Today we salute fonts that fake text itself. Microdot replaces every character with the placeholder rectangle from regular fonts, and Blokk replaces characters with horizontal lines. Type in either font gives the effect of a block of copy (or headline) without distracting the viewer with content. Both are great for making wireframes or mockups.
Funny alphabet; ca.1850; McLoughlin Bro’s publishers, New York.
A delightful little alphabet book in which the letters are made up from acrobatically contorted bodies, and the accompanying text from often equally contorted rhymes.
A series of stunning prints – titled Libellus Novus Elementorum Latinorum – designed by the Polish goldsmith Jan Christian Bierpfaff (1600-ca.1690) and engraved by fellow-countryman Jeremias Falck (1610–1677). According to BibliOdyssey blog, where we first learnt of the images, Bierpfaff worked as an apprentice at the Mackensen family of metalworkers in Cracow, a group “who introduced the Dutch auricular (‘shell or ear-like’) style of ornament into the Polish gold and silver workshops”. We see the influence of this auricular style in Bierpfaff’s letterforms but also the unmistakable baroque stylings of the grotesque. The result is wonderfully surreal, the writhing forms hovering somewhere between the monstrous and floral.
Hailed as “A Cthulhuian Font You Can Download and Use to Summon Strange Beings,” NeatoGeek presents a quasi-cuneiform alphabet for your delectation. (See also my previous post, Fhtagn Font Friday 1: fonts are downloadable from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society website.)
*Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn
Hoefnagel’s Guide to Constructing the Letters (ca. 1595)
Joris Hoefnagel (1542 – 1600) was a pivotal figure in the history of Dutch art, playing an important role both in the latter stages of the Flemish illumination tradition and the birth of the new genre of still life. In the last decade of his life Hoefnagel was appointed court artist to Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and it was in this time that he appended Georg Bocskay’s Model Book of Calligraphy, of thirty years previous, with his own beautifully exquisite Guide to the Construction of Letters, examples from which are shown below. In each he surrounds the typographic diagram with a colourful array of symbolically charged motifs and, for some, an excerpt from the Bible which begins with the letter of focus. See the Getty site, by clicking on each image, for further commentary.
16th-Century Pattern Book for Scribes (ca. 1510)
This scribal pattern book—dated to around 1510 from Swabia, Germany—was made by Gregorius Bock and is addressed to his cousin Heinrich Lercher Wyss, who was the official scribe of the duchy of Württemberg, most likely put together with the purpose of aiding Wyss in the refining of his art. The first part includes alphabets in various scripts with the second part presenting some decorative initials. Some of the styles found in the book include gothic textura, round gothic, round humanistic, as well as the unusual inclusion of letters and texts from Greek and Hebrew script. Bock may himself have been a monk in the Benedictine monastery of Ochsenhausen in whose library the manuscript was found.
A beautiful alphabet, from Anus to Tarsals.