Viewing entries tagged
font design

In the Works—New Blackletter/Hybrid Font

I have an aversion against taking the easy road. These days many font designers create their designs by referencing designs from the past. Make no mistake—there’s a goldmine of vintage designs out there waiting to be rediscovered. But there are a few of us font designers still left who want to create something that’s not been seen before . . . but that’s not that easy to do. Most of my fonts (with the exception of Steinweiss Script and DeLuxe Gothic) are completely new inventions.

I’ve been working on the font design shown here for the better part of a year—ever since I completed the Dyna-Fonts. The beginings of this font can be traced back to a project I worked on many years ago: a logo I was asked to design for the Califonia Angels baseball team. The work I did for them never saw the light of day, but I always had a soft spot in my heart for one of the logo designs I developed. The letterform portion of my design was comprised of what I called a sort of “blackletter/hybrid”. So I took the basis of that design and expanded it into a full working typeface design. Its working title is currently “Dark Angel”, derived from the project it had originated from.

My intention is that this font be more versatile and more legible than most other blackletter fonts. It’s going to have many, many ligatures, alternates, and letters with tails, and free-floating swashes, giving designers many opportunities to create one-of-a-kind graphics and titling.

It will also come in two versions: a regular solid version and an “underlit” version with a sort of hand-tooled effect.

By the way, did you notice that there are virtually no verticals and no horizontals in this font? I would not have been able to execute this design as you see it without the incredible vector plug-ins from Astute Graphics—particularly VectorScribe. These plug-ins have definitely filled many of the gaps I found in Adobe Illustrator, making it possible for me to do many things that I wouldn't have attempted without them.

This font is currently in its final stages of programming and production, with a tentative projected release date of June or July 2013. The name “Dark Angel” isn’t yet set in stone, and I’d like to consider other suggestions for the name. If I end up using the name you've come up with for this font, you will be the first to receive a complimentary copy of it as soon as its released.

To send a name suggestion for this font, or if you’d like to be notified when the font is released, please drop me an email and I’ll put you on my list to notify.


The Evolution of PowerStation

PowerStation is my one font that specifically evolved from a prior design assignment. I had been tasked with designing signage for Hershey’s Times Square flagship store. The signage needed to be designed in the spirit of a retro future-machine, à la Jules Verne or other Victorian “Steam Punk” aesthetic. So I came up with the following sketches in which I combined various lettering and type styles:

In the tighter version I designed the word “Hershey” to have a feeling of faceted letters, similar to what you might see on an old theater marquee:

Ever since I first became aware of them I’ve been faxcinated by the tactile qualities of these extruded plastic letterforms, and how they reminded me of candy. I’ve always thought there was something “delicious” about them.

So it seemed entirely appropriate to me that the word Hershey should be rendered that way, giving it a chunky, almost chocolatebar-like flavor. Note that in the final signage we needed to change the lettering of the word “Chocolateworks” to read “Chocolate Machine”.

I loved how my art turned out, especially the word “Hershey”. After this job was over it occured to me that I wasn’t aware of any fonts that successfully captured that particular faceted look. So I thought I’d try and see if I could make that work as a typeface:

I started sketching out various letters to see if it could be viable. As the font developed and it's strong industrial and moderne qualities became more apparent, I decided to name it "PowerStation".

As I developed PowerStation, it evolved from the one version I had adapted from the Hershey’s assignment into four different versions. These I decided to call Block, Wedge, Solid, and Outline. Then I thought I'd expand those into another four “Wide” versions. Now I had a family of eight different fonts.

But I guess I wasn’t able to leave well enough alone. Why not provide the added ability to set PowerStation in two colors? So I took the basic four faceted versions of PowerStation (Block, Block Wide, Wedge, and Wedge Wide) and broke each of them down into two separate fonts which, if set on separate layers, could provide 2 color typesetting. The solid “base” of the letters would be formed by setting the “Low” version of the font, and the facted part of the letter would be formed by setting the “High” version of the font on a layer directly above the “Low” version.

