Thursday, January 28, 2010

Font Test

What do you think of this font? Does it suggest anything to you? Is it evocative of pulp fantasy decadence or does it look too "historical?"

43 comments:

  1. Looks very 18th century to me. Also has a sort of Neil Gaiman-y quality.

    I'd try a fatter font.

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  2. Not a bad font. I'm not a fan of the "M's" downward dip, though, because I think it affects readability.

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  3. I think the Ms and N are a little too uniform looking for the "scrawliness" of the font. A good trick for fonts like these is to print them out at a fairly big size and then trace over them a few times with a suitably ragged marker. By the third pass it starts to look natural, and you'll get some variation on those dropped curlies on the M and N.

    I've had good results with this. Just a suggestion though.

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  4. It has a playfulness to it that sort of plays into the weirdness of the pulps. I dig. I agree with KP about the m's though. At first glance I had trouble recognizing it.

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  5. My vote is "perfect." No changes.

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  6. I would agree that it has a historical feel to it. Not what I think of for pulp.

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  7. It's hard to read (ms look like zs to me; thw w and i almost ellide with the lean on the i's dot; i and m almost make an r, etc.), and because of that I think it would make a wonderful players handout, but isn't something I'd use where readability was a priority.

    Tone-wise, it feels rather spidery, similar to what I imagine Bilbo's hand would look like.

    Allan.

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  8. I agree with Booberry, the "M"s could use some tweaking.

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  9. Looks like the font for the title of a Tim Burton film. Not implying that it's a good or bad thing, just the first thing that jumped in my head.

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  10. I'm getting a American colonial era feel from it, for some reason. It looks nice, but is a bit hard to read.

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  11. My initial reaction to the style is similar to Zak's. It seems to me a bit more flowery than ominous.

    Context could influence my opinion greatly, however. Would it be used on a cover? Looking through book covers, here on your own weblog, James, and on my own shelf, I see rather plain (albeit bold) type combined with eye-catching design or imagery. The text informs and the imagery inspires.

    That said, I would use a font like this in a spot where it can "breathe" (e.g., a title page).

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  12. I'm getting a sort of Jack the Ripper, murky goings on in a dark and foggy London town kind of feel from it. Not necessarily historical, as it has a Victorian Horror feel, but definitely of a distinct time. I would use it in a shot for Call of Cthulhu handouts.

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  13. The problem with fonts meant to resemble handwriting is that if they're too busy, you have a readability problem (as others have noted) and they just don't really look handwritten because they're too regular. The downward curl on the lowercase m is a case in point: if this were really handwritten, and if only one of the Ms had a downward curl, it would look better. I'd recommend either doing it from scratch by hand, getting someone else to do it, or trying Booberry's trick.

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  14. I also see it as 18th century. I immediately thought of the Three Musketeers or a cloistered abby.

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  15. This doesn't say "pulp fantasy" to me, but it does sort of say "Edgar Allan Poe" or "Mervyn Peake", so if that's the vibe you're looking for, then there you go.

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  16. Looks fantastic for an age-of-sail game.

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  17. First of all, it is more historical than pulpy.

    The other thing is that it made me think of the chapter title pages from 3e... and I'm not sure that's the kind of thing you're trying to evoke!

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  18. I like it, even though seems a bit late for the campaign as you've been describing it (I imagine Dwimmermount as a classic late medieval/early-renaissance setting). But maybe I just long for an RPG set in the later, high renaissance world.

    Come back, Ars Magica, come back!

    -D

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  19. Too busy for my eyes (and hard to read too!).

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  20. It's faux XVII century. And the Ms are horrible. I hate it.

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  21. Kinda maybe Restoration-era.

    Doesn't say "High Fantasy" to me, but whether that's good/bad depends on your PoV.

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  22. IMO, it's too busy and since it's an unusual word the eye struggles to determine what the word is.

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  23. It's not very legible. Based upon my admittedly restricted understanding of pulp fantasy aesthetics, you should be looking more at Futura than this. That type certainly isn't historical, either, if you're referring to an actual typeface. You'd even be stretching it as far as handwriting and signage goes.

    If I were you, I'd go for an old style or transitional serif.

