Found Font Friday

Doves type letter "e"

With regard to the surreptitious disposal and triumphant recovery of the Doves Type from London’s Thames River (from an article in typespec magazine): The Doves Type® revival . Not to be confused with my post Font Friday 2, about fonts created from lettering and signs found in the great outdoors.

Raised from the dead: The Doves Type story. 

The Doves Type legend is one of the most enduring in typographic history and probably the most infamous. It’s the story of a typeface and a bitter feud between the two partners of Hammersmith’s celebrated Doves Press, Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker, leading to the protracted disposal of their unique metal type into London’s River Thames. Starting in 1913 with the initial dumping of the punches and matrices, by the end of January 1917 an increasingly frail Cobden-Sanderson had made hundreds of clandestine trips under cover of darkness to Hammersmith Bridge and systematically thrown 12lb parcels of metal type into the murky depths below. As one person so aptly commented on Twitter recently, this notorious tale bears all the hallmarks of a story by Edgar Allan Poe.

One century later and a new chapter has been added with the release of Robert Green’s digital facsimile of the Doves Type, available to buy and download from Typespec. For those who are still unfamiliar with the historical background and the designer’s arduous journey to salvage this beautiful typeface from its watery grave I would urge you to check out the following short BBC News film by Tom Beal, made after the recovery in 2014 of some of the original type from the Thames:



Doves Type: 'Achilles Over the Trench: Iliad xviii'


The original Doves Type was crafted by master punchcutter Edward Prince, based on drawings produced by Percy Tiffin of Nicolas Jenson’s pioneering 15th-century Venetian type. William Morris, founder of the Kelmscott Press, had actually developed his own ‘Golden’ type some years before The Doves Press came into being but Doves is held by experts as being more faithful to the original Venetian letterforms.

The Doves Type was commissioned in 1899 and created solely by Prince in 16 pt; it was used in all of the press’s publications including their iconic edition of the King James Bible. Each Doves Press book was beautifully bound and, notes Green, noticeably “stripped of decorative borders and illustration, the elegantly clear & legible type acting alone as visual siren-song.”


Doves Type figures printed in 1914

Passage of text by Tennyson typeset in Doves Press font


By 1908, despite successful Milton prints & the aforementioned Bible, the Press was in dire financial difficulty. Subscribers began melting away after Walker had effectively left in 1906 as the bitter & acrimonious dispute took hold between the partners. On finally dissolving their partnership in 1909, Cobden-Sanderson began attempts to wriggle out of an earlier promise that, should the partnership cease, Walker would receive a fount of type ‘for his own use’. Walker retaliated, issuing a writ insisting that the Press shut down completely and he receive 50% of remaining assets. In 1909, the Press’s only valuable asset was the type.

A compromise was reached, brokered by their exasperated friend Sir Sydney Cockerell, which allowed Cobden-Sanderson uncontrolled use of the type for as long as he lived, at which time it would pass to Emery Walker, if he did not die first.

The thought of ‘his’ typeface being used by anyone else, and in a manner beyond his control, prompted Cobden-Sanderson’s now infamous course of action. Only the Doves Press, run exclusively by him, could be bestowed the honour of printing his type. And so the mission to destroy it, beginning with the punches and matrices on Good Friday 1913, began. On an almost nightly basis from August 1916 the ailing septuagenarian dumped the type into the Thames, wrapped in paper parcels and tied with string; “bequeathed to the river” as he put it in his personal diary. Every piece of this beautiful typeface, more than a ton of metal, was destroyed in a prolonged ritual sacrifice.


Original Doves Press Bible setting


Green’s quest to re-produce the Doves Type in digital form has been a true labour of love, a project he came close to shelving on several occasions due to the paucity of (affordable) source texts and occasional blind alleys he was inadvertently taken down. Much agonising took place over the general approach to the project, deciphering the complex geometries, then individual letterform dilemmas due to ink spread inconsistencies and anomalies in the punches and matrices. The end result isn’t so much a revival as a ‘digital facsimile’ of the original typeface, but most importantly he’s succeeded in doing justice to it.

The first release (2013) in OpenType format was an Imprint weight, complete with ligatures and detailing from the metal predecessor; Green wanted to be as true to the original as possible but there are concessions to modern day requirements in the form of Dollar & Euro currency symbols plus extended latin diacritics which didn’t feature first time around.



Doves Type® Regular, refined after recovery of the original metal type from the Thames, replaces the initial 2013 release, improved in 2016 for contemporary usage. This latest release of the updated Doves Type® contains extended glyph coverage including small caps, together with both lining and tabular figures. Tracking and kerning have also been adjusted for 21st century usage. The original Doves Press type, cut for letterpress with its physical constraints and inherent quirks, contains spacing which would appear uncomfortable to modern eyes in web-based and litho applications.

Go to the font download page for more details and to buy the font(s).

Doves Type® PDF specimenDownload a free Doves Type® PDF specimen (1.5MB).


Click on a thumbnail below to browse a gallery of larger Doves Type images.


