Hip Handwriting Font?

dctroy's picture

I'm looking for a handwriting typeface with a bit of an edge to it. I'm working on an identity project to appeal to urban youngish people in their late 20s and 30s. I'd like to find a face that's casual and has some attitude, a little graffiti vibe in the style of the Mossimo logo (www.mossimo.com), but not a bonafide graffiti face -- I need pretty good readability.
The closest thing I've found so far is Marydale http://www.philsfonts.com/showing.html?sku=3I00001201P2&start=1

Which is okay but not quite as stylish as I'm looking for.
It seems all the handwriting or casual script fonts seem too Hallmark greeting card/Yuppie woman "pizzaz" / Kraft salad dressing label...

Any thoughts?

Thanks

Norbert Florendo's picture

Maybe I can start you out with three very different treatments so you can give us an idea of just "how edgey" you want to go:

Velour by Jason Fagone. Sort of a quill grunge classy look.

AggstockGravid by TarmSaft Font Factory. Hard and crude marker style.

Da Bomb by Future Fonts. Basic graffiti

Dav's picture

'Plz Script', by Rae Kaiser / Outside the Line, 'Wopi Script', by Piotr Wozniak / 066.FONT, or even 'Pablo', by Trevor Pettit / Letraset, maybe.?

Dav, formlos

Dan Weaver's picture

Look at the new Cezanne Pro, Its Cezanne but with about 6 alternates for each character.

.'s picture

Would it be out of line for me suggest that you don't speak down to your audience by trying to lure them in with your approximation of hip street graphic lingo, or by visually aligning yourself with a brand they apparently enjoy? (If this is your approach, maybe you should refer to the iPod logotype.) Would it also be out of line for me to suggest you listen to the people you are targeting, and maybe collect some writing samples, so that you can see how they express themselves, then use your research as the basis for your approach?

If there is one thing I learned as a graphic designer it was that you have to be a member of the tribe to speak the language of the tribe; you can't be a tribal observer and expect to be trusted. (If there is a second thing that I learned it is that a typeface alone is not a design solution.)

Norbert Florendo's picture

Chester, you have obviously directed your comment at me, since all of the other replies contain only typeface names.

First, let me say that the "Village" is great (a comment which has nothing to do with this thread).

>If there is one thing I learned as a graphic designer it was that you have to be a member of the tribe to speak the language of the tribe

I think my descriptive terminology is strictly typographic: quill, grunge, crude marker, graffiti, and makes no attempts at approximating "hip street graphic lingo."

If you mean that to be "a member of the tribe" you have to live and work within the environs of other members, then I am one of the Grand Elders, having spent the a great number of years in the gritty streets of NYC and East Village with the very people that made it "hip." East Village was just a quite Ukranian neighborhood at one time.

NYC spray bomb graffiti styles emerged on the scene on subway cars during the 1960s, and on the west coast in LA around the same time. "Rap" and "Gangstas," "Bloods" have been around for over thirty years and have made the "mainsteam" vernacular that even Soccer Moms know "waz up."

If you mean "tribe" to be a member of the younger up & coming urban designers on the scene, then you are right, I'm out in the pasture flinging cow chips.

You are not out of line for expressing that you feel my comments were condescending, but just say it plain, clear and directed to the individual(s). Because anything I can learn about being more helpful or understanding to posters who seek advice would be very helpful to me. I have no "ego" axe to grind and enjoy this community immensely.

--------------------------------------------
Yes, I'm old, but I'm back in style!

Nick Shinn's picture

It's hard to tell from the brief samples of the fonts mentioned above how well they'd work as text fonts, which I presume is what you're after, with mention of readability.

Chester's point is interesting: does one appeal to a target market by using writing that looks like their writing (which might entail research and possibly commissioning a font), or by showing them something more stylish and "aspirational"? Reality or stereotype?

One present technique (albeit DM tacky) is to use a rough script on a pseudo-PostIt note, to make it look like a buddy is passing on a recommendation. Is that anything like your creative strategy Troy? I mean, whose voice is the script representing in your ID?

dctroy's picture

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. They are really helpful. Dav, I wasn't aware of Rae Kaiser's fonts but I really love them. The Plz Script is the closest thing I've seen to what I'm looking for, and it also looks cool with her (his?) "Architectural" font. The two could work well together for my project.

Chester, obviously research is an integral part of any successful design. However, my target audience/market is NOT graffiti artists or taggers. I'm looking for a face with an element of that kind of influence or flavor -- but a "real" graffiti face would be all wrong for my purposes.

Furthermore, you seem to be implying that we can't design for a group outside our own, which would be creatively confining, to say the least. Does that mean only designers with law degrees can design identities for law firms? Only gourmet cooks can design cookbooks? If I use a face like Cezanne am I "talking down to" my audience because I'm not a 19th century French post-impresssionist painter (and neither are they)?

Also, you said that a typeface alone is not a design solution. Did anyone say it was?

Troy

P.S.
Are people who buy Mossimo stuff a "tribe?" They sell that stuff at Target.

