Uncivilized Books recently commissioned me to design and build a font for French cartoonist Joann Sfar. They are bringing unpublished Sfar material to the North American market and would have to be translated from French. A font of his hand lettering facilitates translation and editing while keeping the unique hand lettered look of his comics. Creating typefaces for cartoonists is one of my favorite thing to do with regard to font making.
Opentype is a great font format to use for typefaces that have a hand lettered look. People may not see it this way but fonts are essentially small programs that you install on your computer. There are small bits of code embedded into fonts that “talk” with your applications, and dictates how the font behaves. For example, in this font I used discretionary ligatures (see sample above) for certain letters that repeat next to each other such as “ll”, “oo”, etc. When the letters appear as you type, the font automatically switches them out to pairs that I created in the font to keep the organic look of the lettering. There also other options that I embedded into the typeface that will allow the use of alternative letters, basically a second alphabet, to further give the font an organic look. With Opentype, the possibilities are endless.
I was also approached to created a second set of fonts that uses Sfar’s cursive hand lettering. It was decided that it would be too time consuming for the time frame they had in mind, as it involves a different level of complexity and coding compared to the font I built. They ended up hiring a letterer (cartoonist Kevin Cannon) to translate the text and forgo the font. It was the best way to go, in my opinion, as some hand lettering do not translate as well to becoming a font. I saw the results of the lettering and they looked great. (It would have made for a beautiful typeface, though!)
Below is a comparison of the original hand lettering and the font. Do you know which is which?
© Joann Sfar
The latest identity project here at the studio is Witness, a new bar located in the heart of Broadway in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. It was the dream of bartender Gregg Holcomb to open a Southern church-styled bar that is a place for all to gather. With 102 year old church pew seats and glass windows evoking a church, I was contacted to craft a logo that would give the bar a timeless feel of Southern hospitality. Obvious cliches of church themed typefaces and logos (including Bible aesthetics) were pushed aside in search of something deeper within the zeitgeist of the deep South, and explore the idea of community that involves Sundays after church with potlucks and fellowship.
Besides being an illustrator, I also design typefaces. I have had the honor to work with David Lasky to create and design a typeface out of his hand lettering for his new graphic novel, The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song (written by Frank Young). Two different alphabets were created to give the lettering an organic feel, as well as italics and bold faces. What a great project to work on! Check it out, it’s a wonderful book.
The Kalm Down logo is for a drink made from kava, drunk in Polynesian culture (especially within the island of Fiji) for hundreds, if not thousands of years, for it’s relaxing qualities. My client, Kalm Down, LLC., have been in business within the year, but felt that they needed to revamp and develop their brand to stand out among many of the mediocre kava makers in the market. Continue reading
Logo for non-profit that takes mentally and physically handicapped individuals out in nature.
“Kalm Down” logo for a kava drink. Packaging and website in the works!
Click here to read about the process.
©2012 Kalm Down, LLC
Comps for theoretical packaging redesign of Widmer Brothers’ signature beer. The brief called for a hip, funky feel while recalling their heritage.
Vintage Mattel Monkey-ola toy spotted as a prop in a boutique store.