"Faux Type" Examples

hrant's picture

I'm looking for attractive examples of lettering/writing that closely imitates type. Like these:
http://www.themicrofoundry.com/other/unCourier.gif
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/ergo/linotypeergosketch/testdrive.html?s=Growing+Up&p=72

Anything appreciated!

hhp

Grant Hutchinson's picture

Randy Jones' recent Olduvai comes to mind.

hrant's picture

Brian, yeah, it's a great little book isn't it!

Stephen, that's a super thread I'd forgotten about (with Olduvai a major star), but maybe I shouldn't have put unCourier (as I call it) and Ergo Sketch on equal footing... Fonts that look hand-lettered are relevant and interesting, but they're more like Faux Faux Type! They pretend to be handmade. I think we can agree that there's still a cachet to the "real thing", and as rare as it is, I'm hoping people can find nice examples of that.

Like here's one from a local pastry shop:

Berolina_1

I know this is "authentic faux" :-) because I spoke with the lady who made it and she said she based it on an old specimen book!

hhp

hrant's picture

Oh. My bad. Was working my way down, as yet oblivious to the non-type entries.
Looks like great stuff - will peruse ma

John Hudson's picture

There's a little 17th or early 18th century manuscript book shown in -- I think, it is a long time since I looked at it -- An Atlas of Typeforms. On first glance, the book looks typeset because the lettering is so neat and regular and decidedly typographic (although not modelled on a particular typeface, I think). I'll try to track down the exact reference tomorrow.

Nick Shinn's picture

This is from an ad on the back of a piece of sheet music from around 1850. It's a detail of a large tract of "small text".
fauxShinn

hrant's picture

John, looking at the Atlas, I think I know which one you mean: #3 on page 17, "La Paraphrasi" by M Flaminio? It is indeed suprisingly typographic. Strange... I wonder what the logic was, considering it was about 2 centuries after the invention of printing!

Nick, you're sure that's handwritten?

hhp

hrant's picture

> the 'a's give it away.

Dunno.
That can happen with lead type, especially with small, worn sorts.

hhp

hrant's picture

Even if that's true, it could still have been a "contaminant" (a "wrong font" distribution). You should see the •••• that happened (and still happens) in a metal composition shops! I'm not saying it's definitely type, and maybe Nick knows something about it he hasn't mentioned yet, but with what we do know, think about it: what are the chances?

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

It doesn't look remotely like type.
Have you ever seen anyone kern "b-y"?

hrant's picture

> Have you ever seen anyone kern "b-y"?

Well, frankly, I haven't really looked very hard. Most of the times I've looked at kern lists were when they were obviously too short, and I wanted to see the [bad] logic behind it (like in Mrs Eaves).

But:
1) I do often kern "by" myself.
2) Don't you kern "e"/"o" with "v"? If not, what kind of "v"s do you make, exactly? :-)

hhp

John Hudson's picture

<i>John, looking at the Atlas, I think I know which one you mean: #3 on page 17, "La Paraphrasi" by M Flaminio<i>

No, that isn't the example I was thinking of. I looked through the Atlas... today, and did not find what I remembered, so it must have been in another book. I don't have time to search for it now, but if I stumble across it again any time in the next fifty years I'll try to remember to send you the reference :-)

The Flaminio Paraphrasi manuscript is indeed remarkable, and the murky illustration in the Atlas... doesn't do it any justice. I went to look at the original at the British Library (my one and only trip to the old reading rooms at the British Museum, before the move to the Euston site). It is really stunning, and very clean.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I kern b-y. It would be more work and make the font bigger to *not* kern b-y, as I'm using class kerning.

John Hudson's picture

Kerning 'by' in digital type is easy. What Nick is talking about is taking a fine file to the piece of metal. This is 1850, remember.

hrant's picture

Hmmm, looking back to your sample, I think you mean kerning the "y", right? As in kerning metal type. That might actually be a stronger clue for you claim. On the other hand, good founders sometimes had some quite impressive kerns, and Jim for example has noted that smaller bodies can have larger (relative) kerns with less risk of breakage.

BTW, I'm not trying to be a prick (even if I'm succeeding :-), I'm just saying we can't be so sure either way, at least not just by looking at that sample.

hhp

hrant's picture

> that isn't the example I was thinking of.

So the other one you remember as being even cleaner?
I don't know about 50, but for that I'd wait 10 years easy.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Here is some more of the ad.
It would have been printed at a single pass.
The illustrations were lithography (which commercially replaced engraving in the early 19th century), therefore the lettering would have been rendered in the same medium.
The captions are an ultra thin monolinear Egyptian.
harmoniums
Influence went both ways between type and "plated" lettering (whether engraved or litho'd), but it certainly looks like the fellow who did the text here tried to imitate type, but was unable to restrain himself from putting fancy tails on his "y"s.

