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.

 

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.”

Continue reading “Fans Font Friday – Art Deco”

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: https://www.typewithpride.com/


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.

Continue reading “Fonting while Queer Font Friday”

Fans Font Friday 1 – Flirtations

Apart from the small matter of the horrifying death and illness we see around us and in the media, by now we are all heartily *tired* of this pandemic. Whether we are stuck at home, stuck working, stuck taking on new household/schooling responsibilities, any combination thereof or—I hope not—stuck in bed with *any* ailment, a diversion is necessary.

Behold: April is fan month!

For the next three weeks, I’ll be bringing you font-related posts about hand fans: the old, the new, the folding, the fixed, the genteel, the rude. Today’s post is about the Victorian language of flirtation using fans (and other items).

Ways to tell the coronavirus: “I wish to get rid of you.”

  • Twirling a fan in one’s left hand or, alternately, placing it to one’s left ear
  • Biting the tips of one’s gloves
  • Twirling one’s handkerchief in the left hand
  • Carrying one’s hat in the left hand
  • Folding up one’s parasol
  • Placing one’s stamp in the left corner of one’s envelope

As a left-handed person, I am buoyed by these acknowledgements of the power of the sinister (see what I did there?).

Continue reading “Fans Font Friday 1 – Flirtations”

(Rainbow) Flag Font Friday

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

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


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.

(Videos, animations and lots more type specimens at https://www.typewithpride.com/.)

Continue reading “(Rainbow) Flag Font Friday”

Fonting While Female Font Friday

Golly gosh, folks, this Sunday, March 8 is International Women’s Day! Isn’t it neat that they let us ladies have a whole day to ourselves? And a whole month to ourselves too? One out of twelve is just nifty! In any case, I thought I’d celebrate the day’s novel status with some typography for this, my cute li’l typography blog, and look for women-oriented fonts.

Skip to here for the #resistance.

Here’s the very first thing I got when I googled “female” and “font” on March 8 last year:

Continue reading “Fonting While Female Font Friday”

Festive Font Friday (Weekend Solstice Edition)

Not to be confused with my post Festive Fonts (For You) Friday.

Sunday, December 22 at 04:19 Universal Time is this year’s winter or summer solstice! (Former: Northern Hemisphere; latter: Southern Hemisphere.) UT is 8 hours ahead of Pacific Time, so for here in San Francisco the solstice is Saturday, December 21 at 8:19 pm.

Next: science! Wait, don’t run away, this is cool. Due to the tilt of Earth’s axis while we orbit our beloved Sun, we have seasons: periods of greater or lesser daylight and warmth. Combined with other atmospheric phenomena, we have rain, snow, dryness, wind. All the stuff! Yay tilt!

The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (“sun”) and sistere (“to stand still”), because at the solstices, the Sun’s declination appears to “stand still”; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s daily path (as seen from Earth) stops at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction.

Below are an orbit diagram and a solstice closeup, for the more visually oriented of us. Scroll to the very bottom for a chart with exact times.

And because I am me, I’ve curated for you three very different typefaces called “Solstice”—or in one case, “Solstice of Suffering.” If anyone can explain that name to me, please feel free. Peak suffering, after which the suffering wanes, only to be reborn again in six months? It all seems a bit dubious. In any case, scroll partway down for those.


Diagram of the Earth’s seasons as seen from the north. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice

Continue reading “Festive Font Friday (Weekend Solstice Edition)”