All Star Alphabet

Lubalin's picture

Hi,
I am trying to put together an all-star classis/retro alphabet and I am very interested in some ideas from you. What is your favourite A, K, Ampersand etc.

Work in progress just did it http://www.workinprogressblog.com/?cat=11, but I think it would be cool to make a better one, which shouldn't be a problem, with a little help from all you expert fontheads : )

I enclosed a picture of the letters I have done so far, just to give you an idea of where I want to go with this, but it is very far from done.
As you can see, most of it is already custom-made, so it doesn't have to be an existing font. It can be a scan from an old magazine etc. Anything goes!

// Mark

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allstar.jpg29.43 KB
HaleyFiege's picture

Is this legal?

Lubalin's picture

I can't see what should be illegal about it. I am nothing putting it up for sale or anything like that...

Thomas Levine's picture

I can’t see what should be illegal about it. I am nothing putting it up for sale or anything like that...

Copyright law is really messed up. Unless the letters are released under a free license like GFDL or CC or copyright has expired, you may want to get permission from the creators, even if you're not using the work for non-commercial purposes. Fair use might not allow you to use the letters.

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Use)

This reminds me of Girl Talk.

Lubalin's picture

If it is illegal, I won't do it, but as you can see in the enclosed jpg, it is mostly custom-made letters at the moment and I only want to use fonts and scans for inspiration. I still can't see how that can be illegal. If i was using 20 or more different fonts in a design assignment, it wouldnt be illegal, and that would even be profitable which this project isn't.
The main reason I want to do it, is for educational purposes. I thought it would be very interesting to hear what people's favourite letters etc. is, and maybe make a costum font based on that information.

So please start spilling some font-wisdom : )

HaleyFiege's picture

Instead why don't you get everyone to design one glyph?

Lubalin's picture

That is a very, very good idea haley.
I am still interested in a retro/classic look like the ones i posted, and if people would be interested in doing that, it would definately be much more interesting.
I am very happy about the "C" I already made, but the rest of them is up for grabs : )

// Mark

Reed Reibstein's picture

AFAIK, as long as the designs from each source are original, there's no legality issue. The clearest problem would be if someone took another digital font and used a glyph as the base for one of your letters, but taking inspiration from others' type is more than okay.

EDIT: And in a more helpful vein, there are actually several threads on Typophile that have been about favorite letters, favorite ampersands, favorite characters in a favorite font, etc. A Google search of Typophile for "favorite letter" and the like should turn up some good results.

Lubalin's picture

Thx a lot auricfuzz!
This could be such a cool little project and I am glad you cleared the legal issues up a little bit.

I will go hunting for favorite letter threads...

Reed Reibstein's picture

BTW, just remembered something sort of similar over at StormType. His isn't a selection of favorite characters but simply characters from all his typefaces, but it may be useful nevertheless.

James Arboghast's picture

Nick Curtis made his version of this well-tried idea in 2000 with Pastiche---a polygluttonous font made up of 26 other decorative Ar'deco faces. You can probaly pick up a copy of Pastiche at typOasis.

It's a great idea.

Mark, yours is looking extremely interesting so far :^)

j a m e s

Dan Gayle's picture

The idea of the legality of this is nonsense. Unless he's actually copy-and-pasting the exact original digital outlines of an original typeface, there's a snowball's chance that he'd have any legal issues.

Ethically, he might not want to do that, but remember only the software is copyrighted. The design is not. (In America, at least...)

Lubalin's picture

Thanks a lot James!
It is very nice and helpful to hear what you all think, so I will post it again when I have taken it a little further.
Please keep posting ideas and maybe even participate and make a letter : )
It would make an interesting story when it was all of you guys that did it together...

James Arboghast's picture

I'll see what I can come up with. What glyphs/letters do you need?

j a m e s

aluminum's picture

I think we typophile's jump the gun a tad too quick when issues of 'OMG...he copied a letter' pop-up.

Even if this was literally taking the best letter from 26 commercial fonts and putting them in to an 'all-star' face, I don't see how that really is a big deal. It seems to be an homage done for fun...not profit in any way. It's fun.

Yea, yea, any of the foundries could make a stink if they wanted to, and they'd probably be within their rights, but I can't possibly see how Lubalin has any intention of doing anything malicious here (at least based on what I've read in this thread.)

I'm not against protecting copyright...I just cringe when I see 'copyright!' used as a way to shout down creativity.

Jack B. Nimblest Jr.'s picture

"...can’t possibly see how Lubalin has any intention of doing anything malicious here..."
I would tend to agree, Mr. Lubalin having passed away in 1981. Besides that though, I'm not sure what "wisdom" is required spilling of, nor what "fun" there is in making/using Ransom Note fonts, as opposed to, for example — the study of, use of, and discourse upon whole alphabets, which is mostly what most of us do most of the time.

Cheers!

aluminum's picture

"nor what “fun” there is in making/using Ransom Note fonts"

To each their own. Is collage a valid art form? Song remixes? Sampling?

Miss Tiffany's picture

First, no one in this thread is a lawyer. Yeah, I'm hard-nosed, but better safe than sorry. Some foundries won't see this as an homage so much as just a violation of their rights and their EULA agreement with you.

Second, I see not violating copyright of others as a creative challenge. Just as I consider not copping another's ideas to solve my own problems.

Last, if this is an internal, just for fun, not for public consumption (including sharing), then go for it.

aluminum's picture

Is making a mix tape for your spouse to listen to a bad thing? I just think we tend to over-react. Perhaps it's a necessary reaction.

Jack B. Nimblest Jr.'s picture

"To each their own..." forum, perhaps?
Collage is a valid art form. Song remixes are too. Sampling, I guess.
If the final form of a 'collage' were whole or part of previous works not owned by the 'artist' but given to the viewer to make a collage — is that 'giving' a 'valid art form'? ;-.

I like this work by the way, the letters in composition are well worth looking at. If one were to say, let's make squares out of our favorite letters and talk about 'em, I might think otherwise. But an 'homage' ransom note font would not be so unless each person who viewed or used it knew, or could find from the work itself who made each letter, would it?

Cheers!

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