14,000+ color names! Just type in a hex code

Smashing Magazine‘s Smashing Newsletter Issue #190 has this gem: more than 14,000 color names, accessible by entering a 6-digit hex code. Some examples below. Click on “quick! Find one of 14’000 color names!” to get the HTML, CSS, and JS code (see below).

What comes to your mind when you hear terms like “Bright Nori”, “Paw Print” or “Waffle Cone”? If you’re thinking of colors, well, good guess! Actually, these are only three of the 14,874 unique color names in the massive color dictionary that David Aerne brought to life. 

Color Names

The aim of the project is to create as large a list as possible of unique color names. And, well with almost 15,000 color names featured, the undertaking definitely was successful. The names are merged from various sources and handpicked from thousands of user submissions. You can enter a hex value to find the name for it, indulge in the entire list, or, if you’re feeling creative, submit your own color name. Color inspiration at its finest.

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Fans Font Friday – Art Deco

Here are some beautiful hand fans from the Art Deco era.

Vintage Advertising Hand Fan – 666 Brand Salve

A common use of imagery on hand fans seems to have been informational rather than just decoration. This one is for “666” brand remedy for everything from malaria to neuralgia. The stylized illustration of Diana is in the traditional depiction of the ancient world of gods and goddesses. The handle of the front of the fan uses a classically Art Deco all-caps font, with its low crossbars on the “E,” stylized “S,” and geometrically circular “O” and “Q.”

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Fairbanks, Flagstaff, Fresno, Florida, Fairfield, Falmouth, Fayette, Fargo, Fort Worth Font Friday

Andy Murdock is co-founder of The Statesider: “The most interesting US travel stories, delivered directly to your inbox.” Here he writes about the 222 fonts he found with names associated with US states.

The United Fonts of America

Before 1984, I had never encountered the word “font.” Then a Macintosh computer showed up in my house.

A beige block with a too-small black and white screen and a thingy called a “mouse,” the first thing I saw when I turned it on was “Welcome to Macintosh” in what I would soon learn was a font called Chicago. Both the smily Mac and the Chicago font that greeted anyone booting up a Mac in the mid ’80s were designed by Susan Kare, and they both captured the friendly, accessible new era of computing that made the Mac so revolutionary.

There wasn’t much to do on it right away. I got a text adventure game version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because a clerk at Egghead Software dropped a shelf on my mom’s head and gave it to her as a “please don’t sue us” gift. Otherwise, I had MacPaint and MacWrite where I could draw and type whatever I could think of, and there was a menu of fonts to choose from — not just Chicago, but a list of fonts named for world cities. Monaco, London, San Francisco, Cairo. Words weren’t just words, they could be design, history, geography.

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F*cking Font Friday

Scunthorpe Sans, according to its promo material at, is “[a] s*** font that f***ing censors bad language automatically.” The page has a font generator, where you can input the foul words of your choice and see the censorship in real time (scroll down for an example of what it looks like). Indulge your inner 12-year-old for some silly f***ing fun and go try it!

[Scunthorpe Sans is] able to detect the words f***,  s***,  p***, t***,  w***, c*** and dozens more, but with a special exemption for “Scunthorpe”; that town has suffered enough.

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Family vs Variable Font Friday

The fearsome Hydra provides a handy illustration of current vs. future trends in digital typography.

  • Current: typeface “families” with a different cut for each style: e.g. 8 pt/12 pt/ 18 pt, thin/regular/bold, condensed/regular/expanded, etc., and combinations thereof. (“Cut” refers to the metal type of yore, in which the master for each style was literally cut differently out of metal.) Each style is contained in a separate file.
  • Different cuts are/were important to customize each version of a typeface to maximize its legibility and readability at any given size/style. (E.g. more space on either side of letters at small sizes so the eye can differentiate between them more easily.)
  • Future: typefaces that are designed so that a single master style dynamically (mathematically) alters itself to suit the designer’s need. All styles are contained in a single file, smaller than the many files of the family versions. 

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Fonting while Queer Font Friday

In-person LGBTQIA+ celebrations may be cancelled this year, but a new(ish) typeface can soothe your wounds with rainbow colored strokes. Behold: the typeface “Gilbert.”

[Update] I’m getting some formatting errors in this post, so here’s a link to the original article:

On 31 March, 2017, Gilbert Baker the creator of the iconic Rainbow Flag sadly passed away. Mr. Baker was both an LGBTQ activist and artist, and was known for helping friends create banners for protests and marches. To honor the memory of Gilbert Baker,  NewFest and NYC Pride partnered with Fontself to create a free font inspired by the design language of the iconic Rainbow Flag, the font was named ‘Gilbert’ after Mr. Baker. A preview version of the font can be downloaded for free in the download section.

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Fans Font Friday 3 – Klackin

Klackin Fans™, that is!

Klackin Fans are awesome, rude, queer-themed fans with awesome, rude, queer-themed phrases on them (plus the odd 420 or political one) in mostly garish colors and with terrible font choices and kerning. They beg to be seen by huge crowds at a bar or festival, but that’s not possible anymore in most places. They’d be great for a big Zoom call though, particularly if everyone had one and was snapping and fluttering it in unison/harmony to mutually-chosen music. If you do this, send me the link!


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