.'s picture

Norbert, actually I was replying to the original post, and not to your font suggestions and other comments.

Please allow me to speak specifically: When I spoke of "being a member of the tribe" I was thinking about the time when I worked at a design firm and we were working for a mountain bike company. I embraced and enjoyed the life of a mountain biker, traded in my roadie attitude for a mountain biker attitude, hung out with fellow mountain bikers, and competed in races - which we preferred to call "timed rides". I crashed, bled, and ate Clif Bars... I became a mountain biker. That was the only way that I could speak to my fellow mountain bikers through the work for the mountain bike company.

Design isn't simply applying a "style" to provided content; it is understanding a set of needs and desires and finding the way to communicate those needs and desires. Modernism isn't sans serif typefaces, it's philosophy. David Carson is a design philosopher; thousands of designers have copped his "style" but they have no idea about the philosophy behind his work.

To speak to the "youth market segment" requires much more than an edgy typeface.

paul d hunt's picture

Are people who buy Mossimo stuff a “tribe?” They sell that stuff at Target.

that's one brand name i've never minded having emblazoned across my chest. mostly b'cuz it looks so darn cool. i love that you can still get that stuff at target, and i love that they continue to update their aesthetic so they don't fall by the wayside as did yaga and stussy.

.'s picture

Troy, even though my story of mountain biking above implies that you DO need to be a full-fledged member of the tribe to speak to them, there are obviously levels.

No, you don't need to be a gourmet cook to design a cookbook, but if you are at least an amateur cook you should have insight to bring to your cookbook. You don't need to have a law degree, but you should talk to the lawyers at your law firm client and learn what they do during the course of their day. Unless you understand what they do it is very difficult to speak on their behalf.

Norbert Florendo's picture

Sorry, Chester,
I carefully re-read your post and now realize you were offering advice in directed marketing design through depth of experience and understanding of the target group.

Unfortunately, the Voodoo Meisters of Marketing could care less about being aligned with any tribe except the "RICH!" Designers just offer treatments and direction on marketing campaigns, but all of the major campaign decisions are made by those who hold the purse strings.

What I am really trying to say is that top marketers are constantly sniffing for anything up & coming. That's why some firms actually hire teenagers as consultants on buying trends. We designers are frequently just delegated to developing treatments. Though once in a while we (as designers) do really shine, and that makes it worth it.

hrant's picture

> don’t speak down to your audience

But isn't graphic design often about helping
people pretend to be part of a desirable group?
Think of how companies quickly approriate
fringe/hip stuff... with our help.

hhp

dezcom's picture

Some people prefer to be "Method Actors", some find other ways to research audience needs. There is equity in both or all methods.

ChrisL

dezcom's picture

"Mossimo stuff a “tribe?” "

Now I KNOW I am not part of that tribe, I don't even know what Mossimo is. Of course I am not young and the only things hip about me connect my legs to my body. ;->

ChrisL

Nick Shinn's picture

Burberry, blackletter and the typography in Schott's miscellany: not always the raddest stuff is hip, y'know.

Fountain's Incognito and Zanzibar are kind of old school.

So there's probably a way to (mis)use Bickham Script and Zapfino Extra Pro that would be quite cool.

Norbert Florendo's picture

Troy,
could you be a little more descriptive about the branding project without disclosing too much? Is it a company name, service or product?

>I need pretty good readability
I take that to mean there will be some amount of text more than just the logo itself, like for a restaurant menu or such.

Norbert Florendo's picture

Hey Chris,
Just so you know what they mean by "hip" lettering.

dezcom's picture

"Just so you know what they mean by “hip” lettering."

Norbert,
That is quite some body of work :-)

Good thing this isn't an architecture forum talking about groin vaults :->

ChrisL

.'s picture

Note to all: I'm sorry that I used this thread as a soapbox. I've done that a couple of times lately, and I simply must stop. With my apologies. From now on, my opinions will be kept to myself.

William Berkson's picture

Chester, please don't keep your opinions to yourself--they are interesting ideas, and everyone is free to accept or reject them.

Norbert Florendo's picture

Chester, as stated in many other topics and threads, this forum benefits from diverse opinions, and given the expertise level of its many contributors, it's no wonder it commonly attracts over 1000 visitors to stay online during peak hours.

Back on topic:
Miss Tiffany's story post today from Linotype includes Ego, a handwriting styled typeface.

-----------------------------------------
Yes, I'm old, but I beg to differ!

hrant's picture

Chester: no way, dude.

hhp

Guerella's picture

Norbert: I love that you linked to BME. That is my tribe!

Norbert Florendo's picture

Guerella, do you recognize whose hip it is?

Guerella's picture

No, she didn't put a name with the image. And I don't recognize her.

Diner's picture

Funny . . . hip or not, it's pretty close to my Sweet Rosie font

:D

Dan Weaver's picture

dctroy, Its often not the typeface but how its used. The point about Cezanne Pro is you have so many options to make it look custom, but as Norbert has pointed out without knowing the context of your typeface useage, its just a stab in the dark.

miles's picture

'wildstyle' graffiti is a dialect of american capitalism.

dezcom's picture

Hope she bought a license for Sweet Rosie. Buying a font for tatoos could be a prickly issue :-)

ChrisL

oldnick's picture

Chris,

I hate to needle you but, if you keep those kinds of comments up, you just might get stuck with the title of resident pundit.