In other words a two color version of PowerStation Wedge could be achieved by setting PowerStation Wedge High over the same copy which would be set in PowerStation Wedge Low, and applying different colors to each layer.

Setting words like this in two colors can provide richness and variation when used imaginatively.

Some time after the release of PowerStation I discovered the next step in its evolution—that you didn’t have to be limited to two color typesetting with this font. I found that by combining the various PowerStation fonts in different ways one could set this font in three colors as well. The instructions for doing that may be a little long for this article, so if you’d like to see what’s involved with that, you can download the free PowerStation User Manual.

I originally created the serigraph above to celebrate the release of PowerStation. The signed and numbered edition is limited to 100 copies, and there are still some left. Click HERE to find out more about this offer.

License the PowerStation fonts HERE .

Purchase the PowerStation Serigraph HERE.




Alphabet Soup Font Guides and Manuals – Free Downloads

Many people have asked why I have only 9 fonts available for purchase. Part of the anwswer is that I’m sort of a perfectionist, and it takes me quite a long time to design, execute, and test a font to make sure it’s working properly. Also, all that work must be sandwiched in between design and lettering assignments—which must always take precedence. But there’s another reason why, at best, I can only turn out maybe one font design a year—and that is for me there’s a bit more to releasing a font than just having the font itself ready to go. There are a ton of supporting graphics that need to be created, and each font reseller has different requirements.

But more importantly, I decided early on that included with each font I would supply a full color PDF Guide or Manual (all 9 pictured above). From these multi-page PDFs one can get a very good idea of what these fonts look like in use, and gain an understanding their special features and how to access them. For example, the PowerStation Manual explains how to set layered copy in 2 or three colors, and in the Deliscript Manual you’ll find out how to access the special “t-crossbar” feature (among others). You’ll also learn some important “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for each font and (if you’re interested) read about how these fonts came to be.

Originally these manuals were only intended to be included with the font download at purchase, but I realized that they should also be available for prospective buyers as well as others—they might help with a decision, or just serve as inspiration. I’ve put links for all 9 PDF downloads together on one page, together with several case studies of some of my design work. So feel free to go the DOWNLOAD page and click on 1, 2 or all 9 of them.



The Dyna-Fonts Winners at Applied Arts

The judges at this year's Applied Arts Design Competition, in their first ever Typeface Design category, selected both Dynascript and Dynatype as winners. They were selected as The Dyna-Fonts—a typeface family.

I'm very proud of these fonts, and am pleased that they've begun to get the recognition I think they deserve. They work extremely well both together and separately, and in both display and in smaller settings, as you can see from the comparison below (click to enlarge).

I've begun to make both Dynascript and Dynatype available together at a reduced price. They can be found under the name "The Dyna-Font Collection" which can be purchased at MyFonts.

The Dyna-Fonts are now following in the footsteps of some of my other recent fonts that have garnered industry acclaim—most notably Deliscript, which was lauded by the Type Directors Club in their TDC² 2010 competition and also in 2011 by CA's Typography Annual 1, (the page excerpt of which can be seen HERE), and  Steinweiss Script—also recognized in this year's Typography Annual 2, (the page excerpt of which can be seen HERE). After being named a "Rising Star" Metroscript became "MyFonts’ Brush Script Font of the Year" and was subsequently named as #5 in Smashing Magazine’s “30 Brilliant Typefaces For Corporate Design“. The magazine went on to say about Metroscript: "lettering artist Michael Doret has adapted his trademark hand-lettering style to the computer, creating one of the most sophisticated suites of script fonts on the market.”