    Might I suggest, if you or the publisher is willing to spend some $$$, that you look into what Hoefler & Frere-Jones have to offer? I think you might like Requiem:

    http://www.typography.com/fonts/font_overview.php?productLineID=100020

    Browse through Myfonts.com

    Hell, you could also look into what Vincent Baker used for Dogs in the Vineyard:

    http://www.cthulhulives.org/toybox/PROPDOCS/PropFonts.html

    H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society put together a few vintage typefaces. There's even one that replicates Lovecraft's signature.

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  24. I agree with Ax. First thing I thought of was the movie Sleepy Hollow.

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  25. http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/storm/john-baskerville/

    http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/archivetype/archive-cider/

    http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/archivetype/archive-french-script/

    http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/adobe/garamond/

    You might also want to look into this book: http://ilovetypography.com/2009/11/06/type-a-visual-history-of-typefaces-graphic-styles/

    If you're looking to evoke a pulp aesthetic, look for modern sans-serif types with geometric letter forms. If you're looking for medieval or edwardian types, you can find ones (like Garamond, Baskerville, Caslon, etc.) that actually existed and were used during that time.

    I would suggest that you get a nice illustration of the mountain or mountain range, something like an old style woodcut. Then pair it with "Dwimmermount" underneath using something like Requiem.

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  26. And to further pollute this post with my comments, I missed this on the Hoefler & Frere-Jones website:

    http://www.typography.com/fonts/font_overview.php?productLineID=100012

    "Historical Allsorts."

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  27. I would suggest that you get a nice illustration of the mountain or mountain range, something like an old style woodcut. Then pair it with "Dwimmermount" underneath using something like Requiem.

    I like the way you think :)

    Good ideas -- and thanks to everyone who's been commenting. Please keep it coming.

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  28. Riding on Verhaden's suggestions, I can readily imagine the "D" framed or otherwise illuminated with mountainous silhouette.

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  29. Sort of "Jonathon Strange-ish" to me.

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  30. I'm afraid it reminds me of Ronald Searle's scratchy cartoon writing:
    http://www.stcustards.free-online.co.uk/topp/latin/latin4.htm

    (of St. Trinian's fame, influenced Gerald Scarfe)... which is at least not fantasy cliche, but kind of off-putting.

    I strongly dislike Abaddon, though, because it reminds me of Bethesda Softworks' Elder Scrolls/Morrowind/Oblivion properties.

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  31. The font reminds me of doing cryptology research during the summer at the Tower of London for my thesis. My vote is to find a new font.

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  32. Another vote for "Tim Burton," which I feel would be inappropriate. No Goth!!

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  33. +1 for "fake musketeer or English restoration film" or equivalent: not necessarily a bad thing? :)

    > pulp fantasy decadence

    Depends entirely on what those words mean to you and which aspects you might wish to reflect from your campaign.

    For example, "decadence" is hooked as often as "pulp fantasy" which is one reason why Art Nouveau fonts such as Arnold Böcklin and similar/related/inspired font families are often invoked for anything from low fantasy through steampunk. (q.v. http://tinyurl.com/y936yzr , http://tinyurl.com/ybtj5gg , http://tinyurl.com/yev5626 ).

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  34. For me, it evokes more Tolkien than pulp fantasy. Something about it reminds me of elvish runes. Just my $0.02 though

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  35. It looks to me like the sort of hand that one might find in an old journal in a ruinous House, perhaps on some Borderlands. It evokes Clark Ashton Smith and Zothique, or maybe the 17th century of Solomon Kane.

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  36. To me it looks Renaissance/swashbuckler/Blackadder-ish. It could be decadent like Lankhmar, a corrupt and evil city, rather than decadent like a fallen ancient empire or like sorcerers having traffic with the Great Old Ones.

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  37. I'll second the suggestion for Requiem or maybe even plain old Garamond. Dwimmermount is such a wonderful name that you'll want to make it as instantly readable as possible.

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  38. If you approach the problem by looking at actual "pulps" (both the originals and the 60's/70's revival) you'd amazed by the amount of art deco or art nouveau fonts that the designers employ. It even creeped into some of the early TSR stuff. I do recognize that font - Zothique.

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  39. It's not really working for me. Too 18th century, colonial America.

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