John Hudson's picture

<i>So the other one you remember as being even cleaner?</i>

Much cleaner, and in a later style. It mimics either neo-classical or romantic types, I forget which: but with a vertical axis and high contrast, written with a split nib. In terms of the subject of this thread, it it more interesting than the Paraphrasi manuscript, which is remarkable for it neatness but still belongs to an age and style in which types were modelled on humanist roman and chancery italic hands, and in which writing masters were actively involved in the development of new types (Mardersteig thinks, for example, that Marcolini's italic types were based directly on Pietro Alluno's italic hand). But the later example to which I referred -- which I will try to find, because now it is bothering me -- belongs to an age when the division between chirographic and typographic letters had widened*


*Although I think the romantic type design of Bodoni represents a step closer to a chirography than the preceding century or so of type design; we tend to miss this, because Bodoni revivals tend to be over-rationalised and because most British and North American calligraphy of the past hundred years is of the broad-nib, renaissance variety, rather than the split-nib baroque and romantic.
_____

Off topic, but speaking of Marcolini, can anyone interpret his allegorical printer's mark? The motto is 'Truth is the daughter of time', but I can't figure out who the third figure is, or what they're all doing.

Printer's mark of Francesco Marcolini da Forli

armin's picture

Just came upon this site, via Coudal

rob keller's picture

this isn't new to Hrant, but it may be to some...

You can't leave out Dan Reynolds' intense hand lettering of Farewell. Respect.

reynolds farewell 1

r.k

as8's picture

__ The motto is 'Truth is the daughter of time',
but I can't figure out who the third figure is,
or what they're all doing. __

May be because Time is the best teacher who
unfortunately kills all his students ?

AS

dan_reynolds's picture

Wow, thanks for the props, Rob

hrant's picture

> the lettering would have been rendered in the same medium.

Assuming the illustrations were indeed lithographic, why couldn't the text just be composed with metal type on top? And after all, aren't the titles done that way? Maybe I'm missing something though.

Also: Does lithography preclude type anyway? I don't mean metal type in individual sorts, I mean "prefab letterforms", as opposed to "handwritten" letters.

> .... fancy tails on his "y"s.

Don't you think those tails are a bit too consistent though for such a "spirited" feature?

--

> I can't figure out who the third
> figure is, or what they're all doing.

Maybe he has two daughters, and they're fighting?

--

Armin, nice.

Dan, I'd forgotten! Mea culpa. (Thanks Rob.)

So I need a really nice close-up of that... Please?

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

A close-up of what?

hrant's picture

Of your faux type lettering.

hhp

mica's picture

This old sign was on the wall when I got my hair trimmed last Saturday:

Dr. Lyna's

John Hudson's picture

I think Nick is probably correct about the lettering in the harmonium advertisement. It wouldn't be unusual for lithographic or engraved plates to be handlettered but made to look like type. [Indeed, the opposite is also true: neo-classical and romantic types were designed to look like engraved letters. Baskerville worked as an engraver before he took up printing and publishing.]

But Hrant is right to point out that significant variation in letters can occur in letterpress printing. This photograph shows the many forms of a lowercase a that occur on a single page (p.183) of Baskerville's 1758 edition of Paraside Lost. As you can see, the variance is remarkable, affecting weight, proportion and shape of different aspects of the letter.

hrant's picture

Killer collage!

hhp

hrant's picture

BTW, tonight I'm starting a weekly calligraphy class (run by Reuben Allen), and after learning the basics I'll be focusing on getting handy with "faux type". What else? :-)

hhp

rob keller's picture

I think that learning calligraphy would help out quite a bit with digital type design, the "faux types" too for sure.

Hopefully someday I will take the initiative to take a class, until then I will be lazy and jealous.

good luck!


r.k

as8's picture

Hrant, I knew you were not anti-chiro ! :-)
Maybe you got inspired by the origin of the face ? :-D
Have fun & enjoy the hands,
AS

Stephen Coles's picture

The Hand Drawn Serif

(see the bottom of the list for applied lettering)

Stephen Coles's picture

Thanks for the reminder, Grant. Gotta add Olduvai to that list.

Stephen Coles's picture

You did see the bottom of the Typographica list, right?

Stephen Coles's picture

Yeah, the 'a's give it away. Beautiful sample, Nick!

Stephen Coles's picture

That bottom 'a' couldn't have come from the same piece of lead.
Nor the 'e'. But I admit I'm no expert on this stuff.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I kern my b-y alway. ;^)

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