'The Alley' theatre - stencil logotype

mattmc's picture


I'm expanding the logo above into a full set of uppercase characters to be used on posters and flyers for the theatre. I'm trying to keep the characteristics intact, like the strong letterforms and low crossbar on the A. I want the letters to look more like type on the sides of old factory buildings or 30s era WPA posters rather than mechanical or robotic.


This set of letters is what I was going for but I want to make sure letters like the M, N, X, and K fit with the rest of the type.


I tried to make the letters more a like but I think the M, N, X, K now look a bit too sci-fi or robotic.

I've also included a couple of alternate character designs that I haven't decided on yet like Q and S. I haven't finished adding all the pylons for the stencil look, but I've got a start on it. Any feedback would be appreciated.

paulstonier's picture

Interesting work, Matt. One thing I'm noticing is that the letters without a stencil-cut feel heavier than the ones with a cut. I'd be interested in seeing a solid and stencil version with a bit more consistency.

mattmc's picture

I do need to finish adding the stencil cuts to most of the letters. I haven't decided yet if I should add them to all the letters that wouldn't actually need them to function as a stencil. It seems to be working with the E, F, L and S. I don't know how yet to handle it with the Y or T.

The logotype is still subject to change, so the Y and T might end up with cuts. Suggestions on how to handle it? I've looked to FF Oxide Stencil for some inspiration, but not all the letters feature a pylon since the Stencil version is for actually cutting stencils I'm sure, not just the style of the stencil letter.

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mattmc's picture

I put some more work into the face tonight. Here's the full character set and words set in it


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Marco's picture

One thing i noticed, sicnce you like the low crossbar 'A' maybe try to incorporate that into the letter 'K' (and E/F/etc)?

The 'M' and 'W' are a little off, the meaning the white lines in the letters are two directional...

just my 2 C

paulstonier's picture

Nice work, they look a lot more unified now. For the T and Y, I'd cut them in the same way as Glaser Stencil cuts the T. You'll see Arston Stencil cuts it differently.

I'd also like to see a 2 stroke Y as an alternative.

As far as lowering the crossbars, I'd try it, but you're likely to get looking pretty funky. Either way, just make sure you do it on the G, too if you do.

mattmc's picture

I added quite a few new characters and tried some of your suggestions for cutting the characters. I found that trying to modify the K, E, F, G etc... to fit the low cross bar of the A and Y was just too awkward so I'd rather either just keep the K and A as they are or raise the crossbars. Which looks better? And which cuts do you prefer for the N, M, W?

Also working on the angle and weight of slashes and height of brackets.

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paulstonier's picture

Looks good. I think it was a good choice to at least make alternative characters for the higher crossbar. The new cuts help a lot and I REALLY like the new Y. Fits the typeface better. The first of each of the M N W are my choice, but if you can include alternatives, I'd keep em hiding in the background.

The one thing I notice now is that the 4 doesn't feel as boxy as the rest of the glyphs. I'd see if you could draw it in a more fork-ish shape. Possibly borrowing from the first Y.

paulstonier's picture

P.S. when's the next podcast coming out?

mattmc's picture

I also wanted to post some of the new characters set in the logo. I think it's important to remember that the logotype is the primary concern and the typeface will be used as a compliment. I still like the first option the best.

In response to RBtL: We were supposed to record a podcast this weekend but unfortunately both of us got held up at work and visiting family. We'll try to record a new one this coming week.

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paulstonier's picture

I have to agree. The first option works best for that case. I would try giving a little more letterspacing for the logo. Some of the cuts are causing letters to blend. Especially in THE.

No prob, just wondering. I've been missing the show, but summer will do that to you.

Marco's picture

Hi Matt,

Great progress.

I'm looking at the font, and I really like it too. I would keep all alternatives. This way you won't have problems in the logo.

As for the logo, to me no. three looks really better, but needs some kern. As for the cap 'A': i keep wondering if you could maybe cut the left terminal altogether, like the 'E', I keep thinking that in a real stencil it would not work like you have now. Take a look at: http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/urw/glaser-stencil/...

good luck!

mattmc's picture

I opened up the spacing in the logo a bit. I also gave that 'A' a full cut as an option.

I'm also working on an ampersand and at sign. They are both a bit tricky in this style but I think I'm close.

Thoughts?

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mattmc's picture

I also tried some variations of number signs

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picard102's picture

top right #, first &, first @.

mattmc's picture

thanks picard

working on some more characters

and i'm going to add some dingbats into the font for use in the theatre

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mattmc's picture

and here's my idea for how the dingbats might be used

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samwieck's picture

Looking great Matt. Really like the dingbats for signage purposes. Going be one hell of a cohesively designed place.

paulstonier's picture

I actually would go with the 2nd ampersand and not crazy about any of the @ symbols. I think you can work the stencil design of it better. For the sake of picking one, the third one matches best with the arrows.

All the instances I see of the A need more spacing to be even with the rest of the face. I'd be careful of your kerning pairs.

Dingbats look great. I'd see what happens by bringing the heads on the people smaller.

paulstonier's picture

Top row, 4th column on the # symbol.

mattmc's picture

I'll see what I can come up with for the @. I'm kind of liking the 1st one now though. I've been setting some email addresses, for example:

i agree the heads look big. I was trying to fit the width of most of the strokes, but I'll see what they look like a bit smaller.

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paulstonier's picture

Seeing it in context, it actually works quite nicely.

I don't know if you're working on kerning tables yet, but the MA combo is too tight, while the EA combo is too open.

mattmc's picture

I hadn't started working on the kerning tables when I posted that but I have since then. I've been having trouble getting the kerning tables to export as a font file, I guess i'll have to scour the forums for some answers on that.

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