Starting in the 19th century with the explosion of popular
entertainment and popular-oriented art forms, one of new form of art
was the design of posters and advertisements intended to catch the imagination and
generate special interest in the audience. From the advertising found in magazines
and decorative fronticepieces in books to the poster art movement in France, a consciousness
emerged that type and lettering could be decorative and artistic and eyecatching in
a way which had previously never really been considered.
The concept of display and ornamental type started with newspaper
and poster designers taking regular text styles and using them in enormous sizes,
or developing italic or slightly embellished styles for emphasis within text. From
these beginnings designers began to experiment with what they could do to make
titles stand out even more, starting with extra bold or exaggeratedly weighted
styles and increasingly more decorative and ornamental styles. Many of these early
titling faces took on characteristics of traditional calligraphy, because it was
the only decorative lettering which many designers were familiar with, or looked like text
faces expanded and transformed.
By the middle of the 19th century type designers were experimenting
with all sorts of onramental type, particularly for use in advertising and in
specialized books aimed at an increasingly intellectual middle class market. Much of
this type partook of the characteristics of calligraphy, but it was increasingly
complex and decorative beyond the scope of simple pen-strokes.
One of the innovators
in this period was William Morris, who launched the Arts and Crafts movement, which
included among its interests the development of new and visually striking styles of
lettering and typography,
such as Morris' own Troy type and the unique lettering of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
In the last two decades of the 19th century Art Nouveau
spread across Europe, emerging from the Arts and Crafts movement, but attracting a
much larger popular audience. Decorative type and lettering was a major element of
the Art Nouveau movement, which had strong ties to the performing arts and other
visual arts which required publicity in the form of advertisements and posters.
The Art Nouveau movement spurred a renaissance in font
design, but much of the art of the period was expressed in unique designs which were
never made into typefaces at that time. Hand-lettered posters and advertising titles by artists
like Alphons Mucha were in great demand, and the Poster Art movement grew out of
Art Nouveau and the poster became the major new medium for popular art by the turn of
The hand-lettering of Mucha influenced many other artists and designers
and when Mucha returned to his native Czechoslovakia he spurred a renaissance of art
and design in eastern Europe, which eventually developed into the cubist and futurist
movements in art which had a great influence on designers around the world in the period
between the two world wars.
Today there is still a great demand for new and unusual display
fonts. They are essential to advertising in every media, because they draw attention
and give a product a signature look which sets it apart from the competition. Advances
in desktop publishing have also made it possible to introduce a greater variety of
fonts for titling in publications, both in print and online. As a result display
fonts are available in great diversity, offering every kind of look for every kind
Because the basic function of display fonts is to do titles and
label things, they may not have the same character set as traditional text fonts.
Display fonts often only have either upper or lower case characters, and usually
don't have extended punctuation beyond what's normally called for in titles. They
are also often designed to be bolder or more ornate than text fonts, often to an
exaggerated degree, and as a result they may only really be readable at large sizes
and are often poorly suited to text use. Virtually anything can be a display font, from the weirdest
degenerated style to the most intricate and complex artistic fantasy.
The Scriptorium's collection of display fonts offers exceptional
variety. We have fonts based on Art Nouveau designs, early Victorian styles, hand
poster lettering by artists like Alphons Mucha and unique original fonts you won't
find anywhere else. We offer over 80 display faces, all of which are available in
TrueType or Postscript format for Macintosh and PC-compatible computers. They are
available singly for between $5 and $15 each, or as part of discounted packages. We
currently have 10 display font samplers available for $25 each, with 8 fonts in each
package. We are also offering a new display font CD package for only $129. It
includes all of our display fonts, including the very latest releases.
Our single fonts and font samplers can be ordered online, by mail
or by phone for delivery online or by mail. The special display fonts CD can
only be ordered by mail or by phone and is delivered by mail.
To preview our display font samplers, CLICK HERE
To order the complete Display Fonts collection CLICK HERE
To order single fonts online and receive them by email or on CD CLICK HERE
To order by phone call 1-800-797-8973.
For information on other methods of ordering click on the button at the top of the page.
To get an idea of what our display fonts are like, try out
the shareware version of our new Dromon font. It doesn't have all of the
punctuation and special characters, but should give you a good idea of what our display fonts can look
like on your computer.
Dromon for Windows (PKZip). Download
Dromon for MacOS (StuffIt).