Andrew Byrom Discussion at A+D Museum/LA

I met Andrew Byrom about a year ago when he gave a short talk at Pecha Kucha Night in Los Angeles. His creatively innovative and non-traditional approach to experimental typographic design really blew me away: I had never before seen work like his which blurred the edges between graphic design, scupture, and conceptual/perfornance art. There’s really no easy way to describe his work. He just let me know he’s giving a presentation on June 29th at the Architecture and Design Museum. If you’re interested in what’s happening on the cutting edge of typographic design, don’t miss this event!

See you there.


Typography Enters the Space Age! - Dynascript's World Premiere on MyFonts

DynascriptDynascript brings the ease of “Pushbutton Automatic” to your typesetting experience. Dynascript is actually 2-Fonts-In-1: without switching fonts you can instantly change from Dynascript’s connecting font to the non-connecting italic with the simple push of a button. (Just press the “Stylistic Alternates” button in the OpenType palette.) 2 Fonts In 1! Typesetters across the planet will also be able to set copy in their language of choice. Global Language Support Dynascript’s 694 glyphs can be used to set copy in: Albanian, Basque, Catalan, Cornish, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Kalaallisut, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Maltese, Manx, Norwegian Bokmål, Norwegian Nynorsk, Oromo, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, and Welsh—and of course English. Sorry! Off-world languages not yet supported. Dynascript Complete Character Set What is Dynascript? It’s is a completely original, never before seen, bold script font—but to some it may be reminiscent of various mid-century neon signage, and of sign writing, Speedball alphabets and even baseball scripts. The design of Dynascript also takes some cues from a historical typographic curiosity that began in Germany in the ‘20s and which lasted into the ‘60s—when Photo-Lettering gave it the name "Zip-Top". Basically it was believed to be the wave of the future—that by weighting an alphabet heavier in its top half, one could increase legibility and reading speed. The jury’s still out on whether or not there’s any validity to this claim—but you can decide for yourself!

Dynascript makes it's debut today on MyFonts, and we'll start its special introductory sale on MyFonts tomorrow (25% Off!).

For more detailed information please download “The Dynascript Manual” pdf (800 kb).

Dynascript Design and Art: Michael Doret

Dynascript OpenType Programming: Patrick Griffin/Canada Type




I Am Pleased To Announce...

...that my latest font design is just about ready for release. It's a script font in OpenType format, but I believe it's unlike anything else on the market.Dynascript (connecting script) What makes Dynascript unique (apart from its design) is that it's actually two fonts in one. The default font (above) is a connecting script. However, with the simple press of a button in the OpenType palette you will be able to convert your copy into the alternate non-connecting version of Dynascript (below)—a very different look! Dynascript (non-connecting script) Dynascript will contain almost 700 glyphs with support for the following languages: Albanian, Basque, Catalan, Cornish, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Kalaallisut, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Maltese, Manx, Norwegian Bokmål, Norwegian Nynorsk, Oromo, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, and Welsh. Oh, and I almost forgot—English.

I'm currently involved in creating the supporting graphics, and I hope to have Dynascript released very soon. Also in the works—a completely redrawn upright version of Dynascript which I should have ready for release withinin the next few months.

Steinweiss on Steinweiss

When I originally did the title lettering for "Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover" I hadn't yet designed "Steinweiss Script". In fact it was designing this headline that spurred me to do that typeface design. In retrospect there were many interior headlines and other lines of copy for the book that Josh Baker, AD at Taschen, would have liked to have had set in a new Steinweiss Script font. But they had to settle for what was available at that time, which was one of several different digitized versions of what Alex Steinweiss had originally designed for Photo-Lettering. Now Taschen has released their more moderately priced trade edition of this incredible book—and just in time for this release I was able to reset all their headlines and other copy the way we had originally wanted to—in Steinweiss Script:

Above: Before and After Details from the older and newer editions

Below: You can Look Inside the earlier edition...

...or Look Inside the newer version:

Our intention was that the newer version, with everything reset in Steinweiss Script, would feel closer to what Mr. Steinweiss would have done had he been able to apply his scrawl to these pages.