Nick Shinn's picture

>'wildstyle’ graffiti is a dialect of american capitalism.

I don't think so. It's an activity of those marginalized by the capitalist system, who can't afford to rent advertising space or buy a storefront to get their message seen.

In a sense, then, it is a product of capitalism, but in that case so was communism.

hrant's picture

No, Communism was mostly a result of a desire for decency, which has always existed in Man, and sometimes gets the attention it deserves (just not these days).

hhp

dezcom's picture

"I hate to needle you but, if you keep those kinds of comments up, you just might get stuck with the title of resident pundit."

Nick,
Please don't stick me with that label:-)

ChrisL

Nick Shinn's picture

>Communism was mostly a result of a desire for decency,

No, while there have always been "communal" social/political movements, Communism per se was a specific political system and movement, deriving from Marx's 1848 Manifesto. It's the Hegelian element in Marx's theory that I was alluding to: capitalism being the thesis producing, through economic determinism, its antithesis, communism.

So, there are beer and smokes billboards plastered all over the poor side of town, that's the thesis, and a subway car covered in grafitti is its antithesis.

parker's picture

[Nick, would you mind to see my first font — Critique/sans serif "Untitled: First font" ; thank you]

dctroy's picture

Dan:
I love Cezanne (the typeface AND the artist) but I think it's too formal and antiquated looking for what I'm going for.
The project is an identity for a line of all-natural soaps that are handmade in Brooklyn by a friend of mine. They look great, I think.
Here is a link to a photo: http://serv1.uploadengine.com/1123705268D.jpg
They smell terrific too. You almost want to eat them.

We wanted to do something that looks casual and contemporary and "youth" oriented, in this case middle to upper-middle income people who consider themselves fairly with it. We also wanted to avoid the romantic/precious references to historical styles (Laura Ashley, for example) that are so common in this category. Thirdly, we wanted something that would appeal to women AND men.

I was thinking the handwriting look would reinforce the handmade nature of the soaps -- each one really is different.

hrant's picture

I'm sorry Nick, your neat little set of perfectly cubical boxes fail yet again to contain the human reality: the principles behind communism are much older than Marx, and seeing them as being a result of Capitalism smells very... capitalistic!

hhp

Dan Weaver's picture

Remember Dove is an italic (I think marketed to women) and Irish Spring is a bold Italic (marketed to men). I still believe how you use the type will hit your demographic group. Color and even size of the type will make a difference. Maybe you could market the soap like they market lagers, make it "Brooklyn Clean" or something to that effect.

miles's picture

>In a sense, then, it is a product of capitalism, but in that case so was communism.

Wildstyle graffiti is driven by the need for 'awareness', using inane and repetative 'advertising' in the global public realm. But it's not profit making, so i guess it's more aligned with consumerism (like skateboarding is now). If 99.9% of graffiti did not look nearly so similar, I'd think differently.

Nick Shinn's picture

Hrant, how DO you manage to stay so in touch with reality? And so untainted by the stench of capitalism? Is the secret an all-natural soap, handmade in Los Angeles, featuring a with-it handscript on the packaging? What IS that font?

oldnick's picture

the principles behind communism are much older than Marx

Hrant, this statement is generally true, but Marx's Manifesto was developed, I believe, in response to specific economic trends which were emerging at the time he wrote it; specifically, it was a reaction to emergent industrialism.

Most people believe, because their history textbooks tell them so, that the American Civil War was waged to put an end to slavery. This tenet is utter nonsense: it was waged to see which manner of slavery would prevail -- chattel slavery or wage slavery. American industrial output exceeded its agricultural output for the first time in 1850, which is when the debate began showing up on the American political stage (the Missouri Compromise). The basic point of contention:

  • Factories required large labor pools from which to draw workers, and thus required large cities; and
  • Large cities were inimical to slavery, because they offered anonymous refuges for runaway slaves;

By this point in time, most European powers were no longer in the chattel slavery business, but wage slavery was a growing concern throughout the industrializing world. So, yes, Marx's specific brand of communism was indeed inspired by capitalism: it's just a shame that such a dysfunctional bunch of brigands as the Bolsheviks tried to pull it off...

Ale Paul's picture

Troy
I think Brisa could be a good choose but you know, its mine and i m not very objective but I can see it in soaps labels ;)

Alejandro Paul
www.sudtipos.com

dezcom's picture

Alejandro,
"Brisa" is not mine but I think it is pretty damn beautiful. Good Work! I will keep it in mind for future projects of mine.

ChrisL

Ale Paul's picture

hehe Chris, sorry for my english, the font is yours or whoever wants licence it :) but anyway I m still not objective!

Alejandro Paul
www.sudtipos.com

paul d hunt's picture

one of my favorite grafitti-inspired fonts is Menace by Letterhead Fonts.

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