earn some money of my own as a young teen, I hit that market right at the peak of the 1970s boom in alternative large-format comics which were much more salacious - with more gore and sex - than the comics I would have read as a kid. I wen[...]
At the very beginning of the summer Disney released Maleficent the first in a series of films retelling the Disney versions of classic fairytales from the point of view of the villain. Maleficent is a visually stunning film combining high end CGI animation with live actors and Angelina Jolie with unbelievably accent[more]
MAJOR WORKS A Floral Fantasy in an Old English Garden Aladdin's Picture Book Crane Arthurian Art Columbia's Courtship The Golden Primer The Shepherd's Calendar A Flower Wedding Queen Summer Pan Pipes BABY'S COLLECTIONS The Baby's Aesop The Baby's Opera The Baby's Bouquet MINI-PAC[more]
The 1960s was a time when creativity flourished, in music, in literature and in the visual arts. This creativity found its outlet mostly in the counter culture, and one big aspect of that was in poster design for concerts at the great nightclubs of that era like the Fillmore. Rock posters of the 60s have a particula[more]
When we were renovating our house I discovered ornamental brass fixtures for the doors designed by Charles Eastlake. So I went shopping and found antique Eastlake hinges and knobs for all the doors. Charles Locke Eastlake (1836–1906) was the greatest British Arts and Crafts designer in the period after William Mor[more]
As a special bonus, this Christmas we're making available an unusual collection of Christmas images by outstanding American book illustrator and decorator Walter Tittle, an artist most known for his seasonal works. These illustrations are taken from his book Colonial Holdays which is a collection of accounts from p[more]
For years here at the Scriptorium we've been developing fonts and collecting unique art which is perfect for Halloween and putting it together into packages which we promote through our Boneyard Fonts site. After many years collecting fonts and art we've put together a gruesomely provocative collection of fonts and art[more]
As the blazing heat of and endless Summer begins to fade, what could be a better deal than a sale on single fonts to start the new season? For two weeks, through September 25th, if you place an order for an assortment of single fonts of your choice, the more you order the bigger the discount, as listed below. Your s[more]
If you don't already get our weekly (more or less) newsletter with free offers, discount coupons and links to our articles and new releases, this is the time to sign up. We're constantly putting new articles, new fonts, new reviews and new links to great antique art and design resources on our site. Every [more]
- Psychedelic Font Collection
- Abaddon - Bullet for My Valentine Logo Font
- Howard Pyle Fonts and Art Package
- Font Gallery
- Keith: I'm wondering if you can create fonts in a persons own written or printed handwriting for emailing or other online communication. Thanks, Keith
- Dave: We do. Check out Broadley. http://www.fontcraft.com/fontcraft/index.php?s=broadley
- ty marshall: do you have a font that would be representative of an architects block printing?
- Book Cover Designs by Margaret Armstrong
- Mark Wukas: How about a "blueflower" font?