Just a reminder: Steinweiss Script is available for purchase on MyFonts, Veer, FontShop and YouWorkForThem. To learn more about these fonts, read Steven Heller's Imprint article or MyFonts' Creative Characters for January.

Alex Steinweiss, 1917 – 2011

Just having returned from vacation, I discovered that while I was incommunicado Alex Steinweiss—one of my heroes and the inspiration for my Steinweiss font—had passed away. So I'd just like to add my voice (belatedly) to the chorus who have recognized him as one of the giants of 20th century design, who has influenced countless people in the design and illustration fields, and brought delight to millions of others through his beautiful work. The world is indeed a lesser place without him. R.I.P. Mr. Steinweiss.

Fonts In Use: GQ Picks Steinweiss Script for their Comedy Issue

I just got a call from my pal Glenn Parsons of Astrolux Design who informed me that my last font release Steinweiss Script was all over the new issue of GQ Magazine. Kudos to their Creative Director Jim Moore for making such a smart choice!* Here's a collage of a few of the pieces taken from different pages in the current issue. I think these demonstrate nicely some of the versatility of this font, such as the ability to set words on curved paths—and still have all letters connect properly. You can find links to all the outlets where Steinweiss Script is sold (as well as all my other fonts) on the Alphabet Soup pages of my website. I'm also proud to announce that Steinweiss Script is now being sold from the YouWorkForThem website, my newest font reseller.

*Update – June 7,2012: I stand corrected. The choice to use Steinweiss Script was made by GQ Design Director Fred Woodward. My apologies for not checking on that first. M.


Collage of Steinweiss Script Samples in GQ

It Began in NoHo: Thank You Art Institute!

Last Friday I gave a talk to a capacity crowd at Art Institute of California – Hollywood. A big "THANK YOU" goes out to John Judy, the Academic Director of Graphic Design and Foundation Studies who planned the evening, and set it all up. I tailored my hour-long talk "It Began In Brooklyn" to what I expected would be a mostly student crowd, but many professionals showed up as well. The school opened up their space to a triple–wide room with three screens and three projectors—an unexpected layout which actually worked quite well. Afterwards we had a Q&A where I tried to answer some great questions from students and professionals. We then raffled off a Wacom tablet, a 1 year subscription to, several signed event posters and a CD of the complete Alphabet Soup Font Collection. I must say that it was really gratifying to see the high interest level displayed by many of the students. All in all it was a great evening. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did! Below, a few photos taken by John Judy after the talk.

"It Began in Brooklyn"................................. A Talk at The Art Institute of California

I've been invited by The Art Institute of California–Hollywood to give a talk – it's coming up on March 4th. Here, culled from the copy of the invite, a description of what I'll be discussing:

"Michael will delve into his past and share with the audience the primal sources for the sensibilities that drive his art, and how he came to do what he does. With graphic examples Michael will discuss how he discovered that his environment and surroundings while growing up made deep and lasting impressions in his young mind that are still blatantly reflected in the samples of work he’ll be showing from various stages in his career." Basically, it's a talk about inspiration, and how we're all surrounded things that may inspire us, even if we're not completely aware of them.

This is an open invite to all who are interested. The Art Institute is located at 5250 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood.

After the talk I'll give away one CD copy of "The Alphabet Soup Font Collection" ($595 value) to one lucky attendee. There'll also be a WACOM tablet and a one year subscription to ($250 value) given away as well. Bring your calling cards for the raffle!

If you're thinking you'd like to attend, you can find more info and an RSVP link on my website, or on my Facebook Events page.

Is Steinweiss Your Type? Pre-Valentine's Sale!

R U My Type? Mark your iCals! The Steinweiss Script 20% off sale will begin on Tuesday, February 8th.

Steinweiss is the perfect type for helping to pull you out of your shell, and getting you to express your most heartfelt sentiments.

Available in Bold, Medium and Light, or all together as a loving Family.

Just go to MyFonts on (or after) February 8th to hook up.

