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.
Fougasse is a bold title font which has a unique combination of elements, including an unusually heavy weight, some unusual Art Deco period character forms and rough outlines to the character which are not too pronounced, but give it a sort of a naturalistic look which makes the characters stand out more. Foug[...]
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 [...]
Once again we are calling on the classic early 20th century lettering work of J. M. Bergling to produce a new font with a timeless look which combines elements of text and titling styles for a versatile and elegant effect. Diomedes includes a full set of upper and lower case characters plus an interesting sele[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Escargot is based on lettering from the cover of an early pulp novel I came across a couple of months ago. It's a strong example of a distinctive style of sign and poster lettering from the 1930, characterized by super high contrast between the weighting on the le[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Malagua was originally released in 1999 and has been revised several times since then, culminating in this new release with improved weighting and additional special characters. MAlagua is based on examples of rough hand lettering from the 17th century. It has characteristics [...]
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 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 Our Munich font was first released in 1998 and has been revised several times since then. This latest version includes substantial improvements in the outlines of the characters and a new set of simple upper case initials. Munich is based on one of the classic lettering styles used on[...]
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[...]
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 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,[...]
Film director Sergei Eisenstein was a major influence on the Constructivist movement through his collaboration with Alexander Rodchenko and by inspiring other artists of the era. Thus it seems appropriate that the final font in our Constructivist Font Collection should be named after Eisenstein, especiall[...]
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 We have done a number of fonts based on unique, historic movie titles. The most well known and widely circulated is our Captain Kidd font, but we have another historic movie font based on an even more famous movie, our Locksley font which comes from the titles of the Adventures of [...]
Our gothic font collection is a compilation of our most interesting fonts based on gothic type and late medieval calligraphy. It covers the range from the historical styles in which gothic printing had its inspiration to the ornate heights of complex gothic fonts from 19th century Germany. This includes fonts in the[more]
While I still think it may be some sort of obscure and premature April Fool's joke, an article called Kerning, Kerning, kerning through the years in the Washington Post presents a mildly humorous presentation of the story of a 14 year old research genius who figured out that switching from a heavier weight font to a li[more]
Our newest release is our collection of Constructivist Fonts based on poster lettering from the early post-revolutionary period in Russia, including designs based on the styles of famous designers of the period like Alexander Rodchenko, Mikhail Vrubel and Sergei Eisenstein. These are typical of the m[more]
I was shopping in my local HEB grocery store this weekend and found myself in the soft drink section, confronted by a wall of cool retro-looking bottles of all sorts of sodas from the Dublin Bottling Works, a company based in Dublin Texas which produces a full line of specialty soft drinks, apparently mostly for distri[more]
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]
I'm in Washington DC this week attending Typecon. The Society of Typographic Aficionados official convention. There are all sorts of programs and presentations with notable typographers and designers appearing as speakers. As well as exhibits and new products to see. I'm merely going as a humble attendee because [more]
It's been a while since we released any new art from our collection of fairytale books illustrated by Charles Folkard. So it's about time we make available this collection of his illustrations for Grimm's Fairy Tales. This mini-package includes 8 beautifully drawn and colored images from stories by the Brothers Grim[more]
- Arts & Crafts Collection
- New Font: Verne
- Special Item: Walter Crane Collection Flash Drive
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