Type face for a tattoo

Chris Hunt's picture

I would like advise on a type face for a tattoo.

It is going to be of the word 'brother'. I don't have a preference of upper or lower case, san/serif.

These are the characteristics of the type face followed by the characteristics of my brother:

It should be very strong - he is a Royal Marine Commando and has always been very strong mentally and physically.

It shouldn't have any unnecessary flair - he never shows off.

It should be unique never the less and show a bit of something that you wouldn't expect to be there - he has characteristics that are unseen to many as he does not show them off; they only come out when necessary.

fguimaraes's picture

I'm sure you'll get many better suggestions, but I would go with plain, black, all-caps Alternate Gothic No. 2:

Chris Hunt's picture

Inspired by Alternate Gothic I had a look around and Aviano Sans Bold is also spot on:

I like the broadness of the type face. And the slightly bigger 'B' (a capital in the type face rather then anything I did) is a really nice touch.

I will have a think about it if there are more suggestions and of course put a picture of it up on the forum once I have it done.

Aviano Sans Bold - linky

ilovecolors's picture

I would go with a sans-serif as well but with rounded corners, since someone that writes BROTHER surely has a kind heart, a shoulder to lean on, so, rounded corners.

FF Unit Rounded bold

James Arboghast's picture

Christopher—a more refined alternative to Aviano Sans bold is Engraver's Gothic, made by numerous font making outfits. The radiused corners is a good idea too, and it can be applied to any font you like, such as Aviano sans or Engraver's Gothic.

I think ILC is suggesting radiused corners because that's a massive trend in type design at the moment.

I recommend you go with something much more butch with a bit of contrast and discrete slab serifs, like Aachen bold (actually it's black but they call it bold). If Aachen isn't your cup of tea you could look at some of the slab serifs recommended on the "If Johnny Cash were a font" thread.

Why a slab serif? These sansies are okay but none of them have got any balls, not manly enuff for a royal marine commando, and they're rather dull. Surely your brother is more interesting than a plain old sans serif.

sans serif = prissy pants
slab serif = man's font

j a m e s

Chris Hunt's picture

@ilovecolors Having rounded corners gives it a more human feel.

@James Arboghast

Lol. Great reply.

My first inclination was to use Rockwell but thought it a too mechanical, so using a slab serif sounds good.

Going back to rounded, Aachen has some but doesn't lose it's manliness. I really like the strong bases and it hit the nail on the head with having something unique without having anything unnecessary.

'The radiused corners is a good idea too, and it can be applied to any font you like, such as Aviano sans or Engraver’s Gothic.' - Would I do this manually with Photoshop/Illustrator?

nina's picture

Aachen looks great for this. Just please make sure you get it large enough, space it a bit looser, and most importantly, go to a tattooist who knows what he's doing*.

The details, like the size of the serifs, will not be quite trivial to get right, and especially so in smaller sizes. Also, remember that tattoos tend to bleed a little over time (not as in blood, but as in ink spread), so those tiny spaces would likely fill up soon & get mushy.

* The shop directory at BME may be a good place to start looking if you don't have one yet. Also, while I haven't checked back there in a couple years or so, the folks on rec.arts.bodyart should be highly knowledgeable (though not always most peaceful).

James Arboghast's picture

Chris, if you're producing digital artwork for a tatoo artist to copy, the most flexible way of doing it is to convert some type into outlines in Photoshop or Illustrator, then modify the vector forms until the whole thing looks right.

Getting the size right is important, yes, and a little more space. To be certain the tattooist is up to the job I would ask to see samples of their lettering work and get premission to take photos so you can look over them in your own time and space. Drawing type forms properly is a detail job, and from what has been said about tattoos some things need to be compensated for or require special attention to make the tattoo viable long term.

Go one step at a time with this one.

j a m e s

Chris Hunt's picture

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'll post the photo of the “tat” on this thread once it's done.

@James & altaira I'm going to increase the letter spacing and seek advice from the tattooist on the bleed of the letters. I want to get it done here. I got some piercings done there, they also have a really good reputation.

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