If you'd like to cozy up and get more familiar with Steinweiss before jumping into a serious relationship, read Steven Heller's recent Imprint article. Steinweiss Script also features prominently in the lovingly composed interview I just did for Creative Characters.

Just Revealed: 3 Colors Typesetting With PowerStation Fonts

PowerStation in 3 Colors It's always nice when someone reveals something new to you about your own work. That's what has recently happened in the preparation of the Creative Characters newsletter that MyFonts has just published on my work. While helping to prepare font samples for the sidebar, Anthony Noel was experimenting with my PowerStation fonts, and stumbled across a capability that I had not intended.

PowerStation Sample

In setting the copy he inadvertantly combined both PowerStation Block and PowerStation Wedge. When I designed this font for 2-color layered typesetting, I had not even considered combining these two fonts on layers, one over the other. But that's exactly what Mr. Noel did, with what for me were unexpectedly interesting results. I would have never thought it would work, and so never tried it.

So what's come out of this is that we've discovered that PowerStation can now be typeset in three colors. Two color typesetting was always achievable with either the PowerStation Block fonts or the PowerStation Wedge fonts. The difference is that one would need BOTH of those packages in order to set type in three colors. I've created a PowerStation User Manual Supplement (1.1 MB download) which outlines the steps that need to be taken to effectively create three color typesetting. PowerStation my be purchased from MyFonts, Veer, FontShop, FontBros or YouWorkForThem.

Canter's Truck Design Co-Stars with Bonnie Bloomgarden On Channel 4

Watch for it – it's about halfway through, and then again at the end. Ain't she a cutie...I mean the truck.

Bonnie is the great-granddaughter of Ben Canter, founder of Canter's Deli. Bonnie, along with her sister Dena, conceived the truck idea, found me, and worked together with me to come up with a great design.

To see and read more about Deliscript and the Canter's Truck design, click HERE.

A Second Distinction for Deliscript

I was very pleased to learn that my Deliscript fonts in addition to having been lauded by the Type Directors Club, have also been included as winners in the Typeface Design category in Communication Arts just released Typography Annual 1.

I am also happy to have added one more reseller to the roster of type houses that sell Alphabet Soup's fonts: YouWorkForThem. They currently sell Deliscript, Metroscript and PowerStation, and I will be adding more fonts to their list soon.

Steinweiss Script - Just Released!

We're very proud to be able to finally announce the release on MyFonts of The Steinweiss Script Family. We've described these fonts briefly in the last two postings (scroll down) but, to reiterate, this family is made up of three weights—a Light, a Mediuim and a Bold. Within each of the three weights, through advanced OpenType features, a user has the ability to access three distinct variations: Simple, Fancy, and Titling. Rather than trying to describe them again, I've provided an image that demonstrates what they are:

I began designing this font with just the larger caps and taller ascenders/descenders, but in the end felt that giving user's these options would add usefulness to the font. These variations make Steinweiss Script accessible not just for headlines, but for applications where vertical space might be an issue,  and also for longer passages of text.

To help users understand how to be able to access these features (and also to show off the font) I created "The Steinweiss Script User's Guide" in PDF form (1.2 MB download). I've also created an "Incomplete" character showing to give somewhat of an idea of what's in the font:

Steinweiss Script is available on MyFonts and FontShop either as a family of all three weights, or each of the weights can be licensed individually.

As always, we'd love to hear your comments about this font!

Steinweiss Script - Design and Art: Michael Doret - after Alex Steinweiss Steinweiss Script - OpenType Programming: Patrick Griffin/Canada Type

Steinweiss Script Update: Release Date Set

Head's up everybody! I've just set the release date for the Steinweiss Script Family for Tuesday, November 9th. It will be available only on MyFonts—at least initially. And I'll be running an introductory sale at a 20% discount. For a good preview of what's in the font and how it's OpenType features work you can download "The Steinweiss Script User's Guide" (about 1.2 MB).